STREETVIBES National Voter Registration Day Held at Drop Inn Center Last month, the Drop Inn Center shelter in Over-theRhine, along with the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless and volunteers from the Community of Good Shepard participated in National Homeless Voter Registration Day. Ohio and 16 other states participated in the national event. Volunteers conducted the registration drive at the Drop Inn Center for clients and anyone else who needed to register to vote. With nearly 800,000 without a home on any given night nationwide, organizers are hoping to register tens of thousands. In the 2000 election it only took several hundred votes to affect the outcome in Florida.
“With Ohio gaining attention in the national media as a major swing state this election year, it is important that homeless individuals, and other disenfranchised groups of people register and go out to vote on election day,” said a representative of the Homeless Coalition. “We hope that efforts such as this registration drive will help keep Ohio from becoming the ‘Florida’ of the 2004 election.” It is a common Mary Harrington (right) completes voter assumption that individuals without a permanent Whether a person is a minority, is poor, or does not have a address are restricted from voting, but under home, as an American citizen, the United States he or she has the right to vote. A voting residence is a Constitution, place that an individual returns every American citizen - without to on a regular basis. This can be a shelter that a resident stays regard to at frequently (even if it is only personal several days out of the month), property - has the right to vote. transitional housing, or an outside area (under a bridge). Many homeless Many homeless people, however, individuals who have felony while qualified records are also told that they to vote, are unable to register cannot vote. Only convicted felons who are in jail cannot due to the many vote. Those who have served policy and legal their sentences must simply rebarriers placed register to be allowed to vote. before them.
registration card Georgine Getty, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless stated that, “A lot of times people think that you need a home to vote. This is simply not the case – voting is the right and duty of all citizens. This year more than ever people need to know that their voice counts, especially in this election, especially in this city.” There was an election type atmosphere at the shelter with bunting, balloons, and snacks for participants. The last day for registering for the upcoming presidential election is October 4th.
by Jimmy Heath Artists, curators and critics argue that all art is political - the status quo is either reinforced, rejected or rendered invisible. Despite the current administration’s dismissal of the anti-war movement, more and more Americans are choosing to publicly declare their opposition to government policies. As American civil rights and basic freedoms come under increasing attack from within all levels of government, artists are raising their collective and individual voices. Artists are coming out with their own visions of dissent. In the old Mockbee Building on Central Parkway, over 100 artists gathered to display their art and speak to their truth about the war in Iraq, racism and violence in an art
show first organized last year by Dr. Saad Ghosn, a professor of medicine at the University of Cincinnati and artist Eric Triantafillou. The 2003 SOS art show was such a success that they decided to make it an annual event. The show last summer featured almost 60 local artists. The Patriot Act, Cincinnati’s unresolved civil unrest and decreasing tolerance for dissent made Ghosn and Triantafillou want to continue to encourage artists’ social commentary. In addition to visual art, the programs included poetry reading, a panel discussion, music, plays, videos and movies. “Just the number of artists participating this year says something,” says Ghosn. Also an accomplished artist, Ghosn has several pieces featured in the show.
“A true artist is someone who can see beyond the immediate. They can see in a pure way. Most schools don’t teach that, most galleries don’t let you do that.”
photos by Jimmy Heath
Art Examines Politics
Triantafillou is familiar with the danger in making challenges that Dr. Saad Ghosn are political in nature. Last year banners were torn down. he displayed a banner on the “How do we keep it Essex Art Studio in Walnut going – this work – this Hills protesting suppression of spreading of ideas? Art civil liberties. An unidentified connects people and encourages person tore the banner down. them to participate. We need Triantafillou hung the banner people to put their heads up again, along with a second together in this way, for peace banner featuring an image of and justice,” said Dr. Ghosn. President Bush. Again, the
Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless
Streetvibes Streetvibes, the TriState’s alternative news source, is a newspaper written by, for, and about the homeless and contains relevant discussions of social justice, and poverty issues. It is published once a month by the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. Becoming a Streetvibes Vendor is a great way for homeless and other low-income people to get back on (or stay on) their feet. Streetvibes Vendors are given an orientation and sign a code of conduct before being given a Streetvibes Vendor badge. All profits go directly to the vendor. The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless is a group of shelters, agencies and individuals committed to ending homelessness in Cincinnati through coordinating services, educating the public and grassroots organizing. GCCH Staff Georgine Getty - Executive Director Allison Leeuw - Administrative Coordinator Andy Erickson - Education Coordinator Elizabeth Linville - Civil Rights Coordinator Janice Faulkner - Receptionist Mary Gaffney - Receptionist
Streetvibes Jimmy Heath - Editor, Layout and Design Photographers Jimmy Heath, Berta Lambert Cover Donna Gordon (left) completes her voter registration
Streetvibes accepts letters, poems, stories, essays, original graphics, and photos. We will give preference to those who are homeless or vendors. Subscriptions to Streetvibes, delivered to your home each month, can be purchased for $25 per year. Address mail to: Streetvibes Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless (GCCH) 117 East 12th Street Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 421-7803 e-mail: email@example.com web: http://homeless.cinci.com
Shaking the Money Tree by Jimmy Heath mean the bums down at City In spite of everything Hall? Was he making reference being closed on the Monday to the vagabonds in Cincinnati following July 4th, including government who try to squeeze the government, the banks, and every dime out of the public? most of downtown, the City of Did he mean the sophisticated Cincinnati decided to keep the panhandlers in suits who run downtown parking meters open our City? for business. Parking at The radio listening downtown meters is normally public fell for this stupid drivel; free on Sundays and holidays. all you had to do was take note What happened? of the remarks from callers to I don’t want it to seem the live broadcast. The attitude like I’m nitpicking here, and towards Cincinnati’s poor is not this isn’t really about some confined to the boardroom and lousy downtown parking government office or radio meters. For me, it is just station. It makes itself affirms the greed and apparent when the public misplaced priorities of a is provided an City government who opportunity to blame routinely turns a blind someone. (I’m sure if eye to poverty and the Wally’s tirade was homeless, but somehow Jimmy Heath directed toward city always manages to find a government instead of way to shake the money tree. the hapless “bums,” the But it got worse on that listening public would have Monday, July 5th. I made the jumped on that bandwagon mistake of turning on the radio too.) in my car, looking for the news I find it tedious and lame on the way to work. to blame everything wrong A local conservative under the sun on poor people. radio station spent nearly an Most of this nonsense is wornhour and a half spewing hate out and untrue, like the old about “bums” and panhandlers “welfare-Cadillac” fable. You in downtown Cincinnati. Wally, know the story - it’s where dirt the host of the show, was poor people take their meager perturbed by all the “rich bums” public assistance checks and making $80 a day begging from buy Cadillacs instead of taking the unlucky and fearful public. care of business. The irony was not lost on me. We have heard this Cincinnati city government sickening radio prattle before continues to be the biggest too; the same station last year panhandler around; bilking tax- spent a week on a pretend paying citizens out of millions homeless round-up, with all the of dollars by subsidizing “hilarious” variations on the nefarious market-rate theme including luring “bums” development projects, parking with “40 ounce beers” and a garages and a billion dollar free one-way bus trip to the riverfront development. This is edge of the county. Outraged the same local government that citizens who called the station digs for quarters from parking were ridiculed and hung up on. meter revenues on a holiday Too bad those callers didn’t weekend. realize how much their Wally included in his indignation added entertainment low-brow tirade a description value to a cruel radio show of his recent trip down Main prank. Sadly, most of the Street and how desolate it was callers on both these occasions on a Saturday night with bars supported “eradication” of the empty and storefronts vacant. “bums.” That’s because people are sick So who do we blame for of all the bums, he said. Did he the City’s wretched disregard of
the poor and the cruel public attitude toward the underprivileged? Is poverty simply the downside of capitalist policy and practice? Is this disregard a symptom of police brutality and racism? Is it ignorance, meanness or greed? Is it all of these things? No one wants to take care of the poor. It can be an ugly and depressing business. People who work in shelters and other places serving the poor are not getting rich on their career choice, and the work can sometimes be frustrating. But there are great joys in this work too, and that is why people give up their lives to it. The so-called “bums” are human beings, rich in life, character and spirit – we have much to learn from each other. As long as we degrade other human beings in order to feel better about ourselves or look for someone to blame for society’s ills we will never reach our potential as a human culture. It takes guts in this City to speak out for the poor, even if it is simply a matter of human decency. The City continues its quest to deny the existence of the poor. Yet many of the City’s ills are born from the mistreatment of the lessfortunate, trapped by poverty and a scornful popular media. Cincinnati was named one of the meanest cities in the country for its mistreatment of the poor and the homeless. No one who works close to the street is surprised by this characterization. Plans for a “vibrant” downtown have no room for poor people. The City struggles with a dying downtown. Many plans have come and gone over the years, with little thought given for the reasons why the City is a ghost town on weekends. I have to stop writing now so I can go feed the parking meter. I’d rather not pay the $14 parking ticket, but I will give the City their lousy quarter.
Help STREETVIBES Celebrate 100 Issues! How has STREETVIBES touched your life? Streetvibes will soon be celebrating its 100th issue and nearly 10 years of publishing in Greater Cincinnati. Do you have a Vendor story or thoughts on this milestone that we could share with our readers? Do you have a favorite story from a previous issue? Please contact us at the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, 117 East 12th Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 - or send us an email. We would love to hear from you! Streetvibes
36% of Cincinnatiâ€™s homeless once served our nation
Who are the Homeless? Why are so many of our honored veterans on the streets? What can YOU do to help? I WILL DONATE: $20
There are 25,000 people in Cincinnati that experience homelessness each year. Who are these individuals? 36% of the homeless on the streets of our community are veterans, yet only 13% of Ohioâ€™s population are veterans. Why are so many of our past veterans living with no home? Here at the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless we are working to end homelessness for ALL individuals through education, advocacy and coordination of services. We are looking to find systemic solutions and real change that goes farther than the generous services our kitchens and shelters provide. This summer we are honoring past heroes, celebrating our freedom, and hoping for an end to the struggle overseas; let us not forget those who struggle here in our community this very day. Please consider a tax deductible contribution today and help create positive change in your city. Send your donations to Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless 117 East 12th Street Cincinnati, OH 45202
We Showed Up At The Table But It Felt Like We Were In The Wrong Room 3CDC Presentation of Plans for Washington Park at Over-theRhine Community Council, June 28, 2000
moved over and disregarded. We always see projects that serve the more affluent get more attention. The specifics of implementation are drawn up and seen on the page, money is found, and people in positions of power say, “Go with our blessings.” Our by Bonnie Neumeier vision gets lost on the page. Long Time Washington Park It’s always hard to find Resident of Over-the-Rhine resources and programs to When City Council serve the poor and working abolished the Planning class people, and especially Department of the City of Cincinnati it took away a public now at a time when our government is waging war in space and process to hear IRAQ. neighborhood concerns Bonnie Neumeier (center) at Cincinnati Public School Board meeting We showed up at the regarding neighborhood plans, table, but it feels like we were at least a place we can publicly there will be in their time, on broader area of Over-the-Rhine. in the wrong room. We were voice challenges and concerns You can’t just decide from on not in the room where decisions this planet, a time when they and hope for reconsideration. too can sit at the councils of high that something’s got to go are being made about our Many residents and choosing.” to make way for your plans neighborhood. neighborhood organizations The 3CDC has been busy without the people involved at I was fortunate to hear again showed up at the table to planning in rooms where we the “councils of choosing”. Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, a wrestle with developing a have not been invited. And we We need the continuum long time activist and historian comprehensive plan for our now are last on the list of of care from shelter to community, even though we had from the Civil Rights public bodies 3CDC has been permanent affordable housing Movement, founder of Sweet a good plan of l985 that never approaching to get approval of to be intact in this Honey in the Rock on a Friday reached implementation. We their plans for Washington Park neighborhood. If we believe in night (June 25th, 2004) when pour our hearts out and speak area, the sites for SCPA and diversity; both racial and Cincinnati Women’s MUSE with a diverse voice EVERY economic diversity, then we Choir sang her Liberty or Death Washington Park School, and TIME, AGAIN AND AGAIN about what we dream about and Suite for their spirituals concert designs for housing in the area. need to work harder at finding It feels like a template is ways that people in all our COME STEPPIN’ IN envision for our neighborhood already worked out and the grid diversities can co-exist. That FREEDOM’S NAME. We (jobs with livable wages, affordable housing is secure and schools with solid educational definitely need some steppin’ in is dropped on us from on high. And you come to us on the neighborhood organizations are programs, housing; both rental freedom’s name. The last song same night that the fate of not sacrificed for a vision that and alternative home ownership of the suite was entitled Rothenberg and Washington disregards their importance or models that we can afford, WHEN? WHEN? WHEN? Park neighborhood schools are disrupts their painstaking years green spaces that we can enjoy, Within her composer notes Dr. of commitment and service to neighborhood serving Bernice Johnson Reagon writes being decided upon at the Cincinnati School Board our neighborhood. We need businesses that we can work for about this song: “This is the meeting. I want to believe and concrete drawings and and shop in, services that we’ve question that is for all time resources for the low-income worked hard to develop and and any time you find yourself imagine a time when people in this city, particularly those housing piece of our that meet our needs and treat us a part of a society or a struggling at the bottom of the neighborhood plan. A lot has with dignity and respect.) community, but because of changed in the housing picture It always comes down to some bias or stigma, you watch economic ladder, are seen, are respected, are valued, are not in this neighborhood since City POWER, THE INEQUITIES as others take steps and move blamed for poverty and Council passed it June 26 th of OF POWER. Who has the through doors that are closed oppression. When will we be 2002. Market rate developers power to set an agenda and get to you. Even as we exercise seen as assets? need to be challenged to do the resources to support it? our right to choose, there are The beauty, the strength, affordable housing as well as The little people always get so many people waiting and the fierce determination to keep partner with groups who do stepped on, pushed out, and struggling and wondering if on keepin’ on in spite of affordable housing so that obstacles is astounding to me. affordable housing is not lost in There has been much work and the planning. Neighborhood development going on here over people need to witness progress the 30 plus years I’ve lived here on the affordable housing side through grassroots efforts. You of the equation. We need our cannot only hold up Music Hall public schools, Washington as the cultural anchor. Park and Rothenberg, to get as Neighborhood people identify much attention as SCPA. with many peoples’ Steppin’ in freedom’s name in organizations as anchors. You this neighborhood means justice cannot discount those needs to be had for the people organizations and decide their who’ve called this home for fate. We are fortunate to have years and want to reap the organizations like Drop Inn benefits of development in Center, Tender Mercies, concrete ways that serve our Emmanuel, ReSTOC in the interests as well. WHEN? Washington Park area, and WHEN? WHEN? WILL WE Jaylyn’s mother and sisters and brothers would like to thank everyone many other associations and SIT AT THE COUNCILS OF for all their prayers, gifts and all the nice things they have said. Thank people’s organizations in the CHOOSING? you! - Mr. Jaylyn Dudley, submitted by Julie Walker, Streetvibes Vendor
Independence From Homelessness As I sit here at my desk by Mary Gaffney thinking about the meaning of Hi there, my Streetvibes Independence Day, celebrated readers and friends of the Homeless Coalition. Hope you with parades and picnics, I wonder what these words mean had an enjoyable Independence Day. I want to thank all of you to the homeless. Sitting here I saw the look on who purchased some of their Streetvibes last faces, of month. The disappointment program really when the job they helps our were so grateful vendors; it gives to have was taken then something away from them. of their own. One of my There are visitors lost his still some people job and on top of out there who that his pay has insult our been delayed. For vendors with Miss Mary Gaffney some reason he nasty remarks, didn’t even get but to those who are kind, I paid. You would be surprised thank you and may God bless at some of the personal you.
problems my friends are confronted with and at times they feel they are at the end of their rope, and some don’t care anymore. I find time to talk with them, regardless of their problems. I have been asked why I always speak about my homeless friends in my column. They answer, I’m proud to say, is that I‘m around them five days a week. Even if they have had a rough time, a bad day, they always treat me with respect and courteousness. If you render kindness, you receive kindness. But to answer the question, I say, will always say, that these are my friends regardless of their circumstances. You cannot
judge a book by its cover, and you may have to look more than one time. Still, you may have to stop and study what you read. It could be history, science, or whatever! It really made my day when I recently ran into three of my friends who I hadn’t seen in two years. They ran up to me calling my name! Ms. Mary! They told me they were working now. I had known them when they were homeless. At that time, they didn’t have a cigarette or anything! They had to sleep at the Drop Inn Center or Washington Park. Remember, it doesn’t cost anything to recognize someone, to smile at a stranger on the street. May God bless each and every one of you.
Columbus Loses Major Shelter pressure building on The Open by Elizabeth Linville, Shelter, the shelter’s board Civil Rights Coordinator researched options for On Friday, July 1, relocation and other ways to Columbus, Ohio’s The Open continue providing services to Shelter closed to residents for homeless men. In May of 2000, the last time. According to its they were lucky to receive a website, The Open Shelter was donation of $450,000 that “the only ‘24-hour emergency allowed them to purchase the walk-in shelter’ for men in building located Central Ohio.” The on the Sciota shelter had been Peninsula which, open since 1983 and the board hoped, was unique in would provide Columbus for more stability and having no admission keep the shelter requirements for its open. residents. Unfortunately, Since the late The Open Shelter, nineties, The Open Elizabeth Linville like many nonShelter has profits, has faced financial struggled to keep its doors difficulties during the past few open. According to The Open years. Two years ago, it lost a Shelter’s website, in 1998 the majority of its funding and was City of Columbus created the forced to sell the building (to Sciota Peninsula Relocation Task Force to assist in the relocation of The Open Shelter from the Sciota Peninsula area, a prime location for development near the downtown area. With city
the city of Columbus), sign a lease with the city, and cut its daytime hours. When the lease ran out last month, the shelter was finally forced to shut down. There is speculation that the prime reason for the loss of city funding which led to the shelter’s closure was the organization’s refusal to relocate to another area of Columbus. The Community Shelter Board (which administers city funding) sited the reason the shelter’s refusal to meet “community standards” as the main reason. These standards include clean bed linens, private areas for meetings between staff and clients, and a good relationship with the surrounding community. It is uncertain whether the shelter could have
remained open if they had decided to relocate to another area of the city. The shutting down of this important shelter to central Ohio is a warning for us in Cincinnati. Currently, the development group, 3CDC, is working on a plan for the redevelopment of Washington Park. The Drop Inn Center, located so close to the park, will obviously be affected by this plan, although at the moment it is difficult to tell exactly how. The Open Shelter will remain a presence in Columbus, providing outreach and advocacy services for the homeless community, as it has throughout its existence. Homeless men across the city of Columbus will miss its primary mission: providing shelter
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Interview with Ernest Hubbell by Georgine Getty When I first met you, you were under the Clay Wade Bailey bridge (August 2003) with a whole bunch of folks. How have things changed since then? Well the coma. That changed my whole life. People started caring about me. You were in a coma? What happened? I was drinking and with my Diabetes, it caused a sugar backup. From sleeping outdoors I had Pneumonia and it all caught up with me. How long were you in the coma? About a week, but I stayed in the hospital for about two months. I had a tracheotomy. It was unusual. In the hospital, I had visions and dreams. I saw Jesus, but I had real bad dreams too. I felt like I was right in the middle of a chapter. Jesus told me he needed a friend. It was, like, real to me. Even when I came out of the coma, I was faced with the problem of “is this real?” The paranoia kicked in and I tried to escape. After I realized it was no longer a dream, I was o.k. But I kept seeing this Jesus guy. I thought I was going to heaven, but Jesus told me to be patient. What happened when you left the hospital? I met Sharon and Curtis (from PATH. PATH is a team of outreach workers who specify in clients with mental health needs – ed. note). They got a hold of Debbie (from Tender Mercies, which provides housing and individualized supportive services to homeless persons with histories of mental illness. – ed. note) and they got me into Tender Mercies within a week. And then I met Arnetta (Case Manager at Tender Mercies) and they welcomed me in and took care of all my needs. . . like clothes. And then there’s Sally. She took care of my hygiene needs. Bob’s been encouraging my rehabilitation and making me exercise. He makes sure I don’t forget appointments and is a personal friend. Ed makes sure we have food. All of the staff is so nice, they’re good people. John makes sure that you’re taken care of. If you have a complaint, he takes care of it. He tolerates everyone. He tolerates me, I’m paranoid, and he comforts me. Marcia (Executive Director) invited me to help get benefits (for Tender
Mercies) and talk to people and she welcomed me out there. That really made me feel like I was somebody. When I got there, I couldn’t walk, I was short-winded, obesity. They really took care of me. I work for Stacy now at the Commissary (inside Tender Mercies). She took me to the Golden Coral. Then there’s Miss Gales, the psychiatrist. She gets me medicine to help me sleep because of the nightmares and she never scolds me. They really care about me. The volunteers feed me. I’ve never gone hungry there. Ernie Hubbell How’s your health been lately? the Homeless Coalition is always I’m recuperating. It’s been better. I have Diabetes and I take there if I need to buy papers (Ernie is a badged Streetvibes medication for the pain and the vendor – ed.note). They don’t do sleepless nights. I have some mental problems with Depression services or anything, but they and Paranoia. I stopped drinking. were there with us under the I eat better and have a place to Hello My Name Is... sleep. I socialize with a lot of people now and I’m building my ...Ernie Hubbell strength back. Are you from Cincinnati? Half my life. I’m from Michigan originally but I plan to stay here the rest of my life. I love Cincinnati. What do you like about Cincinnati? There are caring people here. It’s friendly. I come from a cold town and the people here are very friendly. I’ve never met anyone in Michigan who would go up under the viaducts and try to bring people to programs like Tender Mercies. What are your hopes for the future? To manage my own life and begin to do things on my own. Hopefully I’ll get a part-time job when my legs heal up. I’ve been going to the Lord’s Gym and working to make my legs strong. The Lord’s Gym (corner of 12th and Race) is very special. I go to church on Thursday night for Bible Study. My preacher is Larry and his wife Carol are like a mother and father to me. If I need something, they always give it. They’re from the Vineyard church. What would you like the readers of Streetvibes to know? That the people at Tender Mercies are very special. If you have physical or mental problems, you can go there. If you need a nice church or anything, you should try the Lord’s Gym. Also
bridge and stuck it out through the protest and they represented us in the courts. They spoke really well on our side. Thank you!
Originally from Michigan, but a long-time Cincinnatian, Ernie became homeless a little over a year ago when his “money ran out and his job ran out.” He started drinking because his girlfriend left him. At first he lived with a friend, but then his friend got a girlfriend and he had to move out. At that time, he met the people who were living under the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge and joined them. Ernie was present during last summer’s bridge protest and followed the group into court where he observed the proceedings and lent his moral support. Shortly after, Ernie lapsed into a Diabetic coma that lasted a full week. He currently is recuperating and rebuilding his life at Tender Mercies in Over-the-Rhine.
Streetvibes Letter... Dear Editor, I could hardly believe my ears! Now we are going to rebuild Fountain Square? Moving the Fountain a few feet to the center of the area? How many millions? The way we have money to blow on insignificant stuff you would think that everyone had a job, housing, ample food, health care, new bridges, enough police, resurfaced roads, etc! Mike Shryock, Madeira
Newspapers are unable, seemingly to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization. - George Bernard Shaw It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day just exactly fits in the newspaper. - Jerry Seinfield
20 YEARS SERVING THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Empowering our neighborhood children through peace, art and education Peaslee Neighborhood Center 215 East 14th Street Over-the-Rhine Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
A Letter To City Council About The Freedom Center Dear Councilman Smitherman, Thank you so much for extending to me a free invitation to view the Underground Railroad Freedom Center before its opening to the public. It is my understanding that proponents of the facility have already approached you requesting your vote for city funding of this Center. It was wise for you to tour the so-called Freedom Center with certain members of the community before committing to vote in favor of spending tax dollars to keep such a facility running in the future. It also provided me with an opportunity to develop an informed opinion as to whether or not this facility will live up to the expectations of the African American community. Thanks to your invitation, I have come to a reasonable conclusion. That conclusion is that the Underground Railroad Freedom Center is an extreme disappointment that will in no
way satisfy our thirst for a building meant to commemorate, celebrate, and memorialize our struggle (and, indeed, continuing struggle) for freedom. The Underground Railroad Freedom Center - as it now stands - makes no effort to tell the whole truth regarding slavery, the racism that would have us slaves still, and the undying resolve of African Americans to fight against such bonds. It is totally devoid of any depiction of the murder, raping, and torture of our people. It leaves out the story of runaway slaves that were killed enroute to freedom, and it gives more than its proper amount of credit to white abolitionists, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War. An entire half of the museum is used to highlight the plight of freedom struggles other than our own (including mention of suffrage, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the Jewish holocaust, etc). The children’s section of the
facility is actually more inspiring than the adult section. The whole thing is just an utter disgrace. It is my opinion that those responsible for what makes up the content of this Center (including and especially Mr. John Pepper) clearly want to present a story that will make white visitors comfortable notwithstanding any denial of the truth or betrayal of the African American community. In short, what has been marketed as a tribute to our struggle is in actuality a sugar-coated, whitewashed version of what we as African Americans have gone through and continue to go through. I personally left out of the Freedom Center more disheartened that when I went in. If African Americans in Cincinnati don’t respond with righteous indignation toward the belittlement of our plight, we are no freer than the original slaves who never dared to travel the Underground Railroad. I,
therefore, urge you, Mr. Smitherman, not to spend a penny of City money funding what amounts to an insult and a lie. Yours in the Struggle, Amanda E. Mayes Co-Chair, Coalition for a Just Cincinnati
Mr. Smitherman did not respond. The main problem with city funding of the Freedom Center is that whatever funds are earmarked for this facility will have to come at the expense of something else. I seriously doubt that those funds will come from the police budget or from money planned for other development on the Banks. This funding will likely come from the part of the budget set aside for city services in our neighborhoods (and especially those that aid the poor.) - Amanda
3CDC – What Is It? goal of raising $50 million in by Vera Zlatkin private sector capital to help As 3CDC reveals its fund Center City Projects. plans for the developing Over3CDC will also work closely the-Rhine and the Washington with the Cincinnati Park area, more and more people are asking this question; Development Fund, a community development What is it? What is 3CDC? financial institution focused The Cincinnati Center principally on housing.” City Development Corporation The list of the 24 (3CDC) was created in July 2003. It is a private non-profit Board of Directors members of 3CDC reads like a page corporation whose initial focus from the Fortune Five is the implementation of Hundred CEO’s of development projects in three Cincinnati. The members are key areas of downtown, mostly made up of male white Washington Park, Fountain wealthy heads of Cincinnati’s New parking garage being built at Central Parkway and Vine Street Square, and the Banks on the largest corporations, such as riverfront. Company Joseph A. Pichler corporation, which makes it a Proctor and Gamble, Cinergy, The following leads the working group separate entity unto itself. That American Financial Group, and information was taken directly charged with development in means that it is able to make from the 3CDC website - http// The Kroger Company. The Over the Rhine. You will find decisions and to take action Chairman of the Kroger www.3cdc.org/. the entire list of the Board of without first getting the Capital and Operating Directors and their titles at the approval of City Council. How Funding above website. much power does 3CDC really “The city of Cincinnati The above information have? Will the general public has committed to invest $100 calls to mind a number of have any say in plans for the million over five years to questions and concerns, for development of our Downtown support Center City plan example how was this board areas? Will 3CDC continue as a projects. This amount is selected and by whom? corporation after the consistent with its historical Considering that one of the development is completed? If annual capital investment in members of 3CDC’s Board of so, what will their purpose be? City development projects. Directors is also chairman of In the meantime the Funds will primarily come from The Kroger Company which is displacement of disadvantaged Downtown and Over the Rhine receiving millions of dollars people continues and Tax increment Financing (TIF) from the city for the building of privatization; that is, corporate districts. In addition, Over the its Vine Street garage, is it control of public properties and Rhine is eligible for possible that certain city institutions is becoming the Empowerment Zone funds and officials have been making norm. Federal Community backroom deals that will allow The phrase, “Knowledge is Development Block Grants. Big Business to determine Power” may be trite, but it is The private sector will public policy? true. create the Center City Vera Zlatkin 3CDC is a private Development Fund, with the
The Peace Village
enthusiasm for teaching about peace for disabled people. We did posters in ways that are most unusual in that those who could not speak in any language I could understand made clear to their helpers what they wanted to be written or drawn on the cardboard. Suddenly, it was clear, and powerful, and energizing. “We want our rights, our FULL rights,” each poster said in one form or another. I hope sometime you get to meet Linda and her group. Recently, I have had the good luck to meet with about 50 young people who have agreed to use their summer as interns in the organizations that work with the poor, the hungry, the crazy, and the victimized. We met as part of a “reflection” activity at Xavier
by Dr. Steve Sunderland I want to honor some people who are working for peace that is out of the spotlight, out of the glare of television, out of the minds of average citizens who read newspapers and watch television expecting that the reality of our community and world is adequately portrayed. Tracy Kidder, in his latest book, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World (2004). Random House, asks Farmer why he continues to make “house calls” in rural and mountainous Haiti when he could be back at Harvard teaching and doing research. Farmer explained: “”...people from our background—like you...like me—we’re used to being on a victory team, and actually what we’re really trying to do...is make common cause with the losers. ...We Dr. Steve Sunderland want to be on the University. The purpose of our winning team, but at the risk of turning our backs on the losers, no, meeting was to give each person a chance to draw their most powerful it’s not worth it. So you fight the learning from their first four weeks long defeat.” Haitian people who are very sick matter just as much as of service in our poorest communities. Most of the youth Americans in the upper class, were from area high schools, public Farmer is saying to an audience of and parochial, and from some of small and dedicated people who our colleges. Funded by the continue to work in conditions of Mayerson Foundation and staffed such meager resources as to shock by outstanding teachers, the youth anyone who has a sensibility of met with me to draw and talk. We caring. Why has Haiti been so shared about the reality of our thoroughly abandoned? The city’s profound neglect of the poor questions stares out at us like a and the ways in which each person candle on a desert, a pin prick that learned that simple and vital illuminates such a little part of the actions made a great deal of surrounding darkness about the difference. We saw and heard people and issues somehow about children who were as hungry surviving in the darkness of for food as they were for smiles, courage and anonymity. human contact, and someone to Linda Kunick is president of People First. Linda is one of the play with. We saw posters and heard stories about the need for most articulate peace workers I “patience” in listening to stories know even though she is learning and trying to make sense of them. disabled. She is working for the Stories from the poor indicated rights of people who have serious disabilities from cerebral palsy and some important trust placed in the listeners, a trust that each person other causes. Her organization’s did not want to abuse. “No matter mission statement proudly states: what you have done,” a poster with “We believe that all people with a person sitting in a chair covering disabilities should be treated as their head talking to someone equal and be able to speak up for sitting and listening on the floor, “I what they want. By serving as will respect and love you.” leaders and working together as a The posters were signs of TEAM with all members of the the dying of many Cincinnatians community.” Linda invited me to from the “normal” culprits of do posters with her group of 15 addictions, poverty, little useful people recently based on our parenting, and rejection. No one successful experience at a prior could look at the pictures and not meeting of disabled people. Linda want to ask: “Why do we want to is a peace maker with enormous
waste the talents of such impressive youth on these people?” Yet, if you could have been there, you would have heard the resolve in these young voices, seen the courage in their eyes, and saw another generation of activists who are on a journey neither their schools or their parents know a lot about. These young people know the victory of small acts of genuine caring. They do not expect anything in return as they know they are not in the “business” of caring. The lesson they have learned about our society is one that is priceless: the celebration of human happiness, caused, witnessed, honored and tenderly accepted, is the special gift, the inoculation of the potion of happiness that may yield the deep understanding of humaneness. There is a moment in the movie, “Gandhi,” when Nehru brings news to the fasting Gandhi that the violence against the police has stopped and that the people are putting garlands of flowers around the necks of the police. Gandhi, starting to cry, turns and says: “Perhaps we have gone overboard.” The humor breaks Nehru and he opens his heart of tears, too. This moment reminds me so much of Saad Ghosn, a Lebanese American peace worker, poet, artist, and professor of medicine at the University of Cincinnati. Looking into Saad’s face is to look deeply into his gentleness and his resolve that peace, like tears, is always ready to surface when the touch is right. Saad organized the second peace exhibit for artists of Cincinnati, encouraging the 100 or more artists to bring their finest work about peace. The art was shown in a semi-converted old factory that is now a series of two exhibit halls. Only minimal repairs have been finished and the art was placed everywhere on these old and hardened walls. Each weekend night and afternoon, poetry readings, musical offerings, and panels on some topic related to peace were offered for free. At the opening, the artists and those who wanted to hear descriptions of the art by the artist, walked the building. About 50-75 of us walked from painting to sculpture to television to hear, see, and welcome what each artist offered. I had come earlier in the day to put up some posters of mine and some posters from different projects I have facilitated plus a very large picture from Israel of a gigantic tank with balloons and flowers emerging from its turret. This picture was completed by six Israeli high schools students who had worked with Rabbi Kelman’s rabbinical students in one of the few Reform Jewish High Schools in Israel. It adorned the wall, fairly
shimmering with joy and it was diagonally across from Saad’s harrowing works. It is very hard for me to imagine brutal presentations coming from such a gentle man. Saad has Gandhi’s beautiful open face, large soft eyes, and a voice that rarely is above a whisper. A little smile, impishly, is often on his lips as he shares such deep gratefulness for participating in this event. Yet, Saad knows violence and truth and drives the observer to the point of having to either face his work or turn away in shock and hopelessness. The theme of “innocence” is at the base of his work on display. One picture is split in two with the bottom part being the heads of little dolls hanging, dangling in the space he has let them fall to, while the upper part of the picture, above a platform with toy soldiers in black, he has three figures: Money, Power, and Religion. Seeing the doll heads is very difficult but nothing compared to the next picture. Here, is a large structure, we see the broken bodies of dolls, all painted black, and mixed together in a death pile that is too unbearable for me to look at for long. Saad has titled this work, “Turning Their Bodies Into Oil.” But artists cannot leave the battleground with only despair. There is the humor of the hanging sculpture of Bush riding a bomb like a cowboy riding a bull that leaves us laughing. And, there is the remarkable beauty of so many paintings of the dead that seem to imply that maybe, just maybe they are sleeping a simple and acceptable peace. I find the artist leading me into the picture to see what could have been if violence was not our culture’s choice and then, it is easy to see the beauty in the human form not touched by war, bullets, blood, and danger. The human form becomes an expression of love in all of its colors, now twisting to reveal the shape of the body in play, now showing the body extending a finger or toe to touch a loved one. There is more to life than war even though we are swimming in the polluted waters of it.
Dr. Steve Sunderland, professor of Social Work at the University of Cincinnati, is the Director of The Peace Village, a group of individuals from the national and international community committed to examining all issues of Peace in the world. Dr. Sunderland also heads up Posters-for-Peace which engages people in expressing their visions of Peace, in their own words, through the creation of posters.
The Fourth Annual Public Forum on Homelessness
THE IMPOSSIBLE WILL TAKE A LITTLE WHILE: Living and Acting with HOPE in Difficult Times Wednesday, October 13, 2003 8:30am to 5pm
Franklin County Veteran’s Memorial Wayne Brehm Room 300 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio Presented by The Columbus Coalition for the Homeless In Partnership with The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, Otterbein College, The Columbus Metropolitan Area Church Council & The Interprofessional Commission of Ohio
Featuring PAUL LOEB as keynote speaker This forum will focus on advocacy, through the work of volunteers and professionals, for the needs of marginalized people - particularly those who are very poor and often homeless. The attendees will hear presentations by one of the country’s leading proponents of citizens living, acting and working for a more justice and equitable society for all people. “Paul Loeb brings hope for a better world in a time when we so urgently need it.” Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity For more information about Paul, see www.paulloeb.org
Poverty – The New Slavery
to subvert the possible improvements required by the working class. The vast majority of the upper class donates large amounts of both time and money to superfluous charities that look good on paper, and provide various write-offs, but do not make a valid improvement in anyone’s standard of living except their own. Though it may look good to save the ozone, or protect baby seals, or donate money to save the rain forest, what have you done for society? You donate money to political campaigns that promise to be tough on crime, and end deficit spending. In reality, you mandate a further separation of the classes. Very few rich people deal drugs. If you live in an environment where your only potential way to pay for the necessities of life are either a dead-end minimum wage job, or to break the law by selling drugs, what do you chose? Quite often those who choose the latter do not have an
reading. Advertisements prey on the need for acceptance, by getting a new car, name brand appliances, specific soda pops, etc, until those who cannot afford these unnecessary items steal them. The drug trade is a violent world, and survival is a game with no true victors, only victims. Perhaps the time has come to look for a more rational approach in our dealings with each other. How many people subsist on wages that are inadequate? How many people live with no health insurance? How many jobs are being outsourced to foreign countries? How many times have you bought a pirated CD or videotape? Can you look in the mirror and honestly tell yourself it’s OK? Do you really think giving a person 25 to life in prison for a petty crime is justice? Feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts or ideas.... e Str
by Gary Hallford, California State Prison Solano 6-140L PO Box 4000 Vacaville, CA 95696-4000 Whether you find yourself struggling to make ends meet on the street, working for a major corporation at minimum wage, or as an enlisted member of the military, one constant remains: it is virtually impossible to pay your rent, afford any form of public transportation, pay for medical care, to obtain competent legal representation in civil or criminal cases. Education above state mandated Minimums? Adequate job training to progress into a better lifestyle? Very unlikely... The sad truth in the matter is that with the exception of the air we breathe, everything costs money. Too many people in the middle and upper-classes consider the working class to be a drain on their continued supremacy, and act both publicly and privately
education that provides any opportunity for advancement. This country’s prison system is full of under-educated poor folks that chose instant gratification rather than ethical conduct. Whose fault is it? Partly, it’s due to an education system that is a complete failure to the students, and the taxpayers. Some of the blame rests on the politicians that mandate maximum sentences three-strikes laws - and remove functional programs that might possibly improve a former prisoner’s chance at success after release. Also, you have local political agendas that unfairly distribute tax dollars for the sake of road repairs and other needs, by using the prison system as the county’s population. (Lassen County, California has 30% of its population in prison.) And lastly, part of the problem is a lack of personal responsibility throughout society in general. From the President, down to the local junky, personal responsibility is at an all-time low. The point is, that this country has become totally deluded with the “gimmee, gimmee, gimmee” attitude. Too many young people are more adept at video games than
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More Than Just a Home by Charlotte Ruddy, Peaslee Neighborhood Center Volunteer. Countless times I’ve questioned the life I’m leading and whether I approach my days with the right mindset. It seems too easily that we loose sight of what really matters. Within a materially “privileged” environment I’ve come to realize just how naturally we get trapped in the rhythm of our own rat race. And what is essential to the heart, and to our very livelihood…the raw, wholesome, simple things…like compassion, laughter, and friendship, become overlooked by petty cravings, for bigger and better “things”, that are oh-soshort-lived in their fulfillment. The “priorities” in my life have been under reconstruction for as long as I can remember. I found myself wavering through the tides of adolescence and the mass media’s misleading influences. However, with every new experience I’d encounter along my soul search, I tried to find a fresh perspective, a new outlook on life that would keep me attuned to the loveliness all around us. Even in our seemingly disoriented existence, I’ve always found it possible to uncover that ‘universal happiness,’ an uncomplicated sense of beauty, wherever I happen to be called upon. On a last minute’s notice this summer, I was blessed by the opportunity to escape from my middle class life, to serve needy Mexican families in a ‘colonia’ bordering Texas (where thousands come empty handed, with the hopes of crossing the border into the U.S.), with my fellow senior high youth group from Friendship United Methodist Church. Our objective was to demonstrate God’s love by providing two families with sturdy structures they could call home. However, going into this trip, not only could I not foresee just how crucial our material resources are needed around the world (that we take for granted and consume so carelessly), but
even more gravely, could I not imagine how much joy and beauty there was dancing through a community, referred to by many as the “underprivileged”. I’d had experience working within underserved communities before, however as we traveled across the border to Mexico we’d enter into an unfamiliar level of poverty. From first glance one could find the dirt roads, dust whipping through the Photos by Charlotte Ruddy air, undomesticated dogs roaming free, trash layering demonstrated through our the earth’s surface, and the expressions of a deep desire to homes…made of recycled offer our help and for these families to graciously receive it. With the language barrier (Spanish vs. English), we became fully engaged in our universal behaviors…such as smiling, waving, playing with the children, and showing kindness and gratitude. These are essential elements in any environment, in any setting. The two families, whom we were building homes for, were living with minimum resources; i.e. lack of drinking water, no plumbing or electricity, and little access to food. However, these basic needs never appeared to get in their way of the small joys of the day, such as watching their children play and enjoying a tasty plate of beans. My group’s family consisted of a mother, Sara, who was probably in her mid thirties boxes, borrowed wood, and and her 3 year old daughter, truck tops. It could be hard to Celina. Celina, who was find beauty in land that looked rambunctious and friendly, with so hungry for life, like trying to her twinkling eyes, lift hopes in a war zone. was the force However, this drawing the youth disheartening perception was group and her radically revitalized as soon as family together. we came in contact with the While we worked people; saw their smiling faces, on their new home, their loving embrace for family, Sara stood at the and their appreciation for door frame of their everything life offered them…a temporary shelter joyfulness unknown to me. It and attentively, was so beautifully simple, like patiently watched life was intended to be. With us, while her tender, open arms, they accepted daughter, Celina, us into their community, even would tease us and though we were foreign in their play, just as any humble eyes. And so, with each other high spirited, day of straining physical labor cheerful child. also came an emotionally, Most of our day intimate time of building was spent relationships. hammering nails Although we came from into boards to practically worlds apart…the create the walls of core of our existence was their home. As the faithfully the same. This was week progressed,
not only did we see the house take shape but also we saw an unspoken bond between the volunteers and this family. It’s hard to explain how you can be so attached to people we’d only known for one week. Even though in the end, this simple structure we built for this family was just sturdy walls, a tar roof and a linoleum floor…what was created was much, much more. What I learned from this experience was that what we considered some of the “essentials” of life are not always necessary to finding joy in a day. Meals shared with the family, a piggy back ride for Celina, a smile shared with Sara all made us celebrate the human spirit and our brief time together. I hope that I continue to carry their passion for life in my heart. This life lesson they gave to me was just as great, if not greater, than what we left for them, the permanent shelter they now call home.
Homeless News Digest
Compiled by Patty Lane The Salvation Army in Flatbush, New York, wants to help house the homeless by building them a place to live. According to the New York Times, the Army wants to build a nine-story, 117-unit shelter but residents groups have been protesting the project for months. Their biggest argument: the facility is too big for the area and fear it would unfairly tax local resources. “There isn’t a ninestory building in the community. So the largest building in our community is going to be a homeless shelter,” State Senator Kevin Parker tells the Times. He says he has received hundreds of letters from angry residents. In June he sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg to oppose the shelter. Alfred Peck, the Salvation Army’s director, describes Flatbush as an ideal location for the shelter. “The reality is that this is a family shelter, providing services for other New Yorkers who have fallen on hard times,” he says. The plan calls for the Salvation Army to occupy the shelter under a nine-year lease. Opponents are calling for a moratorium on shelter construction and a focus on lowincome housing. Police and homeless advocates are hitting the streets and back alleys of Oakland, California after a series of vicious beatings of local homeless people, one fatal on those living on the streets. KTVU reports a 52-year-old victim died after a weekend beating. He may have been sleeping when a group of unidentified men assaulted him at a makeshift campsite. Other homeless people witnessed the attack. “It is pretty cowardly for a group of people to viciously attack an obviously defenseless person,” Sgt. Bruce Brock tells KTVU. “He was a completely innocent victim.” The man died from a blunt force trauma. Two weeks ago, three local teenagers were arrested for severely beating a homeless man with a board. At least two other victims have been hospitalized from recent attacks. Witnesses told police that the suspects in the most recent death were between 16 and 20 years old and did not live at the encampment.
As the city of Calgary grows, so does the number of people living on its streets. An indepth survey of the Canadian city revealed a total of 127 people on the street. Research shows overall growth is at 49-percent (for a total of 2,597 people). Of those, 77 percent were male, 23 percent female, and there were more than 100 families. Lack of affordable housing is a problem, and so is government funding cuts, according to Alderman Bob Hawkesworth. “The fact that the province canceled housing programs in the early nineties in my view has been a contributing factor to the growth of homelessness,” he tells CFCN. Homeless agencies are calling on the government to step up funding for low-cost housing, increase the assured income program, and raise Alberta’s minimum wage.
Commissioner Addie Greene, who led the effort to open the center. But not everyone is convinced this will solve the homeless problem. “It’s not a perfect solution,” says Lisa Lickstein, a volunteer coordinator for the project. “It’s a comprehensive program with broad-based support. It’s a nice start.” Life could get tougher for New York City’s homeless population as the Republican National Convention heads to town in late August. Service providers fear searches and requests for ID will keep many of the city’s homeless from obtaining free food, clothing, and even a place to stay and pray. “They’re basically going to shut us down,” Mary Bivona, case manager with Catholic Charities, tells the weekly City Limits. Planned street closures and security checks will cut off the homeless and low-income clients from essential services. Between West 31st Street and West 33rd, from 7th to 9th Avenues pedestrians will need a “business related purpose to enter,” according to the mayor’s office. Providers have been meeting to discuss the problem. Some solutions include distributing homeless ID cards, providing more shelter beds, or opening up city parks for sleeping. “It’s going to look like pretend, make believe,” a 55-year-old homeless man tells the Weekly. “Like, ‘Oh, we don’t have homeless people here; we take care of our own.’ It’s all bull#*@%.” Lynn Lewis, co-director of the advocacy group Picture the Homeless, says she’s concerned about their rights. “We are primarily concerned about
making sure that people’s civil rights and liberties are not trampled on,” she says. “Let’s have some common sense. There are a lot of homeless people here; they’re not going to evaporate.” A new action plan is being drafted in Newark, New Jersey to help find homes for the area’s homeless. The Newark Advocate reports this comes the morning after volunteers conducted a late-night count of the homeless under bridges, at rest stops, and along alleyways. Members of the Licking County Housing Initiative found at least 66 people sleeping in unsheltered areas, like cars, on porches or anywhere they could find a makeshift roof. “This is not a problem that will go away,” housing coordinator Jonda Clemings tells the Advocate. “This is a problem that we will deal with one step at a time.” Time allotted for each person to stay in a shelter is limited, and the cycle of finding a permanent home begins again. Executive Director Debbie Tegtmeyer says they need a more detailed plan to offer to help people gain permanent housing. Advocates drafted plans to help both families who need homes and those who are homeless and have a substance abuse, mental illness, or other debilitating problem. Possible action plans include outreach and emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive housing. New plans, like finding quality childcare for homeless parents who have jobs and need baby sitters, and providing transportation for homeless people who find jobs and need to commute, are also options.
Palm Beach County will open a 12-bed assessment center in October allowing homeless people in need of emergency assistance to receive care right away. The emergency assessment plan will provide them with medical care, diagnoses, and referrals to other programs for additional help. Of the estimated 4,000 homeless in Palm Beach County, close to 500 live on the streets and 263 need emergency housing. “It will provide same-day access to a bed,” Sheila Smith, executive director of the Palm Beach County Homeless Coalition, tells the Post. “Oftentimes, it Berta’s Art Corner... takes days to get a Over-the-Rhine waterfall, detail of mural in dead-end alley bed, and by that just off north side of Elder Street, between Race Street and time it’s too late for some people. Goose Alley They get lost.” Members from the group presented their plan to county commissioners recently. “Once the county commission sees the success of it and the county sees the success of it, a lot of people are going to step up to the plate and we’ll be able to build a facility like the one in Miami,” says County
Streetvibes Vendor Code of Conduct About the Greater Cincinnati All Vendors Sign and Agree to a Code of Conduct Coalition for the Homeless and Report Any Violations to GCCH - 421-7803 1. Streetvibes will be distributed honest in stating that all profits go Streetvibes.... This program has helped for a $1 voluntary donation. If a customer donates more than $1 for a paper, vendors are allowed to keep that donation. However, vendors must never ask for more than $1 when selling Streetvibes. 2. Each paper purchased from the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless (GCCH) costs 30 cents. Papers will not be given out on credit. Old papers cannot be traded in for new papers. 3. Streetvibes may only be purchased from GCCH. Never buy papers from, or sell papers to other vendors. 4. Vendors must not panhandle or sell other items at the same time they are selling Streetvibes. 5. Vendors must treat all other vendors, customers, and GCCH personnel with respect. 6. Vendors must not sell Streetvibes while under the influence. 7. Vendors must not give a “hard sell” or intimidate anyone into purchasing Streetvibes. This includes following customers or continuing to solicit sales after customers have said no. 8. Vendors must never sell doorto-door or on private property, unless given permission from the owner of that property. 9. Vendors must not deceive customers while selling Streetvibes. Vendors must be
to the individual vendor. Vendors must not tell customers that the money they receive will go to GCCH or any other organization or charity. Also, vendors must not say that they are collecting for “the homeless” in general. 10. Vendors must not sell papers without their badge. Vendors must present their badge when purchasing papers from GCCH. Lost badges cost $2.00 to replace. Broken or worn badges will be replaced for free, but only if the old badge is returned to GCCH. 11. Streetvibes vendor meetings are held on the first weekday of the month at 1pm. The month’s paper will be released at this meeting. If a vendor cannot attend the meeting, he or she should let us know in advance. If a vendor does not call in advance and does not show up, that vendor will not be allowed to purchase papers on the day of the meeting or the following day. Five free papers will be given to those who do attend. 12. Failure to comply with these Rules and Regulations may result in termination from the Streetvibes vendor program. GCCH reserves the right to terminate any vendor at any time as deemed appropriate. Badges and Streetvibes papers are property of GCCH, and must be surrendered upon demand.
The mission of the North American Street Newspaper Association (NASNA) is to support a street newspaper movement that creates and upholds journalistic and ethical standards while promoting self-help and empowerment among people living in poverty. NASNA papers support homeless and very low-income people in more than 35 cities across the United States and Canada.
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The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless (GCCH) was formed in May of 1984 for one purpose: the eradication of homelessness in Cincinnati. What started out as a coalition of 15 volunteers meeting weekly in an unheated church basement has since grown into a Coalition of over 45 agencies and hundreds of volunteers dedicated to improving services for homeless individuals, educating the public about homelessness and empowering homeless individuals to advocate for their civil rights and housing needs. Streetvibes is a tool of GCCH used to help us achieve our goal of ending homelessness. On the one hand it is a self-sufficiency program geared towards the homeless and marginally housed individuals who are our vendors. Streetvibes vendors buy the paper for 30 cents per copy and sell it for a suggested one-dollar donation, keeping the profit that they have earned.
hundreds of people find and maintain housing. The vendors also sign a code of conduct stating that they will behave responsibly and professionally and they proudly display their official Streetvibes badge while selling the paper. Our vendors put a face on “the homeless” of Cincinnati and form lasting friendships with their customers. On the other hand, Streetvibes is an award-winning alternative newspaper and part of the international street newspaper movement. Focusing on homelessness and social justice issues, Streetvibes reports the often-invisible story of poverty in our community. Streetvibes is also proud to include creative writing, poetry, articles, photography and interviews written by homeless and formerly homeless individuals. Streetvibes enjoys a loyal reader base that respects the honest portrayal of the joys, sorrows, and challenges facing the people of Cincinnati.
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The International Network of Street Papers (INSP) unites street papers sold by homeless and people living in poverty from all over the world. INSP is an umbrella organisation, which provides a consultancy service for its partner papers and advises on the setting up of new street papers and support initiatives for marginalised people.
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Help STREETVIBES Celebrate 100 Issues! How has STREETVIBES touched your life? Streetvibes will soon be celebrating its 100th issue and nearly 10 years of publishing in Greater Cincinnati. Do you have a Vendor story or thoughts on this milestone that we could share with our readers? Do you have a favorite story from a previous issue? Please contact us at the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, 117East12th Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 - or send us an email. We would love to hear from you!
Peaslee’s 20th Anniversary, December 14th, 2004 by Bonnie Neumeier It was a dream-filled day, December 14th, 1984. Everlene Leary and Kathleen Prudence (two of several mothers of children at Peaslee when it closed as an elementary school in spring of l982) stood on the porch of Peaslee surrounded by community supporters, and handed over a check to buy the former school so that the neighborhood could keep Peaslee as an educational resource in Over-the-Rhine. Three years before, the community had fought to keep Peaslee as a neighborhood school. We lost that fight, but these women and their supporters had turned defeat into victory. The Board of Education finally sold the building to the Peaslee coalition to develop it for the community. We finally had the keys of hope in our hands. When anniversaries come around, it’s important to lift up and honor the valiant effort that women with the support of the Over-the-Rhine community and a broad based coalition from around this city waged in order to liberate Peaslee for the people’s use. It’s important to remember our strong roots and continue with that spirit and resolve. Each new dawn we wake up and commit ourselves to breathing life into the
programs and possibilities that Peaslee holds for our neighborhood. We carry on by respecting and understanding deeply the story of our roots. This spirit needs to live in our bones. On this journey we need to learn how to integrate new challenges, energy, and possibilities, never forgetting the founding story and what neighborhood women made possible and why. We were clear from the very beginning that Peaslee would approach education differently and that Jerry Lawson, school board member, handing over the keys to Kathleen neighborhood persons would Henson - board member Everlene Leary is on the Peaslee porch also. always be a part of the glad that we are celebrating the got my identity here.” decision making. We want This sense of power 20th anniversary. When I think programs that encourage and within contributes to the back, I never thought about support people to claim their possibility that people beauty, their strength, and their having a 20th anniversary. We collectively can claim their made it! We are still serving voice. We believe we can be sense of shared power here in the neighborhood. That’s actors and creators of our own important because we fought so Over-the-Rhine. With this history. We do not have to be shared power we can dream big hard to get Peaslee. This was victims to poverty and my first time getting involved in and spread our sense of truth, oppression. We want Peaslee peace and justice, not only in always to be about finding ways anything. I stay involved our own neighborhood, but because I like what we are to support people in building beyond into the world. their own sense of pride, power doing here. Sometimes when THANKS FOR you go to Peaslee and see the and accomplishments. I asked children’s faces, those faces Everlene Leary about this STANDING WITH US make you want to keep on upcoming importance of OVER THE YEARS… going. I found my voice here at Peaslee’s 20th birthday. She IN SOLIDARITY WE Peaslee. I was always proudly declared: ALL CAN TAKE PRIDE somebody’s Mom, Danny’s “We are continuing to IN OUR UPCOMING wife, and I found my self here serve children and at Peaslee. I got a name now. I 20th ANNIVERSARY. neighborhood people. I’m just
CBS Slants the Voucher Debate by FAIR-L (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting - Media analysis, critiques and activism) http://www.fair.org/activism/ cbs-vouchers.html On its June 28 broadcast, CBS Evening News debuted a new campaign feature called “What Does It Mean To You?,” an attempt to contrast John Kerry and George W. Bush’s positions on major issues. But the first installment’s discussion of public school vouchers presented a slanted view on a very controversial topic. The report began by profiling Catherine Hill, a grandmother raising her brother’s seven-year-old twins. As correspondent Byron Pitts explained, “For three generations, she believed in public education, raising her children, grandchildren and a host of relatives’ children in the same neighborhood school where she volunteered. But times have changed.” Pitts explained that Hill
is now taking part in a voucher program in Washington, D.C. that “would give some 1,600 public school students the opportunity to go to a private school on a $7,500 voucher.” He continued: “But the future of any federally funded voucher program will depend on who voters choose in November.” As Pitts explained, Bush favors such vouchers programs, while Kerry does not. CBS then aired brief comments from a public school principal in support of increasing public funding for schools. The report made little effort to be balanced, giving significantly more airtime to the voucher-supporting grandmother (nine sound bites) than to the anti-voucher principal (two sound bites). But worse, the CBS report presented no real information about voucher programs. Instead, viewers were left with a choice: either vote for Bush and support a grandmother who wants better for the children in
her care, or side with Kerry and the school administrator. As Pitts put it at the close of the report, “As for Mrs. Hill, she says the voucher program won’t just give her children a choice... It will give them a chance.” In place of such emotional appeals, CBS might have included evidence on the academic benefits of vouchers— benefits that research show have been mixed, as a 2001 General Accounting Office survey concluded (Associated Press, 10/1/01). CBS might also have looked more seriously into D.C.’s voucher program. As the Washington Post reported earlier in the month (6/11/04), “The D.C. voucher program did not receive enough applicants from public schools to fill all the slots available, and some of the children who will receive the federally funded tuition grants already attend private school, officials said yesterday.” Surely there are substantive questions to be
raised about a program that is attracting few applicants among its intended population. Pitt’s suggestion that public school students could go to private school “on a $7,500 voucher” is misleading. According to the liberal group People for the American Way, half of D.C.’s private schools cost $10,800 or more per year. With a maximum voucher amount of $7,500, private school attendance would still be out of the reach of many lowincome families. (For more, see: http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/ dfiles/file_230.pdf) It is refreshing to see CBS devote attention to serious campaign issues that separate Kerry and Bush. But if they really intend to show viewers “what it means to you,” they will need to be more informative and even-handed. CONTACT: CBS Evening News Phone: 212-975-3691 email to:firstname.lastname@example.org
The Other Side of the Desk by Anonymous Have you ever thought just a wee little bit, Of how it would seem to be a misfit, And how you would feel if you had to sit, On the other side of the desk? Have you ever looked at the man who seemed a bum, As he sat before you, nervous— dumb— And thought of the courage it took to come, To the other side of the desk? Have you thought of his dreams that went astray, Of the hard, real facts of his every day Of the things in his life that make him stay, On the other side of the desk? Did you make him feel that he was full of greed, Make him ashamed of his race or creed, Or did you reach out to him in his need, To the other side of the desk? May God give us wisdom and lots of it, And much compassion and plenty of grit, So that we may be kinder to those who sit ON-THE-OTHER-SIDE-OFTHE-DESK.
Troy Pitts & Michelle Whyte Life is becoming short and hard, nights are cold and long. No where to go, no where to sleep, I’m feeling death beneath me. Crying out for help, but no one’s around. Sad and alone.I feel like going home. Will someone Hear, Listen, Open up their Heart Cause living on the streets is tearing me apart. Finally I hear a Voice come from Above, Telling me to Stay positive and that I’m Loved! Reaching out for his Hand, right then, I have to take a stand. Before I sleep I say my Prayer, Hold my head up high:
by Bob Jones
I Pray to God to let Me live because I ‘ve got to stay positive I Pray to God to let me Stay Strong, Ask for forgiveness for what I’ve done wrong. I Pray to God for Better Days, cause now I see the Err of my Ways. Look Up, Stay Focused, Be Strong and of Good Courage! Blessings and Peace be upon You and All People You Reach.
I was ruled by my fear, And I ran from the pain. The pain of existence, In a world that’s insane. I covered my feelings, I chose to forget. I was numbing myself, With a drug that was wet. I fell deeper and deeper Into an abyss, a black hole. I was quenching my spirit, And I was selling my soul. But then I hit bottom, And in the mire I was stuck. I was all out of excuses I had run out of luck So I bowed down my head, And I tried hard to pray. But my mind was blank, I knew not what to say. And then I cried out, From the depths of my soul. Oh dear God up in heaven, I now surrender it all. Then He answered me gently, With a tear in his eye. I have been waiting so long, From your heart, to me cry. Now He wakes me each morning, And He guides me each day. If I yield to Him all, And don’t stand in His way.
Sands of Time
by Jeff Branham
by Jeff Branham
Remember how so all alone, we always used to feel. With the lights all on, but no one at home, when the torment was much to real. We always said that we didn’t care, that we were slowly dying. But when the pain was just too much to bear, We realized that we were lying. We took ourselves to the ultimate low, where we can stay no longer. And after the emotional flood had had its flow, we knew that we must get stronger. But now a brand new happiness, can be both yours and mine. And all the things we can afford to miss, will be lost in the sands of time.
The things of which I write about, are the things within my life. From the joyfulness that makes me want to shout, to the pain that cuts like a knife. From the love that is void and unrequited, to the love both sure and true. From being overwhelmingly excited, to the morbidity of feeling blue. Things such as the way things used to be, and things that have touched my soul. These are the things that are dear to me, in this way, my story is told. This is the way that I feel a part, as I write without reservation. I write down what is inside of my heart, for this is my inspiration.
I was deep into bondage, And the master was me. I sought out destruction, And from this world to be free.
He has given me directions, And a reason to be. I’m blessed with a spirit That’s happy, joyous and free. Now each morning I kneel Thanking Him from my heart. For the salvation He’s given A re-birth, a new start. And each night I look back, And I speak to His Son Saying: Thank you Dear Lord, For another day that is done.
SLOW DANCE Have you ever watched kids On a merry-go-round Or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight Or gazed at the sun into the fading night? You better slow down Don’t dance so fast Time is short The music won’t last. Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask “How are you?” Do you hear the reply? When the day is done, Do you lie in your bed With the next hundred chores running through your head? You’d better slow down Don’t dance so fast Time is short The music won’t last. Ever told your child, We’ll do it tomorrow And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch, Let a good friendship die ‘Cause you never had time To call and say “Hi”? You’d better slow down Don’t dance so fast Time is short The music won’t last. When you run so fast to get somewhere You miss half the fun of getting there. When you worry and hurry through your day, It is like an unopened gift.... Thrown away... Life is not a race. Do take it slower Hear the music Before the song is over.
I seek only the knowledge, Of His divine Will for me. And the power to carry it out, To help others and be free.
Writers! Submit your Poetry to STREETVIBES Streetvibes@juno.com
Against Culture Unfinished Business Will the new advances in technology that herald the new millennium bring with them greater understanding? Did the Microwave oven herald the end of world hunger? Have they found a pill that will uplift the human heart? No, the miracle that always saves mankind is the one described in the miracle of the loaves and fishes from the Bible. In these times when greed is, indeed, not only justified, but celebrated, it is even a greater miracle when people find it in their hearts to share. In those times, we discover that our true wealth is that heart which, when we open it up, we find, is limitless. And our true poverty, is, certainly, our endless clutching at those things which will disappear before our very eyes, those things which, at the time of our last breath, will reveal themselves as being, truly, without substance.
The Bullet I tried to domesticate the bullet, To take her with me to school, To teach her the alphabet And have her speak. But she is made of black clay And stuffed with canned blood. I tried to domesticate the bullet, To take her to the water-spring, To the fields of dew. But she has consumptive lips That love to kiss the lips of death To rummage our wreck And blow ashes in our eyes
by Warren Perkins You are not who you listen to You are more than your issues Your skin color is not who you are You are more than your genes. More than the sum of your parts More than part of a whole Time changes 1/4 and 2/5 have no power Everything is the same 1/4 of something is a whole upon itself You are complete You are more than your race You’re more than your ethnicity You have a ship You are the Captain
Heed the Call by Robert Manassa Hush – Someone’s calling your name If you don’t listen, then who’s to blame? The fault is yours and yours alone. He’s been calling since the day you’ve been born. It’s not the voice of a neighbor or next door It’s the voice you’ve heard before Why won’t you hear? Could it be ‘cause of the word, fear?
Can’t Go Home
KNOW THY SELF Jewel D. Wilks A person who knows not And knows not that they know not Is foolish—disregard them A person who knows not And knows that they know not Is simple—teach them A person who knows not And believes that they know Is dangerous—avoid them A person who knows And know not that they know Is asleep—awaken them A person who knows And knows that they know Is wise—follow them All of these persons reside in you Know Thy Self And to yourself be true.
You don’t have to suffer anymore By now we should know Someone died on the old rugged cross That someone is Jesus He settled the score Heed the Call.
by Mecello Barrar Lord, why am I walking your streets at night? Did you know that homeless days started with a homeless night. Rain pouring down on my head, but where can I go? I know one place where I cannot go, and that’s home for sure. Cause for some reason they wanted me gone. Will tomorrow be a better turn? Cause I can’t go home. This homeless life can’t be true. Whatever happened to my life? How did it ever come to this? Wasn’t poor nor either rich. I be down on my knees just asking the Lord to please give me a place to sleep. People looking at me like I’m dirty because I’m all on the street. Living in boxes and buildings make what I can to feed the children. Wife die 2 years ago. Hard to explain to my baby boy that mama won’t be back No more, And we can’t find a place to call home Can’t find a job And we forced to be gone. Lord, all I ask of you is to open the hearts of all your children. Make them help one another. Stop looking down at my kind, and give just a little change. Before it’s somebody in their lives living this homeless life...
by Jimmy Heath
I tried to domesticate the bullet, To lead her to the truth, To wash her copper with perfumes And replace her gun powder with sweets. But she refused to be unlocked, And remained dripping pus, With poison in her breath. Iraqi poet
Owl in the City, downtown Cincinnati
Surge in Homeless Families Sets Off Debate by Leslie Kaufman In small cities like this one and big ones like Kansas City, Mo. and New York, families are knocking on the doors of homeless shelters in growing numbers. Inside a faded yellow-brick Victorian on a block near downtown here, dozens of families know of the increase firsthand. Behind the front door, the 11 rooms of the Landon House Shelter are packed with homeless parents and their children, often exceeding the 48-bed capacity and requiring the staff to roll out cots. In the communal kitchen, someone is always cooking, and the refrigerator has eight different gallons of milk. Children wander in and out screaming for peanut butter and jelly bars and fruit punch boxes. Behind the house is a courtyard where mothers gather to smoke while the children run in circles. “We are always full,” said Darlene Johnson, executive director of the shelter. “Pretty much bursting out of the seams.” With its rents near record highs and wages stagnant, this wind-swept Plains
city of 60,000 about 60 miles northwest of Minneapolis has seen the number of families requesting shelter climb by 45 percent in the last decade, to an average of 124 families a night. The number of homeless families in Minnesota tripled to 1,341 in 2003 a night from 434 in 1991, when the state first started conducting surveys every three years, and most of the last increase came in rural areas like this one. And Minnesota is not alone. It is hard to count homeless families, because by their very nature they drift from relatives to shelters to friends’ homes. The nationwide count most often cited comes from the Urban Institute, a research group in Washington that surveyed homeless assistance providers in 1996. It found that at least 1.4 million children and 2 million adults were homeless, but that number has surely grown as cities like Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia; St. Louis; and New York have all reported surges at their homeless shelters for the last two or three years. Some experts on homelessness say the numbers are growing because of the widening gap
between low pay and high rents. But others say the federally built homeless shelter system, which helped pay for welcoming surroundings like the Landon House Shelter, has become too attractive for poor families to resist. Federal officials, who do not dispute the national growth in homeless families, say both theories appear to have merit. But they say the lack of consensus on the precise cause makes it hard to deal with the increase. “In places where good data is kept, it is clear that the numbers of homeless families are increasing,” said Phil Mangano, executive director of the White House Interagency Council on Homelessness, the federal agency that coordinates government programs related to the homeless. But a lack of hard research, Mr. Mangano said, has prevented the Bush administration from advocating any solution, even as the government has begun efforts to reduce chronic homelessness among single men. “It is an urgent problem,’’ he said, “but we have
learned that an ad hoc reaction may make it worse.” Family homelessness first emerged as a national problem in the mid-1980’s. After a public outcry over the wretched conditions endured by many such families living in crumbling converted hotels, President Ronald Reagan in 1987 signed the McKinney Act, which gave states money to build emergency shelters and help such families. In the years since, billions in federal dollars have financed an explosion in the number of such shelters. In 2003 alone, the federal government spent $1.3 billion on more than 3,700 local programs that run shelters. Yet the demand for such beds has hardly slaked. Some liberals have expressed concern that these shelters have done little more than hide a shameful epidemic from public view, while conservatives have argued that they have become an expensive magnet for poor families who are unhappy with their living situations and are seeking government help. Yet, almost everyone agrees that the number of families knocking on their doors continues to swell.
Kato, Street Newspaper Vendor (Buenos Aires, Argentina) Kato has been a vendor of Hecho en Beunos Aires for about six months. I’ve been living on the streets for seven years now, after losing my automobile spare parts business, which went under when the system began to punish the pockets of ordinary workers. First, people couldn’t afford cars for going to work and ended up using bikes and then the same worker was in turn replaced by a machine and ended up unemployed or on the streets. No one sells anything to anyone any more. This year there will probably be 15-20% more people on the streets as this present political system is awful. The socio-economic system destroys you as you have nothing basic - no flat, no job, no partner. Last year, I had a partner but the booze - cheap litre boxes of wine - always led to arguments. Drink and drugs do your head in and of course you become violent. The magazine has helped pull me away from booze, which I’ve been drinking since I was very young and left my family. The police used to be dangerous but now they’re better. In the old days they would take you from the plaza and stick you away for 24 hours, to hide you
from the public. Now the dangers on the street vary. In Buenos Aires there are lots of races and attitudes and it’s a place with little prejudice, but there are still problems of marginalization and aggression. People let themselves be sucked in to being excluded as they have no culture that tells them otherwise. The only culture they get is through media but the mass media are leading readers and viewers
towards a kind of cult of ignorance and irresponsibility. What I see is that where there is culture, there is space for people to be accepted. But where it is missing, whether the person in question is a lawyer, doctor or street cleaner, people ignore you completely. Selling the mag is like when I had my own business as it lets me affirm something about myself. You can get a bag of food once a
month- rice, pasta, beans, lentils, oil and nothing else. But to be honest food isn’t the main problem in Buenos Aires. The fast food places throw loads of food away and we collect it. Selling the magazine gives me more than just food and that is important. For more information, email Patricia Merkin at email@example.com.
Iraq Insurgency Larger Than Thought Contrary to U.S. government claims, the insurgency in Iraq is led by well-armed Sunnis angry about losing power, not foreign fighters, and is far larger than previously thought, American military officials say. That number is far larger than the 5,000 guerrillas previously thought to be at the insurgency’s core. And some insurgents are highly specialized - one Baghdad cell, for instance, has two leaders, one assassin, and two groups of bomb-makers. Although U.S. military analysts disagree over the exact size, the insurgency is believed to include dozens of regional cells, often led by tribal sheiks and inspired by Sunni Muslim imams. The developing intelligence picture of the insurgency contrasts with the commonly stated view in the Bush administration that the fighting is fueled by foreign warrior’s intent on creating an Islamic state. “We’re not at the forefront of a jihadist war here,” said a U.S. military official in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity. The military official, who has logged thousands of miles driving around Iraq to meet with insurgents or their representatives, said a skillful Iraqi government could co-opt some of the guerrillas and reconcile with the leaders instead of fighting them. Even as Iraqi leaders wrangle over the contentious issue of offering a broad amnesty to guerrilla fighters, the new Iraqi military and intelligence corps have begun gathering and sharing information on the insurgents with the U.S. military, providing a sharper picture of a complex insurgency. “Nobody knows about Iraqis and all the subtleties in culture, appearance, religion and so forth better than Iraqis themselves,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Daniel Baggio, a military
numbers squared with his spokesman at Multinational Corps headquarters in Baghdad. findings in a study of the insurgency completed in Iraq. “We’re very optimistic about One hint that the number the Iraqis’ use of their own is larger is the sheer volume of human intelligence to help root suspected insurgents - 22,000 out these insurgents.” who have cycled through U.S.The intelligence boost run prisons. Most have been has allowed American pilots to released. And in April alone, bomb suspected insurgent safe U.S. forces killed as many as houses over the past two 4,000 people, the military weeks, with Iraqi Prime official said, including Sunni Minister Iyad Allawi saying insurgents and Iraqis supplied information “Nobody knows about Iraqis Shiite militiamen for at least and all the subtleties in fighting under one of those air strikes. culture, appearance, religion the banner of a radical But the better and so forth better than cleric. view of the Iraqis themselves,” said U.S. Guerrilla insurgency also Army Lt. Col. Daniel Baggio, leaders come from various contradicts a military spokesman at corners of much of the Multinational Corps Saddam’s popular Baath Party, wisdom about headquarters in Baghdad. including it. “We’re very optimistic about lawyers’ the Iraqis’ use of their own groups, Estimates of prominent the insurgents’ human intelligence to help families and manpower root out these insurgents.” especially tend to be too from his low. Last Military Bureau, an internal month, a former coalition security arm used to purge official said 4,000 to 5,000 enemies. They’ve formed Baathists form the core of the dozens of cells. insurgency, with other attacks Most of the insurgents committed by a couple hundred supporters of Jordanian militant are fighting for a bigger role in a secular society, not a TalibanAbu Musab al-Zarqawi and like Islamic state, the military hundreds of other foreign official said. Almost all the fighters. guerrillas are Iraqis, even those Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq analyst with the Center for launching some of the devastating car bombings Strategic and International Studies, said the figure of 5,000 normally blamed on foreigners usually al-Zarqawi. insurgents “was never more The official said many than a wag and is now clearly car bombings bore the ridiculous.” “Part-timers are difficult “tradecraft” of Saddam’s former secret police and were aimed at to count, but almost all insurgent movements depend on intimidating Iraq’s new security services. cadres that are part-time and Many in the U.S. that can blend back into the intelligence community have population,” he said. been making similar points, but U.S. military analysts have encountered political disagree over the size of the opposition from the Bush insurgency, with estimates administration, a State running as high as 20,000 Department official in fighters when part-timers are Washington said, also speaking added. on condition of anonymity. Ahmed Hashim, a Civilian analysts professor at the U.S. Naval War generally agreed, saying U.S. College, said the higher
and Iraqi officials have long overemphasized the roles of foreign fighters and Muslim extremists. Such positions support the Bush administration’s view that the insurgency is linked to the war on terror. A closer examination paints most insurgents as secular Iraqis angry at the presence of U.S. and other foreign troops. Many guerrillas are motivated by Islam in the same way religion motivates American soldiers, who also tend to pray more when they’re at war, the U.S. military official said. He said he met last month with four tribal sheiks from Ramadi who “made very clear” that they had no desire for an Islamic state, even though mosques are used as insurgent sanctuaries and funding centers. “‘We’re not a bunch of Talibans,”’ Anthony Cordesman paraphrased the sheiks as saying. At the orders of Gen. John Abizaid, the U.S. commander of Mideast operations, Army analysts looked closely for evidence that Iraq’s insurgency was adopting extreme Islamist goals, the official said. Analysts learned that ridding Iraq of U.S. troops was the motivator for most insurgents, not the formation of an Islamic state. The officer said Iraq’s insurgents have a big advantage over guerrillas elsewhere: plenty of arms, money, and training. Iraq’s lack of a national identity card system and guerrillas’ refusal to plan attacks by easily intercepted telephone calls - makes them difficult to track. “They have learned a great deal over the last year, and with far more continuity than the rotating U.S. forces and Iraqi security forces,” Cordesman said of the guerrillas. “They have learned to react very quickly and in ways our sensors and standard tactics cannot easily deal with.”
Death Toll of U.S. Forces in Iraq Reaches 900 Last month a roadside bomb exploded north of Baghdad, killing one U.S. 1st Infantry Division soldier and bringing to 900 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the beginning of military operations in March 2003. Major Neal O’Brien of the 1st Infantry Division said
the most recent soldier killed was on patrol in a Bradley fighting vehicle in Duluiyah, 45 miles north of Baghdad, when the bomb detonated shortly after midnight in late July. On the previous day, two U.S. Marines and two U.S. soldiers were killed in action in Anbar Province, a Sunni-
dominated area west of Baghdad. A count by The Associated Press put the number of American soldiers killed since the war began at 900. Counts of the number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq vary, with some already exceeding the 900 figure.
The Pentagon’s latest casualty update, put the death toll at 893 service members, plus two civilian Defense Department employees. There have been five military personnel reported killed since the last Pentagon update.
FRAC News Child Care Subsidies, Poor Families, Face Uncertain Futures (“Child Care, Up in Smoke,” New York Times, July 8, 2004) The TANF reauthorization bill has stalled in Congress and along with it, provisions expanding child care assistance. Currently only 15 percent of eligible children receive federal child care assistance. Without child care help, low-income parents are at greater risk of losing their jobs and returning to welfare. The U.S. House of Representatives proposed only $1 billion in new money for child care in its welfare bill, which would have made the backlog worse by the end of the decade. But U.S. Senator Snowe of Maine got the Senate to raise the figure to $6 billion over the next five years. However, the bill is unlikely to move this year. States have already started dismantling their child care programs due to budget shortfalls and inadequate federal subsidies, turning away eligible children and cutting payments to child care providers. Public’s Opinion on Food Pyramid Sought (U.S. Department of Agriculture, July 2004) U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Venemen announced that the public is invited to comment on the configuration of the new food pyramid, strategies to improve awareness about the food pyramid, methods to help consumers personalize the system, strategies to improve educational messages, interactive tools to illustrate the messages, and communication media for delivering the message. A public meeting is slated for August 19. The food pyramid is being revised along with the Dietary Guidelines. The final release of the new food pyramid and related customer material is set for early 2005. Medicare Calls Obesity an Illness and Opens Door for Coverage (“HHS Announces Revised Medicare Obesity Coverage Policy; Policy Opens Door to coverage Based on Evidence,” U.S. Newswire, July 15, 2004) In a change in Medicare policy, barriers to obtaining Medicare coverage for anti-obesity treatments have been lowered, announced HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson. The new Medicare policy classifies obesity as an illness. By law, Medicare covers “medically necessary services for illness and injury,” and prior policy specifically said obesity was not
an illness. The announcement allows the public to request Medicare to review scientific evidence to determine if a treatment related to obesity could be covered.
program participation had increased 300% in the pilot schools. Approximately 80 percent of teachers reported fewer complaints of hunger from students in the pilot program.
High Gas Prices Hit Poor Workers Hard (“For many lowincome workers, high gasoline prices take a toll,” Motorway News, July 12, 2004) With gas prices averaging $1.89 per gallon nationally, low-income workers are particularly feeling the effect. Poor workers often live farther from new jobs due to the location of affordable housing, have little access to public transit, and drive older, less fuel-efficient cars. Denise Quenneville drives 30 miles each way to earn $7 an hour, but must spend $23 in gas every two days to get there. For the working poor like Quenneville, the gas price hike amounts to “a palpable pay cut.”
South Carolina: Church and State Link Raises Concern (“Government, churches work together,” Charleston Post and Courier, July 13, 2004) The government is recruiting churches for the fight against hunger in South Carolina. The state’s Department of Social Services (DSS), which administers the state’s food stamp program, established a Faith-Based and Community Initiatives office last year to enlist more churches to open food pantries and afterschool snack programs, or provide transportation to welfareto-work participants. DSS has turned to churches because budget cuts have left the agency with too few social workers. The Low Country Food Bank receives some of its food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and distributes food to scores of churches. In turn, the churches often offer spiritual guidance. Critics are concerned about linking services and religious messages and say government should not cut funds to trained social service professionals.
Summer Camps Offering Healthier Menus (“Kids’ summer camps clean up menus,” The State, July 12, 2004) Meals are getting healthier at summer camps. “Honestly, it’s better than the food I get at home,” said 15year old camper Gabe Wolff as he dug into a salad. Camps are responding to pressure from parents and public health officials who are concerned about childhood obesity. “Ten years ago a camp with a salad bar was an anomaly. Today it’s really the norm,” said Jeffrey Solomon, executive director of the National Camp Association. The move toward healthier menus helps camps stay competitive. As many as one quarter of campers demand vegetarian options. Camp counselors see a difference when children consume less sugar and caffeine. New York: School Breakfast Participation Up 300% in Pilot Program (“Academics & Breakfast Connection Pilot: Interim Report on New York’s Classroom Breakfast Project,” Nutrition Consortium of New York State, June 2004) A pilot program that serves free breakfast to children in their classrooms has been found to increase participation in the School Breakfast Program, and decrease student absenteeism, tardiness, visits to the school nurse, and disciplinary referrals. The Academics & Breakfast Connection Pilot (ABC) program was implemented at the beginning of the 2003-2004 school year in 19 schools in upstate New York by the Nutrition Consortium of New York State. The interim report on ABC found breakfast
Minnesota: Economic Recovery not Affecting Growing Food Lines (“No summer vacation for hunger in Minnesota,” Workday Minnesota, July 13, 2004) Sue Kainz, a top official of Minnesota FoodShare, says that despite the claims of a growing economy, food shelf usage is still increasing around the state, mainly in suburban areas. Many working families with children are having a tougher time making ends meet, contributing to a fifteen percent increase over last year’s shelf usage. The demand is intensified during the summer because school breakfast and lunch programs are not available. Kainz remarks the end of school causes children to lose their “food safety nets.” San Francisco: Restaurants Accept Food Stamps (“Restaurants on food-stamp menu,” Sacramento Bee, July 4, 2004) Elderly and disabled food stamp participants who are unable to cook for themselves may now use their Electronic Benefits Cards (EBT) at participating eateries in the San Francisco restaurant meal program. In one recent month, San Francisco restaurants had 11,000 foodstamp transactions totaling roughly $58,000 in federal
benefits. The program is the first of its kind in California, which now joins 18 other states with restaurant programs for seniors, disabled or homeless persons. Food stamp advocates support the program but also have concerns. “We’d hope you’d be able to get culturally appropriate foods,” said George ManaloLeClair, legislative director at California Food Policy Advocates. He also worries that, if people see food stamps used at fast-food eateries, it would reinforce a misconception that food stamp recipients are buying junk food. Rhode Island: Summer Food Demand Outstripping Food Bank’s Supply (“Low in the food chain,” Providence Journal, July 7, 2004) “We’re running out of food,” says Bernie Beaudreau, executive director of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, which distributes food to 435 member agencies across the state. The Food Bank hit a record the past year, giving out 7.9 million pounds of food, an increase of 1 million pounds over the previous year. “I’m tired of eating cat food,” said one elderly man who asked for assistance at a food bank in Olneyville. The food shortage is partly caused by reduced donations from large supermarket chains. Working Poor Emerge as New Class (“Inside Story: America’s New Class,” Times Record News, June 27, 2004) A new class of American workers is emerging — what economists call the “working poor.” For the working poor, expenses caused by illness or a car repair can leave nothing to buy food, even with a full-time job. People are working more, but higher-paying jobs have been cut due to a poor economy. The expected new jobs are mostly low-paying. In Texas, one in two children live in or on the edge of poverty. They are not “poor like you see in the movies,” because they have electricity, water and food. But they may have gone without them the month before or the food may have come from a food bank. To subscribe to the weekly FRAC News Digest go to: http:/ /capwiz.com/frac/mlm/ For questions, comments, and news tips, please contact: Helen Yuen Food Research and Action Center 1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 540 Washington, DC 20009 (202) 986-2200 x3019 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mass. Elderly Homeless Rate Jumps by Samuel J. Scott, BIGnews The number of elderly homeless people in the state has increased by 9 percent over the past four years, according to a study conducted by the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA). The survey, which was conducted in February and released recently, found 1,077 elderly people living in emergency shelters, transitional housing and hospitals throughout Massachusetts. A 2000 study counted 938 people. “We need to expend every effort to ensure that no one’s ‘golden years’ have to be spent within the dependence and
impoverishment of a homeless shelter,” said MHSA Executive Director Joe Finn in a statement. “The models to appropriately house these homeless elders exist. Let’s just do what it will take to make it happen.” MHSA’s survey found that 775, or 72 percent, of the homeless elders in Massachusetts live in the Greater Boston area. In addition, 38 percent of the elders counted in the survey are veterans; 7 percent were older than 70; 17 percent were women; 64 percent had a physical disability; and 51 percent suffered from a mental illness or disability. Je’Lesia Jones, a
Politics vs. People by R.V. Murphy The two Americas that political pundits talk about both converged on downtown Seattle July 19-21. The National Governors Association held its annual meeting at the Westin Hotel. Corporate sponsors such as Microsoft, Nextel and Armgen picked up the $150,000 tab for the three-day event. Another America that included disabled and elderly people searching for better health care, political advocates, labor leaders, the homeless and the disenfranchised were meeting only a few blocks away at Westlake Park and Steinbrueck Park. Inside the Westin, speakers included former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Homeland Security head Tom Ridge. Those outside could hear Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, one of the few Congressmen to vote against the US invasion of Iraq, The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees’ Gerald McEntee, and John Boonstra of the Washington Association of Churches. On Friday night, interested parties could cough up $5,000 to share a steak dinner with six Republican governors at the El Gaucho. On Saturday morning, about 100 young people, some not even in college yet, gathered at Seattle Central Community College and marched down Capitol Hill to Westlake Park. Thirteen Seattle police escorted them on motorcycles, making a ratio of about one cop for every nine marchers. “We heard about [this march] on the Internet,” said one recent high school graduate, who didn’t want to give his name. “With what’s going on in Iraq, young people have to become
spokesperson for the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA), said “the report is disturbing because the elderly are our most vulnerable people.” “We are dismayed that homelessness is on the rise among the elderly,” she added. Jones said the reported increase came during a time when the state legislature had cut an EOEA program that helped find elderly people places to live. “Governor Romney requested full funding of the Elder Residential Assessment and Placement Program [for this fiscal year], but the state legislature refused his request,” said Jones.
However, Charles Rasmussen, a spokesperson for House of Representatives Speaker Thomas Finneran, dismissed the charge. “I think it’s somewhat shortsighted to put all the blame on us like that because of a cut to one program,” he said. “We can’t spend money we don’t have.” In addition, Finneran is working on improving the economy and the availability of housing in Massachusetts, according to Rasmussen. Despite the budget cut, however, EOEA is still doing what it can to help homeless elderly people, according to Jones. “We will certainly do everything we can to come to their aid,” she said.
The National Governors Association Annual Meeting
active.” show his support). Those students joined The NGA Convention isn’t about 2,000 other activists at open to the public. Seattle Police Westlake Park. That group blanketed the block around the marched another half-mile, with Westin all weekend and all whoops, hollers and chants as marchers moved through preset they circled routes. NGA behind the spokesperson There was a large sign, Westin Hotel Christine on 6th LaPaille told “Billionaires for Bush, the best Avenue. The the Portlandparade based website president money can buy.” included indymedia.org dozens of that “NGA Another young lady dressed as events are AFSCME members in closed to the bright green t- if she were dining at Bill public because shirts, antiof security Gates’ private reception later George Bush concerns and signs almost because the that day held a sign reading, two numerous association is to count, and a private “Corporations are People assorted other organization colorful Too.” As she walked along she that exists to costumes. advocate Some exclaimed, “I’m a corporation. policy of the positions.” marchers’ While the Thank you for paying all my observations NGA admits dripped with other media, income tax.” irony. There Real Change was a large was turned sign, “Billionaires for Bush, the down for a press pass because it best president money can buy.” is an “advocacy newspaper” in Another young lady dressed as if the words of NGA press secretary she were dining at Bill Gates’ Jason Feuchtwanger. private reception later that day Organizations like indymedia held a sign reading, question the influence corporate “Corporations are People Too.” sponsors like Microsoft and As she walked along she Starbucks CEO Orin Smith, one exclaimed, “I’m a corporation. of the featured speakers, have Thank you for paying all my over the governors. income tax.” After the march, the scene The refrain of “Put People at Westlake was reminiscent of a First” (which happened to be the high school pep rally the night event’s sponsor) was often heard before the big game — though and pleas for a governor, any the “big game,” for many, will be governor, to come meet with the the November election. marchers went unheeded. (On Delivering the mantra that the Sunday, there was a breakthrough average person’s voice counts, in that regard as Pennsylvania Kucinich exclaimed, “You’re the governor Edward Rendell came state, you make it real. You make out to meet with members of it feel. You’re the people that Americans Disabled for Attendant build the roads.” Almost on cue, Program Today (ADAPT) and two people arrived wearing
George Bush and Dick Cheney masks, wearing prison uniforms and a ball and chain attached to their feet. At times like this, the governors located just a few blocks away were practically forgotten. “I came down here looking for some literature on how to get rid of Bush,” said Joanne Brown, a Seattle resident. “I was looking for some literature about what’s really going on. Not what the media portrays.” In 1991, when the first George Bush was in office, Brown had two jobs including one as a hostess in a Smith Tower restaurant. Until recently, she’d been homeless. She has grown to be highly skeptical of those in power. “Bush said that Iraq wasn’t going to be another Viet Nam,” she said, holding a sign that read “Bush Must Go.” “I never thought it would be until he said it. She said she plans to become more politically active. After the Westlake affair began to wind down, about 400 members of ADAPT, many in wheelchairs, headed to Steinbrueck Park for a rally. ADAPT was lobbying for governors to sign a resolution favoring home care for the disabled and elderly rather than forced institutionalization. Some ADAPT members camped across the street from the Westin on Sunday and others blocked the street with chants for the governors to sign their resolution. On Saturday night, the 30odd governors who came to this year’s convention attended a private reception at Bill and Melinda Gates’ home, culminating in a moonlight boat ride on Lake Washington. Reprinted from the July 22, 2004 edition of Real Change, Seattle, WA.
TREATMENT: Both N.A. Hopeline 820-2947 A.A. Hotline 351-0422 C.C.A.T. 381-6672 Talbert House 684-7956 Transitions, Inc 859-491-4435 VA Domiciliary 859-559-5011 DIC Live-In Program 721-0643
TREATMENT: Men Charlie’s 3/4 House 784-1853 Prospect House 921-1613 Starting Over 961-2256
TREATMENT: Women First Step Home 961-4663 Full Circle Program 721-0643
HOUSING: CMHA 721-4580 Excel Development 632-7149 Miami Purchase 241-0504 OTR Housing Net. 369-0004 ReSTOC 381-1171 Tender Mercies 721-8666 Tom Geiger House 961-4555 Dana Transitional Bridge Services, Inc 751-9797
Caracole (AIDS) 761-1480 Friars Club 381-5432 Drop Inn Center 721-0643 Haven House 863-8866 Interfaith Hospitality 471-1100 Lighthouse Youth Center (Teens) 961-4080 St. John’s Housing 651-6446
Need Help or Want to Help? If you need help or would like to help please call one of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless members listed below. SHELTERS: Women and Children YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter 872-9259 (Toll Free) 1-888-872-9259 Bethany House 557-2873 Salvation Army 762-5660 Welcome Hse. 859-431-8717 Women’s Crisis Center 859-491-3335
SHELTER: Men City Gospel Mission 241-5525 Garden St. House 241-0490 Joseph House (Veterans) 241-2965 St. Francis/St.Joseph House 381-4941 Mt. Airy Center 661-4620 Volunteers of Amer. 381-1954 SHELTER: Both Anthony House (Youth)
Formed in 1984, The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless is a membership organization. Our member groups serve the homeless through emergency shelter, transitional living facilities, permanent housing, medical services, social services, soup kitchens, and mental health/addiction services. The Coalition also consists of individual citizens who want to take an active role in ensuring that Cincinnati is an inclusive community, meeting the needs of all of its citizens. Join the fight to end homelessness; contact the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless at (513) 421-7803, 117 East 12th Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
OTHER SERVICES: AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati 421-2437 Appalachian Identity Center 621-5991 Beech Acres 231-6630 Center for Independent Living Options 241-2600 Churches Active in Northside 591-2246 Cincinnati Health Network 961-0600 Community Action Agency 569-1840 381-4242 241-2563 Contact Center Emanuel Center
Freestore/ Foodbank 241-1064 Fransiscan Haircuts 651-6468 Goodwill Industries 771-4800 Coalition for the Homeless 421-7803 Hamilton Co. Mental Health Board 946-8600 Mental Health Access Point 558-8888 Hamilton Co. TB Control 632-7186 Health Rsrc. Center 357-4602 Homeless Mobile Health Van 352-2902 House of Refuge Mission 221-5491 Legal Aid Society 241-9400 Madisonville Ed. & Assis. Center 271-5501 Mary Magdalen House 721-4811 McMicken Dental Clinic 352-6363 Our Daily Bread 621-6364 Peaslee Neighborhood Center 621-5514 Project Connect Homeless Kids 357-5720 St. Vincent De Paul 562-8841 The Emergency Food Center 471-4357 Travelers Aid 721-7660 United Way 721-7900 VA Homeless 859-572-6226 Women Helping Women 872-9259 MIDDLETOWN/HAMILTON (Butler County) St. Raphaels (Food Bank/Soup Kitchen) 863-3184 Salvation Army 863-1445 Serenity House Day Center 422-8555 Open Door Pantry 868-3276 New Life Baptist Mission (Soup Kitchen) 896-9800 Hope House (Homeless Families/Singles) 423-4673
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