Hey all, it’s that time of year to do what you can to support WRAP to help us to fight criminalization and privatization of our cities and spaces all year long. Check out our groundbreaking report on the role of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) on criminalization and all the great work going on and make a donation today – thank you! It takes all of us doing what we can.
ALSO, Become a new monthly or quarterly donor or donate $100 and we can send you a 2019 Syracuse Cultural Workers Peace Calendar, featuring WRAP.
After three years of intensive research working alongside UC Berkeley Law Public Advocacy Clinic, WRAP released the first comprehensive examination of the correlation between Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and the criminalization of poor and homeless people in the areas they have taken control of.
While we are not excited to tell you about what we are learned about BIDs because it translates to criminalization and violence against our communities – we are excited to tell you about our research and our campaign to fight this violence- and to ask for your support for this important work.
In the past couple of decades Business Improvement Districts have been greatly expanding and criminalizing the presence and activities of poor people all over the country. A business improvement district is a special, legal subdivision of the city. They have the legal authority to create their own districts which effectively positions them as the owners of these neighborhoods.
BIDs are a concerted and growing effort to erase from cities any sign of vast inequality while at the same time perpetuating it. The interests of BIDs and the public interest fundamentally conflict. BIDs work to manufacture the appearance of prosperity in the city square but that farce comes at the expense of basic human rights for the unhoused poor.”
This public money (from local & state governments and property owner taxes) is then used for privatization, displacement and criminalization campaigns. At ground zero are the people experiencing houselessness in the area. BIDs raise rents, displace poor people and make it harder for anyone who’s not rich to live. On average 74% of their budget is spent on security. In some cities, they directly pay for their own city police officers for quicker response and “personalized service.” BIDS use those funds with very little public oversight in any way that they see fit within the framework of “business improvement.”
They have workers they call “ambassadors,” people who are cleaning the streets and emptying garbage cans in their nice, bright coats with bright labels. This is their public face – what they want people to see. What they’re also spending our money on is writing legislation to criminalize the presence of people who are homeless, funding sit-lie campaigns, and funding the take-over of downtown San Francisco, Portland, LA, Oakland, Sacramento, Denver, NYC and every downtown.
And most people don’t even know that BIDs exist.
But WRAP does. And we are working with our members, community allies and kick-ass students and professors researching and exposing them and ensuring that the information is there for the public to fight this and for policy-makers to be informed and held accountable by the organized public – us!
We are banding together and launching a campaign that says “NO” to the fact that wealthy property owners are creating BIDS and then the cities are “paying rent” for public space within these BIDs with the goal of privatizing our public squares and driving us out of our neighborhoods.
Support WRAP and fight this policy violence – privatization, gentrification and displacement – that makes public space less and less livable for almost everyone in our communities. We will continue to fight for a better community together!
We all give what we can and we couldn’t do all we do without our community – more than 60% of our annual income comes from you. AND, if you donate in November and December you will be matched up to $15,000 by a group of generous donors. Your $10 donation becomes $20, and $100 becomes $200. We can’t do what we do without all of us pitching in – thank you!