FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oakland’s Housed & Unhoused To Reclaim Dr. King’s Radical Legacy, Message & Call For Moral Responsibility
Emergency Guerilla Housing To Be Built for Unsheltered Over MLK Weekend
Guerrilla Housing & Facilities Emergency Build
On E12th St. between 14th & 16th Ave behind Burger King
January 18 & 19, 2020
Press contact: Needa Bee 510-355-7010
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1526542027493950/
January 16, 2019
Oakland, CA – Over the MLK weekend, community members will be answering the call of The Village to construct emergency shelter and facilities for the unsheltered community behind the E12th Burger King. The Village is one of Oakland’s leading unhoused service and advocacy movements.
Calling themselves “The Right To Exist Curbside Community”, residents living on the median behind Burger King believe the City’s approaches to it’s unhoused residents are not solutions.
“The city constantly violates constitutional law, human rights law and their own policies through their eviction and cleaning practices. They destroy and throw out our properties including IDs, work uniforms, medication, family photos, laptops, tents – our entire lives. They bulldoze our homes and tow the vehicles we live in, while leaving us on the side of the road,” reads a statement crafted by residents of the curbside community.
“The City’s practices causes us deep depression and trauma, setbacks and knocks us off the one foot we are standing on. At times The City’s demolitions of unhoused residents homes and the towing of vehicles our people live in has resulted in death.”
Right To Exist Curbside Community residents assert that until the city comes up with an actual solution to permanently house the city’s housing refugees, they will work with The Village to upgrade their encampment by building more solid homes, a community kitchen, a solar shower and a bicycle powered washing machine.
This community falls victim to illegal dumping. To deter this problem, two raised garden beds will also be created.
“We are here today because we are tired. We are tired of paying more for less. We are tired of living in rat-infested slums.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was organizing poor people across race, religious and geographic lines to fight for their civil and human rights. This weekend Oakland residents both housed and unhoused will align with King’s vision and dream by supporting, mobilizing, and organizing the city’s most vulnerable, most impoverished and most neglected neighbors.
“Though this country has reformed and edited Dr. King’s story to be one of passivity, he was not a passive man. He was a radical, militant and peaceful man who used nonviolent direct action to address the systemic inequalities in this nation,” said Needa Bee founder and organizer of The Village. “We are hoping what we have always hoped since we started building villages in January 2017 – that other housed and unhoused neighbors would be inspired to unite and work together thru direct action to address the immediate needs of our people living curbside with humane, dignified, grassroots led approaches. We join the efforts to reclaim and embrace his radical legacy this weekend.”
Through his Poor People’s Campaign, Dr. King spoke of the poverty, lack of affordable housing and homelessness that was found across the United States and the world. Not much has changed since Dr. King called for the nation’s poor to rise up and unite. In fact things have gotten dramatically worse. The inequalities, the disparities, the violence, the poverty, the homelessness has actually deepened. In Oakland alone, homelessness has doubled over the past two years even though an unprecedented $44 million has been set aside in the City’s budget for homeless solutions, and millions of private dollars have gone to build the Mayor’s infamous and ineffective Tuff Shed program.
Almost 2/3 of the peoples of the world go to bed hungry at night. Many have no houses or beds to sleep in. Their only beds are the sidewalks of the cities and the dusty roads of the villages.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This past June 2019, homeless advocates were able to persuade city council to include $600,000 a year in The City budget to support self-governed & community supported encampments like Right To Exist. The funds are supposed to upgrade curbside communities throughout Oakland. Right To Exist hopes to be able to have some of these funds applied to their encampment for portapotty services, trash services, clean drinking water and solar power.
Last week Governor Gavin Newsom decided to release State land for the creation of temporary homeless shelters. The Village hopes that they will be able to use those lands to build the model of temporary homeless shelters it has been building since January 2017.
“We have been using empty public lands to create temporary shelter for our unhoused neighbors, but our efforts have been criminalized and sabotaged by the mayor and her encampment management team,” said Needa Bee founder and organizer with The Village. “We intend to continue to build emergency temporary shelters for our people living curbside as long as this affordability crisis and the homeless state of emergency it created exists. We hope we can be a model of what community led approaches, co-governed curbside communities, and autonomous curbside communities should look like.