Some MADSA members helped Food Not Bombs and member Marshall Rancifer of the Justice for All Coalition feed the growing number of homeless people in Atlanta Nov. 26 in spite of the City of Atlanta's efforts to sweep this urgent need and those people under the rug to make the city more corporate-friendly.
Atlanta Food Not Bombs has been sharing free food with anyone who is hungry for over a decade. "We believe that food is a human right, and that no authority should be able to prevent anyone from eating," their website statement explains. "Georgia State University Police has begun a campaign of harassment aimed at anyone who tries to share food with people [downtown]. They claim that giving away food is illegal without a food service establishment license from the City. The cops’ legal claims are confusing, contradictory, and ultimately false. What it comes down to is that they don’t want homeless people in the park, they want them to go somewhere else.
"But when they’re forced out of the park, the homeless won’t be going into a shelter, since the City finally won their years-long fight to shut down Atlanta’s largest shelter. And they certainly won’t be going into housing, in a city where gentrification and speculation has created what many are calling an affordable housing crisis. Developers, university administrators, and city planners do not care that there’s nowhere for poor people to go. As far as they are concerned, the homeless are a nuisance to be dealt with the same as rats and pigeons.
"The cops have already charged one of our volunteers with this supposed crime, but we will not stop. If the government makes sharing illegal, then we have no choice but to be criminals. Not just because our conscience requires it, but because helping each other is the only way we will all survive."
To find the next opportunity to feed homeless people in a public park, see the Teardown Community's Facebook page.
MADSA has been supporting the Georgia Beer Garden and the Justice for All Coalition to collect supplies for unsheltered people at our social event at the Garden (420 Edgewood Ave.) on the third Friday of each month (scroll down to Oct. 23 story). We continue to urge our members and friends to support this emergency effort. Anat Fintzi reported "When we spoke with Marshall after [the Nov. 26 feeding], he said they would do another event (HIV testing) on Wednesday or Thursday and the supplies that he most requested for donations in the near future are: socks, canned goods (esp tomatoes), dried beans, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, sanitary products. All supplies can be dropped off at the Georgia Beer Garden."
Photo by Anat Fintzi (L to R): Robin, Earthworm, Josh and Scott in Hurt Park, Nov. 26.
“While there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” -- Eugene Victor Debs