Re: WHEEL challenges Seattle mayor's pledge to shelter homeless

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Thu, 4 Jun 1998 12:35:21 -0700 (PDT)


Anitra, congratulations on WHEEL's demonstration and media coverage.  The
Times article seems sympathetic to protesters' doubts about mayor Schell's
promise -  that he's shelter all homeless women and children in Seattle by
Christmas.

>"It's grandstanding; it's not practical," said Anitra Freeman, a volunteer
>and activist who was homeless in 1995. "It's a standard Seattle practice.
>You promise something flashy in order to avoid doing something difficult.
>Then, they just let the promise sit there and die out."

Your quoted insight is right on track, Anitra.  As seasoned activists say:

"Watch the delivery, not the promises."

It's so easy for the prominent and powerful to fool groups and persons into
thinking that we have gained a "a real say" or "better living conditions",
when if fact we haven't.  And just as such niavete flaws our campaigns, so
can cycicism - the belief that we can never gain by engaging or cooperating
with officials, when if fact sometimes we can.  So I'd add another activist
axiom:

"Watch the results, not the rhetoric."

Please write us HPNers more on what happened at the action.

Act on, Anitra.--Tom

>http://www.seattletimes.com/news/local/html98/homea_060398.html
>FWD  The Seattle Times - Wednesday, June 3, 1998
>See also http://members.tripod.com/~WHEEL98/
>     SCHELL PLEDGES TO GIVE HOMELESS A PLACE TO STAY
>     by Susan Byrnes - Seattle Times staff reporter
>
>Calling homelessness a civic embarrassment, Seattle Mayor Paul Schell has
>pledged to get every homeless woman and child off the streets by Christmas.
><snip>
>But it was unclear whether the mayor's action would do more than
>temporarily refocus attention on a stubborn problem that has plagued U.S.
>cities for more than a decade. Yesterday, a half-dozen members of the
>Women's Housing Equality and Enhancement League (WHEEL), an organization of
>homeless and formerly homeless women, challenged his proposal.
>
>"It's grandstanding; it's not practical," said Anitra Freeman, a volunteer
>and activist who was homeless in 1995. "It's a standard Seattle practice.
>You promise something flashy in order to avoid doing something difficult.
>Then, they just let the promise sit there and die out."
>
>Despite millions of dollars in homeless assistance and a robust regional
>economy, the number of people living on the streets of Seattle grows
>steadily every year, officials say. <hugh snip>


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