jennafer waggoner (
Tue, 26 May 1998 19:43:36 +0000

Well, here is an example of a direct action that housed people and got
them off the streets and out of the situation they were in.

I took over an abandoned motel called the Flamingo with other homeless
activists.  We turned it into a cold wet weather shelter during a time
when it was raining and the shelters were not operating.  Over 100
homeless people, including a documented 40 homeless youth were allowed
to come in and have their own room at the Autonomous Federation of
Flamingo.  We provided 3 meals a day, community came to support us with
a porta potty.  The construction site across the street gave some of our
people jobs.  Many people sold the homeless paper, and after the
occupation had ended, most had earned enough for a months rent in an SRO
housing motel.  We gave them the chance, they did the rest themselves.  

We prevented harm more than any one other thing we could have done for
anyone.  Most people are grateful to this day for that opportunity to
control their own lives.  That is something that agencies don't give
you, self-determination with self sufficiency.

Other than the help for the individual, we inspired thousands.  The
media attention we got, helped people all over Los Angeles County,
embarrassed the fat cow Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority into
getting wheel chair accessible shelters and vans.  It also became a
rally cry for year round shelters.  It helped convince Pete Wilson that
the armories were and are desperately needed.  It inspired homeless
people in San Diego to stand up to their city councils when the cold wet
weather shelters at the armories in their areas closed, while it is
still raining.  It got the attention of United Nations NGOs who are
accepting our report to take to Geneva.

Do actions work?  You bet they do.  Actions alongside campaigns for
human rights are tools for a social movement.  They work hand in hand,
and one cannot move without the other.  You need all forms of
non-violent disobedience to convince the people in this country that the
real experts on homelessness, are the homeless people themselves, not
the poverty pimps who try to speak for us and make millions while we
starve and are criminalized for refusing shoddy services.

Any other questions?

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin, For All my Relatives

Jennafer Waggoner
Making Change...
a community newspaper empowering the
poor and unhoused with an income
and a voice...
P.O. Box 3622, Santa Monica, CA 90408
(310) 289-7446

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