Fresno is becoming the foremost violator of human rights in California, even after losing a federal court battle in July 2008 at the cost of $2.35 million because of violating the constitutional rights of homeless people (having bulldozed the property of homeless people). Now, the city has stepped up its abuse toward homeless people and people living in poverty by denying them their basic human rights as prescribed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Fresno officials (including the mayor of Fresno, the City Council members, the county Board of Supervisors and, let us not forget the person who is supposed to protect and speak up for the rights of the homeless population here in Fresno, Greg Barfield) have denied and refused to provide basic needs to the homeless population, such as portable toilets and fresh drinking water.
At this time, they even refuse to help put trash bins in place at homeless encampments that private citizens have agreed to pay for. How inhumane can a city be? The SPCA provides better services for dogs in Fresno County. Meanwhile, Clovis is spending more than $4 million for a dog pound.
This school year, 2010–2011, there are 2,600 children enrolled in the Fresno Unified School District that are categorized as homeless. Too many citizens of Fresno, throughout the state and elsewhere are allowing this to continue unchecked. There should be outrage from the citizens of Fresno.
To further disgrace Fresno, there are at least another 15,000 homeless adults residing in our city, and hundreds of those are veterans who put their lives on the line for this country, only for many of us to turn the other way. There is help for a select few veterans, but for veterans to qualify for that assistance, other than a medical disability, you must be, or become, an alcoholic, a drug addict or have mental issues.
If you happen to be a homeless veteran in Fresno and don’t fall into one of those categories, you’re just another sorry, good-for-nothing homeless person who doesn’t deserve a portable toilet, a trash bin or even clean drinking water. A homeless veteran will “man-up” and let a homeless child have his sleeping bag on any given night when needed. That’s a helluva lot more than I can say for Fresno’s elected officials at this time.
Human rights advocates and organizations from across the state are focusing on Fresno again for the numerous and continuing human rights violations that occur here each and every day. Not only are there homeless issues, and issues dealing with poverty, but also the horrible treatment of veterans and police accountability and evaluation. Fresno is ground zero yet again.
As a human rights obligation, advocates of human rights will gather at the Fresno City Hall on December 9 starting at 6 p.m. Advocates will present a list of human rights demands to the mayor and City Council members at City Hall at 6 p.m. on December 9. Unless these human rights demands are met at that time, there will be an overnight camp out at City Hall. We encourage all advocates and supporters of human rights to attend if only for a few minutes, or overnight. We are asking supporters to help by providing sleeping bags, blankets, hygiene kits/accessories and canned food for homeless families. Food Not Bombs will also be there.
Thursday, December 9
Human Rights Day – The homeless and their allies will gather at Fresno City Hall. They will call on the city to provide basic public services for the homeless – drinking water, portable toilets, and trash bins. They will demand these services for as long as we wait for city officials to fulfill their promise to end homelessness (as stated in the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness). There will be a rally at 6 p.m. The larger the rally the more pressure there will be on City Hall to change their policy and begin to treat the homeless with dignity and respect.
Some homeless people and their supporters plan to spend the night on the City Hall lawn and you are welcome to join them. If possible, bring a sleeping bag, or blanket to donate to the less fortunate. The group will also be collecting canned food and hygiene supplies for the Homeless.
There will be a press conference on Friday, December 10 at 10 a.m. which you are also invited to attend.
For more information, and details please contact Al Williams, at (559) 647-7165, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.