Streetvibes February 2004
Homeless Men receive Settlement from City Of Covington by Jimmy Heath Three men met last month near the Covington riverfront levy, close to the Ohio River bank campsite they once called home. Present were their attorneys, Robert Newman and Covington lawyer Linda A. Smith. The men were among eight who sued in U.S. District Court in Covington after city workers removed their riverfront camps in April of 2002. A lawsuit was filed in federal court in May 2002 alleging the city of Covington violated the due process rights of the individuals who lost their personal property. Homeless advocates said most of the 30 men living on the riverbank were away at work when the Covington city workers removed their belongings from city property without notice. During a “sweep” of homeless camps, Covington city workers removed and destroyed property of individuals who at the time considered the Ohio River bank their home. Items such as sleeping bags, medication, tents and clothing were taken. One of the men lost a litter of kittens and
family photographs. No notice was given to the homeless residents and their property was not held but thrown away. City officials, including Covington Mayor Butch Callery, described the riverfront camps as a “health hazard and an eyesore.” City crews were ordered to remove any objects that looked like housing or bedding. In June of 2002, hundreds of people, including advocates from the National Coalition for the Homeless, and the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless assembled for a Homeless Rally and March to Covington City Hall to support the claimants and to draw attention to the plight of the homeless. The march was organized by the individuals who lived on the riverbanks, the National Civil Rights Organizing Project and Northern Kentucky service providers and advocates. In late December of 2003, the City of Covington decided to settle with the claimants and on January 23rd, at the site of the injustice, the homeless campers received their settlement checks.
Philip Folk, attorney Robert Newman, Delbert Thompson, Charles Singleton and attorney Linda Smith gather at riverfront campsite for press conference. Claimants Folk, Thompson and Singleton each received a check for $1,000. Each of the men received $1,000 checks, handed out by attorney Robert Newman, against the backdrop of the Ohio River where the campers once made their home. They will receive another $1,000 each later from attorneys’ fees. “There’s now a nationwide precedent that cities cannot take the property of homeless people
without notice and destroy it,” said Cincinnati civil-rights attorney Bob Newman, during a press conference at the riverfront site. “It’s a fair warning I think, to Covington and any other city that homeless people are human beings just like everybody else and they have the same constitutional rights as a homeowner, so we’re very happy about that.”
Annabelle and Carrie Johnson organizations and projects in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, including serving as Board President for Peaslee Neighborhood Center, and serving on the Over-the-Rhine Community Council. Carrie and Annabelle have found a personal way to stay involved through the long haul, not letting hard times deter their vision and dream for a just world. It is their willingness to listen to each other and hear the challenges that brings out their collective wisdom. They are a team of freedom seekers.
Other 2004 Keep the Dream Alive Honorees included, Bennett J. Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Community Health Board, Cincinnati City Council Member David Crowley, Kameron Franklin, student and volunteer, Darlene Hicks of Unity House, Nanci J. Mays, student and volunteer, Joseph and Susan J. Pichler, volunteers and advisors, Rev. Dr. Michael and Monica J. Posey, pastor and educators, and Rev. James Shappelle, pastor of Mother of Christ Church.
Keeping the Dream Alive In They have both been very Cincinnati active in the neighborhood and they continue to be advocates for basic human rights for all citizens. They have lived in the community for a long time and are well respected. While Carrie goes out in public, attending meetings and speaking for various neighborhood issues, her sister Annabelle is behind the scenes making it all possible. Carrie Johnson is a tireless volunteer for various Jimmy Heath photos
St. Mark Catholic Church held the third annual “Martin Luther King-Keep the Dream Alive Celebration.” on Monday, January 19th, to honor several Cincinnatians who work for peace through example and the spirit of their daily lives. This year’s honorees included Carrie and Annabelle Johnson, two sisters who live and work in Over-theRhine.
Father Paul Marshall, SM, of the University of Dayton, speaks about the spirit and life of Martin Luther King Jr.
Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless
STREETVIBES The Tri-State's Homeless Grapevine
Streetvibes, the Tri-State'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 Brendan Goodwin - Administrative Coordinator Andy Erickson - Education Coordinator Elizabeth Linville - Civil Rights Coordinator Mary Gaffney - Receptionist
Streetvibes Jimmy Heath - Editor Design & Layout Photographers Jimmy Heath, Berta Lambert
Cover Attorney Robert Newman hands out settlement check to riverfront campers... photo by Jimmy Heath 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: firstname.lastname@example.org web: http://homeless.cinci.com
A New Year’s Challenge to a City by Jimmy Heath, Streetvibes Editor the mess that is caused by all of this Cincinnati continues to be a insanity. City Council produces scary place for African-Americans dog-and-pony shows for the press. and the poor. Outraged citizens and terrified Last month, Martin Luther community residents continue to King Jr. would have been 75 years cry out for something to be done. old. I wonder what he would have Some community leaders to say about current affairs in hope that finding jobs and more Cincinnati, or how things would be constructive alternatives for some different if he were still alive. The of these young men will help solve words of Dr. Martin Luther King the problems. But the lure of the continue to be prophetic. Sadly, drug trade is powerful. It pulls not much has changed for the better. While King busily toured the country trying to spread his message of hope to poor communities, the most danger he faced was not in the Deep South, but in northern cities. In later conversations King admitted that he felt real Speaking out for justice can be a lonely thing danger in Chicago during one of his visits; there was these young men out of high more anger and hatred in the north school, and out of mainstream than he had ever faced in the Deep society and into jail or death. South. There are no imaginative outlets Cincinnati’s first homicide for these young men on the street of 2004 happened in the middle of corners. We need social forces in Liberty Street in Over-the-Rhine in place, and education as part of the broad daylight, in front of dozens civil rights movement. of witnesses. Somebody finally A study of the effectiveness stepped-up and identified the of Ohio public schools ranked Ohio shooter and an arrest was made. 33rd of 37 states and Washington The unacceptable state of our DC in the percentage of Africancommunity and other poor Americans who graduate. Only neighborhoods in Cincinnati says half of Ohio’s African-American something about the general public high school students condition of our society. There is graduate, while 82 percent of white something horrible going on when students graduate. Is there a murders become routine in certain relation to the drug-dealing culture neighborhoods. and these high drop out rates? The police say that over In 2003, 10 of the city’s 75 90% of the city’s homicides are homicides occurred in Over-thedrug related. Yet we continue to Rhine. In 2003, Cincinnati see the dope boys occupy our recorded its most deadly year since street corners with impunity. There 1977. 2003 was the fifth straight are dozens of so-called drug year that the city’s homicide total dealing hot-spots in OTR and other increased. The 75 murders in 2003 places in the city; everyone knows marked a 12 percent increase over where they are but the police say 2002’s 66 killings. The 75 deaths they are powerless in doing much nearly spoiled the decade’s long about it. As a resident, I feel record for homicides in Cincinnati. powerless too. In reaction to 2004’s first White people continue to homicide, some members of drive down my street in Over-theCincinnati City Council proposed Rhine, buying dope from the open more money be funneled to an antiair drug market on the corner. gang task force and a gun violence There is a perception among white education program at Children’s suburbanite drug users that OverHospital in an effort to try to curb the-Rhine is the place to buy drugs. black-on-black crime and create Black men continue to kill more community policing. City each other over drug thefts and Council was divided by racial lines territorial disputes. The police over the ensuing debate. Africanarrive with note pads, body bags American members of council and crime scene tape to clean up made the proposal, which was
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
From the Editor
eventually shelved. In Cincinnati, low-income neighborhood residents are among the least likely to vote. Most feel frustrated by the process, and the choices. Most Cincinnatians in general, just don’t care. A recent survey of 300 registered city voters revealed that citizens aren’t sure how to fix things. And 63 percent of voters said the city is “on the wrong track.” What do all of these statistics mean? Martin Luther King addressed the fundamentals of human devotion as a path to social, economic and relational success. As a society, we place value on certain people, those that produce, or are of the right color, or act a certain way. As a civilized society, you would think that we could do things better. We are great toolmakers, surrounding our lives with technology, yet we still haven’t figured out the simple act of getting along. We don’t always recognize the value of life in our neighbors. We don’t respect strangers. We don’t have much regard for poor children attending public schools. 40% of black children live at the poverty level; almost the same as 50 years ago. Our ability to have a conscience, a memory and the capacity to love is routinely disregarded in our modern culture over the value of stuff and our own domains. The root of criminal behavior, the low-priority given to low-income children, and the disregarding of whole neighborhoods, is our failure to focus on humanity in all our endeavors. These problems will not be solved without a human transformation - a human revolution. Education is our best hope. “Everything which is distinctly human is learned.” Genuine human community transcends all borders. It is an allembracing citizenship of people capable of creating value on a huge scale. Do we as a city have the wisdom to perceive the interconnectedness of all life and living things; courage not to fear but to respect differences and strive to learn from people of different cultures? What does it really mean when we say we want to clean up a neighborhood? What would Martin Luther King say?
Homeless News Digest
by R.V. Murphy Chicago panhandlers can receive as much as $400 thanks to a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 5,000 panhandlers who claimed their civil rights had been violated when they were arrested or ticketed while politely asking for money, according to the Chicago Tribune. The case, filed in federal court in 2001 and decided five days before Christmas, focused on a local disorderly conduct law that let police arrest people on public streets for drunkenness, lewdness, and panhandling. If arrested the person could be fined up to $500. “Having a blanket prohibition like that isn’t legal,” says Mark Weinberg, one of the attorneys representing the panhandlers. “You can ask for help across the street, you can ask for the time, but if you asked me for a dollar the city could throw you in jail.” Federal magistrate Jan Nolan approved a settlement that calls for Chicago to pay $99,000 in damages. The city, which admits no wrongdoing, will also pay $375,000 to cover attorney fees and the cost of distributing the money. Not all panhandlers qualify; people who were cited or arrested only for panhandling — and not other violations — are eligible. In
addition, Chicago officials revoked the panhandling ordinance last year; a spokesman was quoted as saying that “the lawsuit helped us realize that [the ordinance] was too broad and wasn’t going to be accepted legally.” There are more than 146,000 people on waiting lists for public housing in New York City and one of the largest homeless populations in the country. Therefore housing advocates are outraged at a new report from Assemblyman Scott Stringer (D-Manhattan), which shows there are more than 5,000 publicly owned apartments in New York standing vacant. According to the New York City Housing Authority, many of the vacant apartments are in buildings slated for repair. The city’s Housing Authority says it’s easier to renovate apartments when the buildings are vacant. A News 12 Report (http://tinyurl.com/2gzfd) says the average wait for public housing in the city is eight years. In the Bronx alone, there are over 1,000 publicly owned units vacant. Six police officers in Apopka, Florida, face charges for firing pepper balls into a homeless camp, according to Local6.com. An internal investigation completed last week
showed the officers had violated a number of department regulations in the September incident at the camp. Former Apopka Officer Brian Davis, who is now an Orange County deputy sheriff, reportedly revealed the incident while applying for his current job. No transients in the camp were injured. Punishment for the officers has not been announced. A makeshift homeless encampment with tents made of blankets has been targeted by the city of Pittsburgh, according to PittsburghChannel.com (http://thepittsburghchannel.com/ news). City crews are posting warnings this week telling the six people living under the Roberto Clemente Bridge that they have a week to remove their belongings before the city does it for them, says Public Works Director Guy Costa. The encampment was removed in November but the occupants moved back. Under terms of a settlement in a lawsuit brought on behalf of the homeless people, the city must give seven days’ notice before clearing away an encampment, to give occupants time to move, and must store any personal belongings rather than discarding them. The bridge is a main thoroughfare to the new baseball stadium and is named for Roberto Clemente, Hall of Fame outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clemente died on Jan. 1, 1973, in the crash of a cargo plane carrying relief supplies to those left homeless by an earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua.
Some Irreverent Thoughts On Religion by Gray Dog I hear on the radio that, in Alabama, which is fiftieth of fifty states in spending on health care for prisoners, lets prisoners die of treatable cancers and other diseases because the private health care corporation in charge of prison health care wants to keep costs down. The story interviewed a man who was sentenced to two years, developed a cancer that was never diagnosed until too late, then was released. He’s now getting treatment, but he has only a thirty percent chance to live. He would have had pretty good odds if the prison doctors had diagnosed it and if they had allowed the treatments. But now he has a one in three chance to live. Pull a B&E in Alabama, you could get a death sentence. This is the same state, Alabama, where half the population is bothered by the very expensive removal of a very expensive set of stone Ten Commandments from the
lobby of the state courthouse. The Ten commandments, for those of you who are heathens, is God’s list of things one should (or shalt) do or not do. These include the ever popular Thou Shalt Not Kill. Am I missing something here?
philosopher. His answer, “Jesus Christ.” Makes sense. Jesus was famous for his preventive strike doctrine and for favoring tax breaks for the rich. His friends were the wealthy and powerful and he taught that “the spin shall make you free.”
What would Jesus do? What would Jesus wear? How would Jesus vote? What would Jesus drive? (Okay, I think we know.) Who would Jesus kill? All the bad guys, or just the really bad ones? How would Jesus handle an aggressive panhandler? Where would Jesus hang out? Where would Jesus send his kids to school? Would he send them to a Christian academy?
Another American who seemed to have taken Jesus as his favorite political philosopher was Martin Luther King, Jr., who spoke of how his commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ “led him to take a stand, not just on civil rights, but on poverty, and on war. True compassion,” he said in 1967, “is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard. And superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”
During his election campaign, someone asked George Bush for his favorite political
Jesus was the First Republican? Jesus was the First Radical? Take your pick.
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
Thank You! by Robert Manassa I’m writing to say thanks to all of the many patrons who purchase Streetvibes from me. I can’t really find enough words to express my gratitude to you all. Each time I see the smiling faces coming toward me I can’t help but try to hold onto my emotions. I’m filled with lots of elation. Some of you may not take the time to talk to me, the reason for your hesitation I can’t figure. That’s not an issue with me. Each month I try, with all that’s inside of me, to compose the poems of my heart and soul. You may or may not feel me, but believe me, it’s something I know is true. The things I write about are from experiences I had in life. I hope I am an inspiration to you. I hope to reach some of you. I know I won’t reach all, though I want to. Keep on being the faithful patrons that you are. Again, I say thank you!
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. Dante It is penance to work, to give oneself to others, to endure the pinpricks of community living. Dorothy Day
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Myths breed neglect, violence against Cincinnati’s homeless by Andy Erickson should be allowed to live under get themselves out of an Education Coordinator bridges. Respondents were asked unexpected situation. Sue was in her sixties and to leave comments. These same myths also was a nurse for many years. A Many of the comments discount the many homeless few months ago she unexpectedly said things like, “They are bums children in our city. No one likes lost her job and became homeless who chose not to get an education to think of a child going as a result. She fought hard and and got involved with drugs, homeless. Therefore, many of us eventually obtained housing. alcohol or crime When I spoke to her recently, instead. Society The proportion of women and children in the homeless population today is larger than it has however, she was once again in owes them danger of becoming homeless due nothing,” and been since the Civil War era. A recent article to a job loss. She was crying “They are not in USA Today reported that families now make when she said, “I just want to ‘down on their up 41% of the homeless population in the US. have a place where my kids can luck.’ That In Cincinnati, children make up one third of come visit me.” would imply our homeless population. Despite facts like People often have an that these these, many of our housed Cincinnatians image of the homeless as “bag people worked firmly believe the myths they hear about the ladies” or “drunken bums.” But hard in life and homeless... the majority of our homeless that fate dealt citizens are like Sue, living in them tragedy… shelters or on the streets because the homeless got exactly what don’t. To admit that children are of rising housing costs, job loss, they deserved.” homeless and hungry is to admit and other economic problems. There are many comments that we have homeless people The proportion of women like this, and you can view them who need help and care from the and children in the all at http:// rest of us. The sad fact is that www.wcpo.com/ homeless population there are 8,000 children in news/2003/local/ Cincinnati who will experience today is larger than it 07/17/ has been since the Civil homelessness at some point homeless.html War era. A recent during the year. Not one of the Myths like angry comments on Channel 9’s article in USA Today the ones quoted reported that families poll even mentioned them. above serve a now make up 41% of While many people use function. If we the homeless stereotypes to justify neglect of believe that the population in the US. homeless people, others go even homeless don’t In Cincinnati, children further, using them as justification Andy Erickson deserve help (or make up one third of for hate speech or physical that they are our homeless violence. A disturbing number of beyond help), it makes it easy for population. Despite facts like comments on the Channel 9 us to ignore the men, women, and website suggested that the these, many of our housed children who are experiencing Cincinnatians firmly believe the homeless be “locked up” or homelessness in our city. We can “forced to leave town.” One myths they hear about the write them off as undeserving and person said we should “make it homeless. forget about them. Of course, in An online poll conducted illegal for them to vote.” Another order to do this, we have to by Channel 9 in August 2003 even casually stated, “Toss the discount the many people like asked people to state whether or bums in the river for all I care, as not they thought homeless people Sue, who work hard every day to long as it will improve the city
visually.” At the height of the issue over the bridge encampments, when this poll was conducted, homeless people in Cincinnati frequently became victims of hate crimes and physical violence. Some were pelted with rocks, bottles, or eggs while they slept. Others’ belongings were stolen or destroyed. Some people’s camps were even set on fire. Nationally, hate crimes like these have been growing in numbers. Over the past four years, there have been 212 documented hate crimes against homeless people, 123 of which resulted in death. We need to abandon the harmful myths that we spread when we talk about homeless people. We at least owe that to the homeless children in our community, to the victims of hate crimes, and to people like Sue who have worked so hard to get out of their situation. We need to recognize that homelessness affects thousands of people every year in this city, and that harmful speech can only make matters worse.
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S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
Can You Force The Homeless Into Shelters? by Judy Newkirk The weather is bitter cold today and most people are warm inside shelter. Not Mike. He’s been sleeping in a sleeping bag on Calhoun Street in Clifton for two years now under the protection of a slight overhang in front of the Indian Krishna Restaurant. They give him a free meal every day, I’m told. I’m not sure. It’s hearsay from a couple of welldressed men down the street about a block away who told me also, “Not to worry. He’s happy there so leave him alone.” So I leave him alone, give him a dollar, tell him not to freeze to death because I care about him, and go on my way. Oh, I did get him to promise me that he would go with social workers should he feel really sick. They’ve been there before to talk to him, Psychiatric Mobile Crisis Unit, CRI’s PATH people and I got the report back from them that there’s no way to force Mike into shelter – something about Ohio’s Revised Code and that City Council vacillates on the issue. Do you suppose that maybe Mike ought to sue over the issue of neglect? Does anybody really talk to him much? One day about a month ago I did just that. Out of curiosity I asked Mike where he came from. Aliens, he said. He comes from Russia, his commanding officer is coming back, he works for the Feds, he
Maybe that’s why I leave him works for the Butler County alone. Relatively speaking, he Sheriff’s department as an seems pretty cool with himself undercover cop. He once had a house in Oakley, worked on a job when he crawls out from under his tent and hobbles toward where he had to be alone a lot, Arby’s for coffee. grew up in foster care and has Well, I told you how I been in Rollman’s when it was a talked to Mike, listened to his psychiatric hospital where the talks, and that day, a few weeks doctors told him it was a DNA ago, thought he was willing to go problem. I got all this while into shelter. I waited for two sitting with him at Arby’s on hours for the CRI, PATH people Calhoun where he drank enough coffee with enough sugar packets to show up. They never did even though the two policemen who and smoked enough cigarettes to cause brain damage. “Stop aggravating me, lady! I like However the snow,” he replied....I left to go Mike is not home, where my concern caused a stupid. He wanted to be big argument with a friend who had warm. He lived in his own van after his asked me if I business failed. new of a place where they would leave him alone enough to came into Arby’s called them for me on their cell phone. It was enjoy nature. He loves the snow. He doesn’t like cults. He doesn’t voice mail. The only thing I got accomplished, according to want missionaries after him. Well, I don’t either. I’m a Mike’s next report, was to get him humanist. Mike shouldn’t have to shooed off a busy traffic area. Police had told him to leave listen to a sermon to get a free Krishna. I happened to drive by meal, to get clean clothes and a and view him in a doorway shower, possibly a shave and a haircut, to get the dirt cleaned out around the corner across the street from under his findernails, to live from Inn the Wood restaurant. It was the holiday season and no in an atmosphere where al least one was working on a phone line. there’s more mental stimulation It was raining and cold. than all day dead in a sleeping “Get in the car, Mike,” I bag. He shouldn’t be coerced to said, “I’m taking you down to the take drugs that might turn him Drop Inn Center.” into a zombie existence or even “Stop aggravating me, cause further brain damage.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction. Albert Einstein
Know Your Rights Brochure Available! The Know Your Rights Brochure is now available at the Coalition’s office. The brochure is a legal guide for Cincinnati’s homeless and covers a person’s basic rights when interacting with the police, as well as some local laws that might be of interest to the homeless population. If you are a homeless person or if you work with homeless people and would like to obtain free copies of the brochure for yourself or your agency, please call 421-7803, or stop by the Coalition office and pick one up.
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
lady. I like the snow,” he replied. I left to go home, where my concern caused a big argument with a friend who had lived in his own van after his business failed. He was there for a long time, even in the dead of Ohio’s winter. My friend did have a heater that would at least allow him to get to sleep until about two in the morning when he would wake up and shiver his body for enough warmth to get back to sleep. Mike has a sense of humor and is not threat to outsider. One time after the holidays when I gave him change, he asked if the red mark on my right cheek had been caused by someone hitting me with a snowball after they refused to get into my car. Yesterday, when I walked past Krishna, Mike was up and talking about Elliott Ness, the Untouchables, and I just walked away like everybody else does. But I wonder. Did socalled parents sit him down in front of the television set for long hours without speaking to him about what he’s viewing? I’ve seen it in a child when I volunteered for a very short time at LaBlonde Boys and Girls Club – the ability to get into a fantasy world and the ability to live totally in another dimension that is not the norm in our society. I think Mike needs psychoanalysis but he’ll never get it. It’s for the rich to make them even more powerful.
National Homeless Civil Rights Organizing Project (NHCROP)
117 East 12th Street Cincinnati, OH 45202 email@example.com Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless (513) 421-7803
Help build a powerful, resident led organization! The Republic Street & Vine Street Block Clubs are fighting for the rights of lowincome residents in Over-the-Rhine and they are going strong. Block clubs are forming in other parts of the neighborhood, too. Call the Contact Center at 381-4242 or stop by 1227 Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine to learn more about how you can get involved with these resident led organizations. Page 5
The Peace Village by Dr. Steve Sunderland flower we only barely imagined. I The Peace Village joined sit on a hill, under very bright the ceremonies in Cincinnati Winter sun, the temperature honoring Rev. Martin Luther King, hovering around 17 degrees, Jr. Monday, January 19. We warmed by the knowledge that started at Fountain Square and peace is at work, both under and walked with the community to hear over the ground, reaching deeply the MLK Choir, led by Peace for sustenance, raising its arms to a Villager, Kathy Roma, and some friendly sun and moon, and wonderful talks. I used to sing in awaiting the snow and rain of the chorus and had to decide everyday. I can see my breath with whether to walk in the march or each exhale. I can feel the pulse of sing. peace as life even though I am I chose to walk and enjoy bundled up. We continue, hand to the singing from the audience at hand, season to season, signal to Music Hall. Everything was free signal, walking with and for peace. and we welcomed everyone to “What more do we need to walk with us and our beloved community. Peace Villager, Roy Jones, an extraordinary young Cincinnati artist, has shared with me his painting of the Rev. King in the jail cell in Birmingham. When I look at this fresh look at the young King, I can see both his anxiety about being in a Southern jail and his dreams for Dr. Steve Sunderland a different day. We work for this day for our troubled know about war?” This question city and world. jumped out at me as I visited and I was reminded of all I tried to see all of the “D-Day didn’t know about King’s impact Museum” in New Orleans. on the South when I visited the Obviously the work of proud Ogden Art Museum in New museum planners, the story spills Orleans. out in many directions as we easily The museum is dedicated to can see how little the US was giving a space to Southern artists prepared for the German and and it is has the best collection of Japanese war plans. Very quickly, African American art I have seen following Pearl Harbor, the change outside of Hampton University’s in the American policy and action wonderful museum. It also has a occurs as a giant war machine is great collection of non-African fueled and unleashed to American artists as well. King is a counterattack the Nazis and “Japs.” topic in many paintings and Very early in the museum we get to pictures. meet soldiers from Germany and There is a photo of Rev. the U.S. through pictures, films, Ralph Abernathy and Rev. King on and audio tapes of what it was like the first desegregated bus that must to encounter war. If this is not be seen. Their look is surprise and enough, there are veterans of the anxiety: “Were they really on the WW 2 walking and sitting bus?” throughout the floors, eager to What does our fledgling answer any question and clarify the work mean? We are a band of allreality. I asked one vet, probably in season peace planters, caring for his 80s, about the survival of those our gardens as best we can. This is thousands of paratroopers that was good work. At this time. With sent behind the lines at the very each other. We plant hoping for a start of the D Day landing. No harvest; we reap, hoping that our exhibit seemed to answer what fruit is tasty; we look into the happened to them. The vet said ground and wonder at the miracle with a gruff voice: “We lost almost of seeds and roots. “What has every damn one!” End of grown peace, right here and in this conversation. season?” we wonder. What has Each floor was filled with turned over the right amount of soil exhibits about technical prowess so that the seed took just the right and the consequences in death to root, received the nourishment these very young men. Voices of from us and the ground, and survivors were heard coming from transformed into the plant and certain exhibits, accompanied by
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
the pictures, the sad and horrible through the wounding and pictures of very young men who crippling battles. The price of were heading into what surely was stopping Nazis and Japanese a kind of hell that even the pictures policies meant nothing short of the and words and sounds of arms loss of more people than could be could not portray accurately. I was counted and, so many, that it numbed by the films of the beach seemed like a ridiculous idea that landings, with wave after wave of war would continue. The passion Allied soldiers stepping out of the of the soldiers was clear and their landing crafts (invented by and commitment to each other was New Orleans native) into a curtain made evident. Yet, it was clear that of bullets, mines, bombs and every this “great” war was fought with conceivable obstacle. And, they the very young, inexperienced, and died, in waves, in layers, in the gullible class of “warriors,” water, on the land, in foxholes, in whether they are American, sandy holes, and in the arms of English, Canadian, German, medics, other soldiers, shocked and Japanese or Italian. So many wounded or just lucky to have young people dead. found an angle that kept them safe We were in New Orleans at from the storm of killing arms. the same time that preparation was Vets of the war were taking place for the Sugar Bowl proudly everywhere, welcoming football game. Thousands of visitors, selling books and stuff in college youth, parents, alums, and the gift shop, and taking bags as we friends were walking the streets, entered. Large planes are in the day and night, celebrating in the front lobby of a very large entrance rituals of end of the season football area. A kind man takes us to the games. Here were thousands of side as we go in and says that there young people enjoying themselves, are two ways to see the exhibits, mostly men but lots of women depending upon time. He is a wearing their school colors. A kindly grandfather type, genuinely good mood was evident interested in our seeing as much as everywhere as long as you steered possible. We proceed into the first away from those “warriors” who exhibits and very quickly we see had a little too much to drink. that there is no “short” tour; rather, How many of these young men any length of time will be a test of were going off to Iraq, or our emotions and our capacity to somewhere else equally dangerous? imagine the carnage that will be Would they understand why they described. I was reminded of were going? Would I understand walking the grounds of Gettysburg, why their lives were being gambled the entrance of the Holocaust in this old and bloody game? We Museum in Washington, D.C., and are at war. Close to 500 American the Austrian Concentration camp at soldiers have been killed; close to Mauthausen: no one entering 3,000 soldiers wounded, and we would ever be the same when you were on “Orange Alert.” How left. much more do we need to know Three hours of looking and about war, the death of young men feeling were enough for my wife, and woman, and the madness of Stefanie, and I. I finished the battle? museum by going to the book store to find some publications on peace. Dr. Steve Sunderland, There was not one book on peace professor of Social Work at or the psychological consequences the University of Cincinnati, of the battles on the soldiers, the is the Director of The Peace people of the countries, and/or the Village, a group of connection of what we were seeing individuals from the to the continuation of war. In an national and international obvious way, the whole museum community committed to could have been a poster for peace. examining all issues of The death of all of these people, Peace in the world. Dr. mostly young soldiers, under Sunderland also heads up indescribable conditions, shouted Posters-for-Peace which out that this was a barbaric way of engages people in solving problems of aggression and expressing their visions of violence. What would the world Peace, in their own words, have been like if there had been no through the creation of Hitler, no military adventure by posters. Japan and no response by the Allied forces? was a question that was (Business Card Size, ad ready copy) impossible to ignore. Millions of Reach 18,000 customers per month human lives were lost. Millions of lives were broken Call Streetvibes @ 421-7803
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How Do We Treat Our Fellow Man? by Mary Gaffney conflict in the world; low employment in the city, etc. You Happy New Year to each and every one of our readers. name it we got it! It all makes me think. Maybe you are not a bible When you see this issue of Streetvibes, it will be the second reader, but in the Book of month of 2004. Revelation it says these things will It is my prayer to our Most come to be; wars, fires, and Heavenly Father that, with His floods. It talks about flying chariots love and mercy, (airplanes). It also this year will be speaks of more peaceful and destruction by prosperous in working to help fires (terrorists). These things make our fellow man, you wonder. How especially, as you is our fellow man know, my treating each homeless friends. other, regardless I care very deeply Ms. Mary Gaffney of race, creed, or for our homeless friends. We are all his children in color? On the unemployment scene; the city, the country, it His eyesight. As I watched the flakes of makes you wonder when all of this will end. snow begin to come down today But my real issue, as you and I looked at my friends coming in from the cold for a cup of coffee know, is homelessness which I deal with every day. The question or a warm smile, I want to make these days a little brighter. I can’t answer is why there isn’t more concern for these people. I As we enter the New Year get calls from people who are it seems like there is so much
We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of treat poor and disenfranchised peace that we make ungrudgingly individuals as second-hand citizens. for the cause of war. There is no Martin Luther King task that is more important or challenged us to question these closer to my heart. philosophical dilemmas in our Albert Einstein everyday lives, no matter what our life circumstance. More than 30 years after his death Martin Luther King Jr. is seen as the voice for all poor people – people left behind in the wake of economic affluence, who are stuck in low paying jobs and homelessness and poverty. After 30 years, his voice still rings true. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Memorial March was held in downtown Cincinnati to rekindle the spirit of his work and to provide a voice to the unheard, to provide inspiration to those who have been cast aside by society’s indignities.
Spirit of MLK Celebrated The tri-state’s observance of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday included many events on Monday, January 19th, the official federal holiday. A highlight of the yearly remebrance is the march from Fountain Square to Music Hall, which this year featured a performance of a requiem written by the Rev. Charles Walker, minister of the 19th Street Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Many people know first hand that the work that eventually took King’s life still goes on today. The challenges that human rights workers face now are bigger than ever. Segregation and racism still have a stronghold on African American communities. Police and City government continue to
concerned about people sleeping in tents. Also, why are policemen hassling our Streetvibes Vendors and the homeless in general? It seems at this time there is no real answer. I am asked why the city leader can’t do anything. I can’t find an answer. As I sit here today with my friends, some are hurt, cold and really disgusted, with no jobs, and with families. Some have had a police record and it is still held against them, making it difficult to get services. It isn’t only men but women and families too. Not all of these men and women are addicts which is a stereotype of the homeless. I know because I am with them everyday. And believe it or not, there are many things that you can learn from these folks that will open your eyes to what is really happening. As the New Year begins let it begin with more love for our fellowman, and may there be more peace in the world. Until the next Streetvibes, be good and always remember that God loves you.
Wish List... Can You Help? Streetvibes newspaper is published monthly on a shoe-string budget from the offices of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. Can you help us with some of the following items? * Digital Camera & Accessories * VCR for making copies of Streetvibes TV show and for educational packets * Blank VHS tapes * Desktop paper folder * Supplies (paper towels, toilet paper ) * Cleaning Supplies * Office Supplies - postage stamps, floppies, copier paper and other supplies If you can help, contact us at: Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, 117 East 12th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 421-7803 e-mail: Streetvibes@juno.com
MLK Rally on Fountain Square
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
Berta’s Art Corner A Winter’s Painting, Washington Park, Overthe-Rhine, looking east at 12th and Elm Street
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Streetvibes: A proud member of the North American Street Newspaper Association.... Representing over 50 street newspapers throughout the United States and Canada VISIT - www.nasna.org Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
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Nelson Mandela... Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the World. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Making shelters safe for all Is it Worth Your Penny? by Judi Clark Ohio stands to lose apselection (beds genders How much are you willing proximately $750 million in general closer to staff may
by Elizabeth Linville be better). In The National some situations, Coalition for the Homeless there are enough (NCH) and the National Gay transgender and Lesbian Task Force residents to create released an important new a wing solely for Elizabeth Linville report in December of 2003 them. entitled Transitioning Our Harassment: Shelter staff Shelters: A Guide to Making should work to address and stop Homeless Shelters Safe for harassment of transgender people. Transgender People. This guide is This should be included in written to help shelters provide safe policy. housing for transgender persons. Dress Codes: Dress code “We believe that every should not be based on gender. A person has the right to shelter and more constructive policy would that right should not be denied focus on covering of certain body because of ignorance, injustice or areas, not on wearing gender insensitivity,” said Donald appropriate clothes. Whitehead, Executive Director of Concerns of Other the National Coalition for the Residents: Some residents may be Homeless. uncomfortable and unwilling to live The following is a summary with a transgender resident. of some of the important steps the Trainings with the shelter residents guide recommends shelters enact to may be one way to deal with this protect the civil rights of problem. transgender people. Referrals: A resident’s The Intake Conversation: transgender status is confidential in Staff should talk with all potential referrals, unless they give residents about their privacy, safety permission to staff ahead of time. and any policies affecting Many transgender people transgender residents during this face discrimination in the conversation. It is important to workplace and in housing; this inform the resident about a shelter’s intolerance can increase their confidentiality policy and that chances of becoming homeless. It transgender status is a part of this. is important that shelters and other It is also recommended that intake social service agencies work to forms allow clients to describe their create a safe environment for own gender, rather than giving people of all genders. them the typical options of male, If you are interested in female, and other. reading this report in its entirety, Restrooms: Transgender you can download a copy at the people should be allowed to use Task Force’s website (http:// whichever bathrooms match their www.TheTaskForce.org). self-identified gender. Shelters should provide whatever privacy and safety alterations necessary to facilitate this. Showers: This, too, is an area where privacy is a necessity. Transgender people should use the showers that correspond to their self-identified gender. Sleeping Arrangements: This should be based on a transgender person’s self-identified gender. Safety precautions should be taken in determining the best bed
to pay to keep schools open, help low-income working parents stay employed with child care services, food for the hungry, services to elderly Ohioans? Is it worth your penny? Ken Blackwell doesn’t think so. In a move that is both irresponsible and a possible conflict of interest, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is leading an effort to repeal the penny sales tax added in the last budget. The sales tax, while not the most desired way to raise revenues for Ohio, allowed us to retain many of the services and programs that were slated to be cut. Hundreds of OEC members and supporters sent postcards and made phone calls in support of increasing the sales tax if it meant keeping services. We testified in budget hearings and rallied in Columbus. We met with our legislators to let them know how important child and health care were to Ohioans. Now all of these gains are in jeopardy.
revenue funds if the sales tax is repealed. All gains we made in the last budget debate will be lost. Ohio will not be able to afford to continue spending on social service programs and education without the money the penny generates. Local government funds will also be cut. That means you may not have a firefighter when you need one or the library where your child does school work will be closed. Ohioans cannot afford to sit back and let this happen. We must work hard to educate our friends and neighbors, let them know what Ken Blackwell and the anti-tax lobbies are not telling them. We have a tough fight ahead of us. Mr. Blackwell and his group of supporters have the money to pay professional lobbyists. We have only our collective voices. We used those voices effectively last spring. We need to use them once more to defeat this proposal and SAVE OUR PROGRAMS.
The GCCH would like to thank Starbucks for their generous donation of coffee and pastries.
Story, Editorial and Art Submission Deadline for the March 2004 edition of STREETVIBES is Friday, February 12th S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
People Tell George Bush “Move-On”! by Mary Burke & Dianna Schweitzer On Monday evening, January 12, 2003 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, MoveOn.org named the winner in their “Bush in 30 Seconds” campaign. A 30-second TV ad that focuses on George W. Bush’s trillion-dollar debt. America’s children was the winner in the nationwide search for the best spot to tell the truth about the Bush Administration’s policy failures. The ad also got the highest rating from members of the public, who gave it the “People’s Choice” award as well. “Child’s Pay,” by Charlie Fisher, 38, of Denver features young children working in difficult service and manufacturing jobs – washing dishes, hauling trash, repairing tires, cleaning offices, assembly-line processing and grocery checking – followed by the line: “Guess who’s going to pay off President Bush’s $1 trillion deficit?”
Sean Mullaney (l) and Dianna Schweitzer thank Al Franken for his amusing participation.
government and our role in the world and to create opportunities for education. The energy has a high celebratory element too, making it feel so right to sing, dance, and beat the drum for the principles of peace, democracy, and the power of people working collectively. A panel of celebrities and political experts helped choose the winners after more than 110,000 people came to the Web site www.bushin30seconds.org in December to rate the more than 1,000 ads posted. Over 2.9 million viewer ad ratings were submitted. The contest was created by MoveOn.org Voter Fund to try to make the political process more accessible to ordinary Americans unlikely to be hired to create advertising in traditional political campaigns. “This has been an amazing experience in grassroots engagement, and all of us have been thrilled to work with such creative people,” said Eli Pariser, campaigns director for the MoveOn.org Voter Fund. “These ads give voice to the deep concerns our millions of members have with the direction our country is headed.” The MoveOn.org Voter Fund is a political committee created to comply with the new federal campaign finance laws. It runs ads and engages in other efforts to expose the policy failures of the Bush Administration. More information can be found at www.moveonvoterfund.org and at www.bushin30seconds.org. As of January 22 MoveOn.org reports that CBS has refused to run the winning ad claiming it is too controversial. What is CBS’s interest in keeping this ad off the air? Perhaps more importantly, what else has CBS kept from us and who controls the mainstream media?
it an un-American act, thanks in to convey both his fear of the United States as well as his love of part to the Patriot Act. The biggest inspiration and our strength and beauty. Liberty entertainment of the evening, and Cabbage was the name given to the reason for the event, were the sauerkraut during World War I, 30-second videos and their similar to our Freedom Fries and creators. The content of the ads Freedom Toast of today.) Janeane Garofalo served as the host and she was gut-wrenching, ironic, playful, edgy, sad, angry and just downright kept everyone clever. The number of entries was laughing with incredible; over 1,500 videos were her smart insight into our entered in the contest from all over the US. The entries ranged from culture, obviously homegrown and folksy especially the media. Several to very polished and professional, other celebrities with ads running the gamut making it to the top 15. including As evidenced by the videos, Michael Moore, people are angry about the actions Moby, Al of the Bush Administration Franken, John Sayles, and Julia regarding the invasion of Iraq, the tremendous deficit, elimination of Stiles environmental protections, the participated in blurring of the separation of church the event. and state, etc. However, the event It was was not so much about anger as it especially was about taking action. Taking exciting to action produces a contagious attend such an Michael Moore congratulates winner Charlie Fisher event at this energy, inspiring each of us to do what we can to educate ourselves time in our and others regarding our country, when people are attacked The evening awards gala for speaking out with voices was kicked off with the crowd of dissent. The entertainers standing for the National Anthem, and video participants were the Jimi Hendrix rendition of Star taking a chance on receiving Spangled Banner. Comedienne heat from the Republican Margaret Cho then took the stage and humorously explained why it is National Committee (or Repugnant National important to give people “too Committee as Cho called much information”, as the slogan them). Actress Julia Stiles goes. She says that it’s important acknowledged she was to speak out on issues that make fearful of participating people uncomfortable, because that’s how change is going to come knowing that she would likely be labeled as unabout. The audience was inspired by Chuck D. of Public Enemy. His American. She went on to say it is that fear that keeps music and his message brought people quiet and it is for everyone to their feet as the precisely that reason that she audience danced and engaged in a call and response. Rufus Wainright realized she must speak out. While free speech is brought a smile and recognition guaranteed in our with a sweet rendition of his song Dianna Schweitzer (left) and Mary Burke (right) congratulate finalist Ty “Liberty Cabbage”. (The song was Constitution, the political Pierce (center) of Columbus, Ohio, winner of best animation for his video environment today has made “What I been up to...” written by Wainright, a Canadian,
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
Bits & Pieces
8,00 0 HO M E LESS CH I L DRE N
H AT E CRIME S IN V IS IB L NT E ME
DOM VIO EST L
Y LO P EM UN
L TA S EN E M LN IL
N IO T IC V E
TY Y RT PO VE R
R E G N U H
Y ED AG TR
HOM ELE SS CIN I N CIN N AT I
U N N M E E ET D S
SS E EL C I VO
wear your heart on your sleeve
I WILL DONATE:
They aren’t your normal candy hearts. Instead of “hug me” or “be mine,” they are the many frightening messages that Cincinnati’s homeless hold in their own hearts. This year in Cincinnati, more than 25,000 individuals will find themselves homeless at some point. They are laid off their jobs, fleeing abusive relationships, battling mental illness or addicted to drugs and alcohol. They are men, women, children, families, veterans and disabled people. They are all ages, races and from many backgrounds. They are staying in our shelters, on the streets, in abandoned buildings or doubled-up with their friends and relatives. Their hearts may be broken. The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless believes that by addressing the root causes of the problem through education, advocacy and the coordination of services, we can end homelessness in our city. But we can not do it alone. We depend on the community to open their hearts. This February, please help us achieve our fundraising goal, so that we can continue our important work. Cut the coupon and pick a heart. Rest assured, it will warm the hearts of others.
Send your donation to: Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless 117 East 12th Street Cincinnati, OH 45202 all donations are tax-deductible
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
Now at Public Library; THROUGH OUR EYES Book by Catholic high school students and Homeless Coalition by John Zeh The colorful 79-page book, “Through Our Eyes: Reflections on Homelessness,” an unprecedented exploration of issues prepared by high school students and the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless (GCCH), is now available at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. “This is a big step for the Coalition, to help educate more people so they can see the true lives of homeless people,” said GCCH director Georgine Getty. At a reception, she applauded the book’s creators for their “vision to shed light on homelessness and social justice outside their own comfort zones.” Homelessness issues are problems shared by “all of us,” she said. “They touch many whose lives are just like our own.” The book is available at the Main Library’s Education and Religion department downtown at 800 Vine Street and can be sent to any of its 41 branches via www.CincinnatiLibrary.org or (513) 369-6900. The book’s call number is 362.509771 T531 2003. In the collaborative, experiential learning project researching the book, students journeyed into the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood northwest of downtown to visit a homeless shelter and GCCH office. They conducted interviews to learn about the issues through the eyes of people without homes or ones who recently lacked a home of their own. The O-T-R “hood” and GCCH became their classroom, with real-world lessons. The book is to be the cornerstone of GCCH’s new, multi-
media outreach effort for area educators. It is full of color photographs, personal reflections, poetry, artwork, and nine interviews conducted by some 71 Mother of Mercy students. The digest will be packaged with a videotape and supportive print material to educate students about causes and results of America’s growing homeless crisis. Kevin Pease and Serendipity Design directed design, layout, and artwork requiring “long hours to ensure that all participants had their voice represented and their vision accurately captured in book form,” said Getty. “Kevin is not your every-day graphic designer,” she added, but one on a “holistic journey, with an incredible work ethic and infinite patience.” Mother of Mercy educators Susan Straub and Kathryn Schnier were also recognized. Kara Koch, Abby Powell, and Katie Freshley were credited for their photography used in the full-color cover collage showing a child’s face, the GCCH office sign, and a member of Artists for the Drop Inn Center, one of the formerlyhomeless people profiled in the book. The cover was enlarged to make a large poster for GCCH’s Elm Street office near Music Hall. The project was funded with a $5000 grant from the Greater Cincinnati Youth Grantmaking Council, which has national support from the Corporation for national and Community Service and locally by Xavier University and the Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation. GCCH describes itself as “a unified social action group, fully
committed to our ultimate goal: eradication of homelessness with respect for the dignity and diversity of our membership, the homelessness, and the community.” Its work includes coordination of services, educating the public, grassroots organizing, and advocacy. It is a member of Greater Cincinnati Community Shares, often called a grassroots, people’s United Way. GCCH was formed on May 30, 1984 as a political action organization to advocate for the needs of homeless people citizens of Greater Cincinnati who had no voice in the halls of power. It began with just an answering machine and a coalition of 15 organizations and advocates. Since then, it has grown to include over 70 agencies: advocates for the poor and homeless, homeless individuals, shelters, transitional houses, emergency food programs, social service agencies, churches, low-income housing groups, and co-ops. Membership crosses all political, social and religious lines.
It directs its energy toward both meeting the immediate need for emergency shelter and transitional housing and toward providing permanent housing, jobs and health care for all. It meets monthly to share information and discuss public policy issues affecting the city’s homeless population. Journalist John Zeh experienced homelessness himself when an apartment manager evicted him before her conviction of laundering money orders that Zeh and others used for rent. He lives in O-T-R, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story, Editorial and Art Submission Deadline for the March 2004 edition of STREETVIBES is Friday, February 12th
Send letters to: Streetvibes@Juno.com, or write the Coalition -
Streetvibes 117 East 12th Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
Words from the Evangelist… Do Justice… Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:6-8 and Matthew 25:31-46 were written in different centuries and in times that were very different from our own, yet they address relationships in a way that is contemporary and real for us today. Micah 6:6-8 tells us that God is more concerned with how we treat one another, ourselves, and God than in our rituals and celebrations. The prophet Micah lived in the eighth century B.C.E. It was a time filled with personal and political excess and corruption. Micah proclaimed that individual actions and relationships could make or break the entire realm. He also pointed out that the people would eventually make loving and life-giving choices, and their world would again be filled with joy.
Eight centuries after Micah lived, Jesus words in Matthew 25:31-46 echo the words of the prophet. Jesus tells us that the way we treat friends, family, and strangers is, in effect, the way we treat God. I believe the city of Cincinnati in this year 2004 can gain a lot by taking head to both the words of the prophet and Jesus. Having received the ranking of the 6 meanest city to homeless individuals it behooves us to evaluate our relationship to those individuals who are homeless. The scripture clearly tells us that what God requires of us is to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God. MARCC, the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati, has made housing (and therefore homelessness) one of its two priorities for the 2004 year. They are the people of faith who th
helped bring us the Collaborative Agreement and have been advocates of social justice since the riots of the 60’s. I am proud to be a part of this ecumenical effort for justice and a humble walk with God. There are many other agencies and individuals out there working in their own way to eradicate this social problem from our community. Now is the time for us to come together and stand against the personal and political corruption of our time. It is time for people of faith to come together in prayer and definitive action that promotes justice and demonstrates our humble walk with God. All are not called to be activists, but all can pray. All are not homeless, but all need affordable and safe housing. All are not unemployed, but all need a livable wage. All are not addicts and
Sheltered White Girl’s Eyes Opened by Shelter by Kate Mock, Ursuline Academy Student In my world that’s enough to make headlines. Until this semester, I never stepped outside of my perfect picket fenced world. Everyone I know shares my background: decent parents, comfortable home, maybe some siblings—nothing too dramatic. It was always in the back of my mind, the fact that not everyone lives as I do, but I was too busy to prove it to myself. Ursuline Academy’s Community Service class forced me to get out there and see what I’ve been sheltered from. After learning of the different service opportunities in Cincinnati, I decided that I would work best at the Drop Inn Center because its mission most closely correlated with my own—to help those less fortunate overcome the trials of poverty and homelessness. I am passionate about providing for the less fortunate because in many cases it is not their fault that they ended up in their position. If one has excess, why shouldn’t it be given to those who have nothing? Makes good sense to me. Beginning work at the Center, I was filled with romantic notions of righting all wrongs and seeing every person immediately put into low-income housing. I imagined myself forming close friendships with every resident in the Center and touching lives irreversibly. I quickly learned that social reformation takes a bit longer than that. I didn’t have any particular view of the neighborhood or the population with which I would be working—I simply saw them as people dealt a cruddy hand in the game of life. I did get nervous when I parked my car; everyone walking by was potentially armed and ready to attack me, rape me, and run off with my car and my wallet. After the first few visits,
however, I was able to ignore those ridiculous ideas and continue with business. The Drop Inn Center wasn’t like any place I’d ever been in before. The crystal-clean world of the upper middle class is shattered the second you walk through the doors. People are milling around, outside and inside; people sleep on the benches in the main room; women sit at tables all day and stare into space. These people have nowhere else to go. When I first began visiting the Center, it wasn’t so bad: a few people occupied benches, no big deal. By the middle of November, however, the main room was filled with people, and the smell was suffocating. It’s not easy to access a shower when you don’t even have a home, and the people have to wear practically everything they own, so you end up with lots of people crowded into one room, each person dressed in multiple layers of clothing, and not a single person has showered in several days. I avoided wearing anything nice to the Center, like my leather coat—not because I thought I’d be mugged, but because I felt horrible exhibiting my own affluence around people so obviously down on their luck. The atmosphere is humbling, to say the least. I regret that my job didn’t have much social interaction. I was usually stuffing envelopes in Christina’s office, or making posters in a vacant upstairs room. I suppose it’s for the best, because I usually clam up when interacting with strangers. I helped with resident surveys one day, and while I had a wonderful conversation with one resident, Lamaar, no one else warmed up to me. Obviously, they know I’m “just a volunteer” and they know that I know that they’re homeless, so it’s not like they want to
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
discuss the stock market with me. I respect that. But with that in mind, I never really knew what else to say to them, so I didn’t say much. Christina and her officemate, Lisa, were wonderful, and I enjoyed sharing office time with them. It didn’t hurt that we liked the same music while working. Tom Lee was another staff member I looked forward to seeing. I haven’t the slightest idea if he knows me, but he worked the front desk when I would arrive, and he had a wonderful charisma about him, always whistling or singing to himself. Volunteering at the Drop Inn Center taught me that service isn’t always as simple as handing a person your coat. It has to be run as efficiently as a business, and it requires many employees. Sure, you just hand out food and blankets, but that only brings temporary relief. If you want to end homelessness, you have to find jobs and housing. I was never directly involved in the advocacy program, but it was all around me. The Drop Inn Center isn’t simply about getting people warm and fed; it’s about getting to know the residents and helping them as best you can. When Tom Lee would come down with a money deposit from one of the residents, Christina always knew who the person was, and why he or she wanted money, and frequently expressed satisfaction knowing that the person finally had some. The staff doesn’t know everyone’s history or even everyone’s name, but they care. You can tell they care because they come back to work every day. It’s sad knowing that there is a limit to how much they can do. It was awful, stuffing envelopes in the office, and hearing people discuss how temperamental the grants can be, and how hard they have to work
mentally ill, but all need healthcare. When we include all in the development and growth of our city, all will benefit. As a formerly homeless individual I serve as one of the CoChairs of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless and I firmly believe that people of faith can bring about major changes in this fight to eradicate homelessness from our community. However, we must first care enough to act lovingly and justly toward the men, women, and children who experience homelessness in our community. I challenge you, the reader, (a person of faith) to do justice and walk humble with your God in this year of 2004. Call the Coalition at 4217803 and learn what you can do to help. His Humble Servant, Rodney L. Sutton, Sr. The Evangelist to ensure that the money comes through. Even worse was doing resident surveys and hearing some people complain about everything the staff wasn’t doing, completely disregarding everything that had already been done. Though the work was frequently tedious, volunteering at the Drop Inn Center only strengthened my resolve to work for social harmony. I intend to continue volunteering, and possibly exploring other locations in need of assistance, such as ReSTOC and Peaslee. Seeing the little things that can be done for these organizations is inspiring, and I feel that it is my human responsibility to do as much as I can while I’m young and have the time and resources. I wish everyone could see what I’ve seen, because I don’t think homelessness is a reality to many of the middle-class. But it is a reality, and in a society where so many people live in obscene excess, it only makes sense that these people give a little back. I hope people step outside of their sheltered worlds to help this noble cause, but I hope they don’t expect to see immediate results; it’s an ongoing battle, and every miniscule step is a victory, whether or not one can see the effects. For this reason I intend to continue doing volunteer work throughout my life—it is a cause I feel strongly about, and a few months of my life is not enough. I hope to find plenty of volunteer opportunities in college, and I plan to teach music in underprivileged schools after graduating. My Personal Mission Statement; When one finds oneself with excess time, and in the position to maintain excess possessions, it becomes one’s moral obligation to share the wealth with those less fortunate in any possible way, whether large or small.
The Work of the Dead by Michael Henson In every life cut short, so many things are left undone. The dishes stacked and crusting in the sink. The dogs unfed. Three new strings on the guitar, the others still in their wrappers. The bedroom half-painted, one side fresh and glossy, the other a map of patching plaster islands. And the oil that really ought to be changed. And the letter unsent: it only needs a stamp and someone to walk it to the mailbox. And all the work of love: words and gestures still bundled in their little proud houses and the keys lay right on the table where we left them. And even the nation, this sprawling, addled nation: Such a tangle of dropped threads, interrupted projects, failed promises. Who will beat down the hammers of greed? Who will untangle the knots of deceit? Those whose lives have been cut short are crowded into their darkened theater where they watch us bawling and arguing like actors in an ancient drama. They watch us closely, for they want to know who will take on the unfinished work of the dead.
Enjoy your life and be happy. Being happy is of the utmost importance. Success in anything is through happiness. More support of nature comes from being happy. Under all circumstances be happy, Even if you have to force it a bit, To change some long standing habits. Just think of any negativity that comes at you As a raindrop falling into the ocean of your bliss. You may not always have an ocean of bliss, But think that way anyway and it will help it to come. “Doubting is not blissful and does not create happiness. Be happy, healthy, and let all that love flow through your heart.” This sentiment is not original with me. The Maharishi said it back in 1987. It was good advice then and, at the beginning of 2004, it is still good advice. May the Blessings of God be yours today and everyday. peace J. Manigan
Morning: Frost still lines the grasses, still paints the gravel of the path. My shoes scuff loudly against the frozen gravel and a thicket gives up its startled finches as I pass. Further on, the sudden, harsh, cry of a hawk. Six times, she cries Seven times Eight times Nine times, Ten! The sun strikes gold beneath her wings.
by D-Von Sanders by Mike Henson Oh how I miss you on lonely days like this, What I wouldn’t do for the comfort of your hug and kiss. What I wouldn’t give for the precious gifts your heart brings, Your love is more valuable than any material things. If I was an Angel, I would give up my wings just to have you by my side. If finding happiness requires directions then you must be my guide. they can have my pride, take away my silver plates and shiny gold; all I need is you to fill the empty space that’s been placed within my soul. Oh my Inseparable Heart, I will go far beyond places, I am told no man has gone before. As long as you are there my Inseparable Heart, to hold once I open the door!
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The Corpse of the Crow by Michael Henson This bird must have borne his body lightly, for he weighs no more in my hands than a cupful of ash, no more than a husk, no more than my mother when she died, no more than a snatch of breath. I have no fear of him now, beak or claw; he does not growl at me, nor glare with his bright black eye, nor stump in a wounded circle, single-winged, more fearful of me than of the trucks of Eastern Avenue. Yet I hold him gingerly, so light in my hands, I feel he might float off, and with respect, as if he were a chalice (though I know this is from guilt for I could not save him. Clumsy, fearful, I know I made his dying harder). Now, I admire him closely in his undiluted blackness. For there is, I think, nothing blacker than the blackness of this tar-drop eye that glints with bright liquid light. And there is nothing blacker than the blackness of these feathers. Each barbule is alive with stark, black light: the mail of the breast, the broad black oars of the wings, the curtains of the throat, the tufted crest at the peak of the skull, the quilted layers that blanket the legs, and the small, intricate feathers that guard the eye, matted by what seems to be a single black tear. And I admire the perfect machinery of the beak, milled and crafted with the clean lines of a chisel. And the black-greaved, leathered legs, jointed like a crustacean and fitted with mechanical claws. I fold him, carefully, into bullet shape and place him, for burial, in the crotch of a tree. Broken ark Bird of warning Temple of cinders Casket of the lost voice.
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Art & Poetry
Walk A Little Plainer Daddy Walk a little plainer daddy, Said a little boy so frail I’m following in your footsteps And I don’t want to fail. Sometimes your steps are very plain. Sometimes they are hard to see; So walk a little plainer daddy For you are leading me. I know that you once walked this way Many years ago. And what you did along the day I really like to know. For sometimes when I am tempted, I don’t know what to do. To walk a little plainer daddy For I must follow you. Someday when I’m grown up You are like I want to be. Then I will have a little boy Who will want to follow me. And I would want to lead him right And help him to be true. So walk a little plainer daddy For we must follow you.
Soldiers Song by Gary Lehmann A soldier’s eyes slam open interrupting the dead of night like a bayonet in the belly. Ancient fears, forgotten features. His lady brings him water. “It’ll be all right now, honey.”
Let me tell you about this girl named Sweet and Petite From heavens above you would think She is a precious gift. But in reality, she makes me sick. See, in her mind, she says she’s a witch. But down on earth we know her as a trick. Like fire and thunder, she often makes em wonder. You know, like Stevie Wonder Calling herself Queen Bee But in reality she lied to me. She’s the devil’s child, running wild makes herself an angel to light You know, smooth, like Dolomite. But it’s out of date, she’s always late Or, her name might be Gail, she’ll put You in living hell. Post with no bail. She’s too fat, she might break her back. Thinks she goes lovey-dovey, she’ a tell-o-tubby She’ll cut you up with her eyes. You got a date with cake and can’t be late. No, in reality, she’s just a snake. Thinking that her heart is made of steel. That girl needs to chill before somebody breaks her grill. She’s bad for your health. Get that poison off your chest and leave her to rest.
Lord, why did you put me here to die, to burn, to learn? Lord, why did you put me here to die, in a world full with pain? What is there to gain in this wicked game? What is there to gain when your back is against the wall, and you constantly fall, when everytime you try to get by you fall on your face? What’s left to save the human race? What is there to gain when hope is gone and you are standing all alone? To burn in hell or die in a jail cell? When pain and sorrow, and it seems like no tomorrow, thinking back to the goodness we once had. It seems to me that the worlds is so sad when everybody professes to keep it so real when it comes down face to face. They hold their head down in disgrace in this wicked place. When everybody’s puffing on so much chronic smoke, it seems that life is one big joke. When kids play with guns thinking that this is a game of fun, and money rules the world, and its war and tears, and its man that they fear. Don’t they know the Savior is near? And the heavens open up and I heard a voice say “My son, what I said will be, so always keep your faith in me.” Then I said to the Lord, “Will I drown in the sea or weaken like a willow tree?” Then in reply, the Lord said to me, “Stay strong even if you stand alone.” So my brothers and sisters, we must have hearts like steel to keep it real, looking up to God’s beautiful grace in surrounding this wicked place.
by Jimmy Heath
Ron English, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial March, Elm Street
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
Art & Poetry
On the Homeless Front by Israel Bayer Twenty-six years after his turbulent experience in the jungles of Cambodia and Vietnam, Timothy Buchanan became homeless. It’s been nearly 32 years of hardship and anguish for a man who left the United States and traveled 10,000 miles to fight for his country in one of the longest conflicts our nation has ever known. Buchanan was exposed to the chemical Agent Orange on more than one occasion and has post traumatic stress disorder. He talks softly when he says, “I got peppered with that stuff (Agent Orange) over and over again. “I’ve been pretty unstable, due to stress and the streets, for a long time. I’ve dealt with flashbacks and nightmares since I left that place. I just started to talk about my experiences in the mid’90s, but now that I’m ready to let it all out, rarely do people want to listen.” The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that nearly 300,000 veterans are homeless on any given night in the United States. In addition, more than a half-million veterans experience homelessness in a given year, more than a dozen veterans are homeless or have experienced homelessness at street roots newspaper. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, there is a complex set of factors contributing to homelessness for U.S. veterans. A large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with the lingering effects of posttraumatic stress disorder and
substance abuse, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks. With an estimated halfmillion who experience homelessness in a given year, the VA estimates that it reaches only 20 percent of those in need, leaving more than 400,000 veterans without services. The average time between soldiers coming home from Vietnam and then becoming homeless was about 12 years, according to Linda Boone, executive director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. But “my gut instinct tells me that, because of the economy and the lack of affordable housing, there will be a significant difference in the time veterans start becoming homeless, compared to Vietnam War veterans,” said Boone. “Veterans are coming home much more abruptly than they did in Vietnam, it may be a lot harder to support your family with the economy the way it is,” she said. “We think there’s an opportunity to prevent homelessness with veterans.” Prevention starts at the Department of Defense, according to Boone, but she said it’s just not happening. Many homeless veterans and advocates in the field say veterans coming out of the military should be given the proper counseling and services needed to enter back into society. “If they would have admitted the damage Agent Orange would have done to me, and given me the proper therapy for being ‘on vacation’, if you
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know what I mean, then maybe I could have done better in this life. “I went as crazy as a bed bug after seeing what I saw. I was awful sick when I got back to the states, but I was no longer under any impression that we were saving the world from communism. I thought by going to war I could prove myself to be a man. I was raised on that John Wayne bull#$%@, and that’s exactly what it is — bull#$%@. “I think being homeless has a lot to do with my experience in Vietnam,” Buchanan said. “When I got back, the VA didn’t care about me. For years, I would go in to receive help and they would just call me a dope addict. I selfmedicated because of the constant pain I was in.” “I was hit four times by an AK in the first burst, and was hit once with friendly fire by the 2nd platoon as they came in from the rear. I got gangrene and then they cut my leg off a week later. “The thing that has always bothered me about all of this is that I couldn’t help feeling like the Red Coats, ya’ know,” Buchanan said. “We weren’t protecting anybody from anything. We were the invaders and we didn’t have a cause. The only cause was survival for soldiers and that’s a dangerous circumstance to be in.” According to the Indiana School of Medicine, during the Vietnam War, psychological breakdowns on the battlefield were as low as 12 per 1,000. But in 1973, when direct American troop involvement in Vietnam ended, the number of veterans with psychiatric disorders began to increase
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tremendously. They began to show symptoms such as intense anxiety, battle dreams, depression, and problems with interpersonal relationships long after their combatant role in the Vietnam War had ceased. Some advocates believe that a more progressive system could be put into place to deal with substance abusers, especially for vets who may have come home with an addiction, like many did from Vietnam. “You shouldn’t have a system that punishes vets on the streets for using,” said one advocate who declined to be named. “It’s a system that punishes people who have seen horrific things or who may be in extreme pain for using a drug to selfmedicate. It’s crooked and wrong. Who are we to say, ‘We’re very proud you went and risked your life for your country, but because you’re a user the punishments will be prison and homelessness.” “We are seeing more Gulf War veterans on the streets in Portland,” says Don Hanson, a Vietnam vet and the career services coordinator with Central City Concern. “In some cases, Gulf War Syndrome is playing a part. Some were probably exposed to chemicals, and the VA is recognizing that more and more. There are a lot of diseases attached to Vietnam and the Gulf War.” Of the 697,000 U.S. troops who served during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, more than 100,000 have registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense, saying they have health concerns. While most of these veterans have been diagnosed with a variety of conditions, more than 154,000, or about 20 percent of those examined, have undiagnosed symptoms, which commonly include fatigue, muscle and joint pains, headaches, memory loss, skin rash, diarrhea and sleep disturbances. There’s no record of how many people are on the streets from the Persian Gulf War or any other conflict the United States has been involved in. “There’s more and more people who are on the streets since the Vietnam era, and that’s probably since some of us are dying out,” says Hanson. Reprinted from street roots, Portland, Oregon, November 2003.
Streetvibes exists as a forum for the expression of the views and opinions of our readers and supporters. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Streetvibes staff or the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
More on Homeless Veterans by Israel Bayer
News & Editorial
gallon drums in which it was stored. Other herbicides, including Agent White and Agent Blue, were also used in Vietnam to a much lesser extent. Between 1961 and 1971, the U.S. military in South Vietnam used more than 19 million gallons of herbicides for defoliation and crop destruction. Several types and combinations of chemicals were used but Agent Orange was the most commonly applied, specifically between January 1965 and April 1970. Herbicides other than Agent Orange were used in Vietnam prior to 1965, but to a very limited extent. Some of the herbicides
applying. Source: The Department of Veterans Affairs If the trial of Agent Orange is any measure, it could be decades before the United States and the VA acknowledge what veterans and their families say is a very real disability: “Gulf War Syndrome.” Gulf War Syndrome The VA calls Gulf War Syndrome a non-scientific label used to describe the unexplained illnesses characterized by fatigue, joint pain, skin rash, memory loss and/or diarrhea. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, panels of experts have agreed that the group of veterans suffering
affected by disasters such as earthquakes and airplane crashes, The Evolution of Postand are now referred to as postTraumatic Stress Disorder traumatic stress syndrome. Post-Traumatic Stress Source: Indiana School of Syndrome is a very new term. It Medicine was only in World War I that Agent Orange psychiatric syndromes first came Thirty years after its use, to be associated with military the United States finally combat. Until then, it was acknowledged the application and assumed that such causalities potentially devastating affects of were due to cowardice or lack of the defoliant known as Agent discipline. World War I found Orange. This recognition may that the explosion of shells caused open the door to services for not just physiological damage but many veterans suffering the also symptoms called ‘shell effects of toxic exposure. shock,’ and that there was a Viewed as disability, the connection between psychological chronic and debilitating affects of stress and combat. toxic exposure to Agent Orange During World War II, can be an obstacle to psychiatric causalities increased veterans trying to Statistics on homeless veterans: by 300 percent over World War I. return to civilian life. — 23 percent of the homeless population are veterans At one point in the war, the It is also another number of men being evacuated disability that for psychiatric reasons exceeded aggravates a stable life — 33 percent of the male homeless population are veterans the total number of new recruits. and can lead to During the Korean War, a homelessness. — 47 percent are from the Vietnam era new method of dealing with In September psychiatric breakdown was 2000, VA recognized devised. Instead of evacuating that Agent Orange was — 17 percent are from post-Vietnam era affected individuals, they were used in Korea in the given immediate onsite treatment late 1960’s and — 15 percent are pre-Vietnam era so that they could return to duty as approved Agent soon as possible. Evacuations Orange examinations — 67 percent served three or more years due to psychiatric reasons for U.S. veterans who Source: National Coalition for Homeless Veterans dropped from 23 percent in World served in Korea in War II, to 6 percent in the Korean 1968 or 1969. In from the purported syndrome is used in the early years contained War. March 2001, it was ordered that probably not suffering from a greater concentrations of dioxin, During the Vietnam War, those examinations be made battlefield breakdown was as low available to all other veterans who according to the Department of single, common ailment, but rather from a variety of illnesses as 12 per thousand. But in 1973, may have been exposed to dioxin Veterans Affairs. Spraying with overlapping symptoms. occurred in all four military zones when direct American troop or other toxic substances in a involvement in Vietnam ended, Gulf War Syndrome has of Vietnam. Heavily sprayed herbicide or defoliant during the areas included inland forests near been attributed to a number of the number of veterans with conduct of or as the result of sources, including exposure to the demarcation zone; inland psychiatric disorders began to testing, transporting, or spraying increase tremendously. They radiation from depleted uranium forests at the junction of the of herbicides for military used in artillery, side-effects of borders of Cambodia, Laos, and began to show symptoms such as purposes. anti-biological immunizations, South Vietnam; inland forests intense anxiety, battle dreams, Agent Orange was a depression, and problems with and biological weapons. north and northwest of Saigon; herbicide used in Vietnam to kill mangrove forests on the The VA says that a number interpersonal relationships long unwanted plants and to remove southernmost peninsula of of potential causes have been after their combatant role in the leaves from trees that otherwise Vietnam; and mangrove forests Vietnam War had ceased. investigated, but no single theory provided cover for the enemy. appears likely to explain all of the These symptoms were The name, “Agent Orange,” came along major shipping channels southeast of Saigon. undiagnosed conditions. linked to those shown by people from the orange stripe on the 55Some Vietnam veterans In tens of thousands of get disability compensation for protocol medical examinations of Agent Orange-related illnesses. Persian Gulf veterans to date, the VA pays disability compensation VA and the Department of to Vietnam veterans with injuries Defense medical authorities say Advertise in Streetvibes! or illnesses incurred in or they have found no evidence of aggravated by their military infectious diseases beyond the Reach thousands of service. Veterans do not have to range of illnesses common in the downtown workers prove that Agent Orange caused population at large. Research each month! their medical problems to be studies now in progress will eligible for compensation. provide more scientific answers to Rather, VA must determine that this question, but no rigorous, Call 421-7803 for more the disability is “servicereproducible research to date has information about how connected.” A Veterans Services established that Gulf War Representative, at a VA medical veterans’ illnesses are caused by advertising in center or regional office, can an infectious agent. Streetvibes will work explain the compensation Source: Department of Veterans program in greater detail and Affairs for your business.... assist veterans who need help in
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The Iraqis Who Hated Saddam Hate the Americans More by Paul McGeough In Khaldiyah, it’s a war of nerves. A three-meter-deep crater marks the explosion point of a careering car bomb that the local police knew was inevitable. Just across and down a highway that cuts through this small town west of Baghdad is the home of a man the US suspects could help bring an end to these relentless attacks tribal sheik Fanar Al-Kharbit. As black smoke cleared over Khaldiyah and its dusty main street was swept of body parts, shattered glass and clothing now reduced to singed rags, locals went through the grim ritual of tallying the dead - more than a dozen policemen, at least one student from a nearby school, a fruit vendor, a few other streetstallholders and a man who worked in a nearby sewage control office. Acutely aware that he is 120 times more likely to die than his counterpart on the beat in New York, police officer Khalid Hammed said: “The best thing the US can do for us is pull out.” Like other guerilla conflicts, Iraq has become a war of attrition. Super self-protection by the Americans makes them a difficult target. So the insurgents turn more on Iraqis who are seen to be helping the US - police and security workers, the judiciary and local political leaders. The number of attacks against the US is down, but this doesn’t mean that the security situation is any less fraught. While the American forces are poised defensively, like a coiled spring, and while fear grips that portion of the Iraqi people that doesn’t necessarily support the resistance, it is impossible for the US to pull Iraq out of the social and economic chaos that makes many Iraqis hunger for what they remember as the day-to-day orderliness of Saddam’s Iraq. There is little doubt that as a sheik in the Sunni hotbed between Ramadi and Faluja, Fanar Al-Kharbit knows more than he lets on. And there’s the rub: the US has him pegged as a potential source of what it likes to call “actionable intelligence”, but it doesn’t have enough to pull him in. American tanks have rumbled into his walled compound on the banks of the Euphrates River no fewer than seven times in the past few weeks, soldiers
tumbling out to rummage through his home while, he says, telling him all the time to “shut up”. The sheik is still full of hard talk, but those who know him say he is a shadow of his former self. Reputed to be one of the richest men in Iraq, he used to strut in crisp traditional dress and hobnob with the most senior elements of the regime. Saddam was a frequent guest at his table until a falling out over business in the early ’90s. Now he is ill-kempt and gaunt. “In the first few months relations with the US were friendly, but now they are trying to provoke me,” he said, pointing to the charred remains of reed beds by the Euphrates, which he said he had been ordered to burn so that his activities might be observed more closely from US observation posts. “This is not liberation, it is an occupation. People are very tired after Saddam’s three wars. I’m worried if the Americans keep attacking me, that my tribe will react - but for now I have told my people not to cause trouble.” The difficulty for Fanar AlKharbit is that in running Saddam into ground, the Americans have displayed a new understanding of Iraqi tribalism and how it dovetails with the resistance. The latest resistance attacks and US arrests - including nine who were described by the officer in charge of Saddam’s detention, Major-General Ray Odierno, as “mid-level operatives: financiers, organisers, arms suppliers” underscore the fluid structure and make-up of the opposition that confronts the US in Iraq. US officials insist that the strategic direction comes from Izzat Ibrahim Al-Duri, a longserving Saddam lieutenant whose family properties overlook the farm on which Saddam was dragged from his burrow and who this week became the most senior official of the former regime still on the run. But hampered by poor communications, the evidence suggests great local autonomy and a degree of friction between several competing resistance groups with varying agendas, but all of which are bent on causing trouble for the US. There are Baath Party loyalists, some of whose ardour might be diluted by the finality of Saddam’s capture. But there are also dozens of locally run cells that
claim to be vehemently antiSaddam and to be driven by nationalism and a need to protect their huge natural resources especially oil - from what they see as an American grab. Then there are the foreign fighters claimed by the US to be in the service of al-Qaeda and one of its offshoots, Ansar al-Islam. These so-called jihadists come from across the Arab world and are thought most likely to be the parties behind the wave of suicide bombings that started in the summer with the attack on the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad. Responsibility is never claimed for the bombings. The US variously lays the blame at the feet of the foreign terror groups or the Baath Party loyalists. Co-ordination between the resistance groups is little understood, but it is thought to be erratic. Now, some Iraqi villages are being encircled with barbed wire. Only those Iraqis with USissued identity cards may come and go; the relatives of suspected insurgents are being detained and, in some cases, their homes are being demolished. And the Americans are being urged to mirror the Israelis’ extensive West Bank and Gaza informants’ network, which has underpinned the Israeli campaign of summary execution for terror suspects - but which has failed to end the violence or advance the peace. After the Americans’ widely criticised decision to disband, rather than attempt to harness the better elements of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, the US now is calling for help from veterans of Saddam’s feared mukhabarat - the secret police. Also, it is trying to enlist
former Iraqi servicemen into the new Iraqi army. But it has suffered a major embarrassment with the revelation that more than one-third of the first Iraqi battalion in training had gone AWOL - only days before it was to begin active service. The US now boasts that it has deployed or is training a greater number of Iraqi security forces than there are US forces in the country - almost 160,000. But they have a way to go. Apart from the campaign of fear by bombing, the police are subjected to near-ritualistic humiliation in the total refusal of city motorists and others to acknowledge their authority; they are widely accused of threatening bogus charges against motorists who refuse to offer bribes and those who are posted at service stations to control angry petrol queues often sell pole position on the queue to the highest bidder. Anger simmers at the prospect of a long wait for adequate supplies of electricity, petrol and cooking gas. If the US stays the course with its timetable for a fully elected new Iraqi government, it could be years before it can be demonstrated that Iraqis are in control of Iraq. Delays on both fronts create a perfect environment for guerilla war. Whatever he is up to, and however dispirited Fanar AlKharbit appears, it seems that the sheik wants to keep punching. Returning to his place against the wall in the pale afternoon sun, he said: “I’ve told the Americans to get out of my neighbourhood. They wouldn’t be here if I was a leader of the mujahideen. And if they keep going like this, a lot more US soldiers will die.”
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Streetvibes exists as a forum for the expression of the views and opinions of our readers and supporters. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Streetvibes staff or the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
FRAC - Food Research and Action Center News FOOD STAMP PARTICIPATION INCREASES IN OCTOBER 2003 TO MORE THAN 23.3 MILLION PERSONS; IS MORE THAN 6.4 MILLION PERSONS HIGHER THAN IN JULY 2000 (January 7, 2003) Participation in the Food Stamp Program in October 2003 (the latest data available) increased by 608,748 persons from the previous month, to 23,315,024 persons. Some of this increase was due to continuing high rates of joblessness, states improving access, and the effects of the food stamp reauthorization implementation. But a majority of the growth in October over September was in recipients of Hurricane Isabel disaster relief. Excluding states that received disaster relief and Alaska, the overall one month increase becomes 1.2 percent instead of 2.7 percent. The October 2003 level of Food Stamp Program participation represented a rise of almost 3.2 million persons compared to the October 2002 level and more than 6.4 million persons since July, 2000 (when program participation nationally reached its lowest point in the last decade). http://www.frac.org/html/ news/fsp/03oct.html FOOD STAMP PROGRAM CONTINUES TO EXPAND DUE TO USDA EFFORTS (GovExec.com, January 5, 2004) Only 62 percent of those who are eligible for food stamps currently participate in the program. When the TANF law was passed in 1996 there were almost 26 million people enrolled in the Food Stamp Program. By 2000 that number had dropped to about 17 million. Many of the people who left TANF and got jobs were still relying on emergency food assistance providers for food. Advocates, program administrators and politicians alike saw the dramatic drop in the program as a cause for concern. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been working to simplify the program, improve access and fund outreach efforts. States have also been encouraged to loosen their asset requirements and ease the application process. However, some states have put cost-cutting to rein in budget deficits ahead of program improvements. “It still takes a bit of [state] money to bring in a lot of [federal] money,” said James Weill, president of FRAC. The efforts have begun to make a difference:
from September 2001 to September 2003 participation jumped 27 percent to 22.7 million persons. http://www.govexec.com/ dailyfed/0104/010504nj1.htm
percent). Many states have had to cut spending to reconcile their budgets. Defeat of a tax increase in Oregon will result in the “end [of] the Oregon Health Plan as we know it,” said Peter Bragdon, the governor’s chief of staff. Thirtyfour states have cut spending on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program over the past two years. http:// www.nytimes.com/2004/01/05/ national/05STAT.html (free registration required)
COLUMN: WITH CHILD POVERTY RATES HIGHER THAN MOST INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS, U.S. GOVERNMENT MUST SUPPORT NEEDY (Washington Post, December 21, 2003) In this column, Timothy M. Smeeding, director of the Luxembourg Income Study of OBESITY EPIDEMIC MAKES relative poverty rates in developed HEADLINES IN 2003, countries, points out that we still EXPERTS SAY HEALTHY have a child poverty rate that is EATING AT SCHOOLS IS significantly higher than in wealthy IMPORTANT (Post-Gazette, European nations, Canada and Pittsburgh, PA, January 1, 2004) Australia. “We in America have America’s obesity epidemic high child poverty rates because we grabbed headlines around the choose to, not because we cannot nation in 2003. The Centers for do anything Disease about it.” Control and Not only are more American Not only are Prevention children poor, many live in extreme more estimate poverty, despite that fact that lowAmerican that 60 income single mothers in the U.S. children percent of work more hours than do single poor, many Americans mothers in any other wealthy nation, are either live in putting them at risk for hunger and extreme overweight poverty, making it harder for them to ever or obese, despite the and 15 escape from poverty. “Poor children fact that percent of in France, Germany and the Nordic low-income 6- to 19countries are six times more likely to single year-olds escape poverty than their American mothers in are counterparts.” the U.S. overweight, work more which is hours than do single mothers in any almost three times the number from other wealthy nation, putting them 1980. Dr. J. Michael McGinnis of at risk for hunger and making it the Robert Wood Johnson harder for them to ever escape Foundation points out that the from poverty. “Poor children in current epidemic foreshadows a France, Germany and the Nordic future health crisis. “We may be countries are six times more likely raising the first generation of to escape poverty than their children that is sicker and dies American counterparts.” http:// younger then their parents. The www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp- sheer availability of food has led dyn?pagename=article&node people to graze throughout the day =&contentId=A16659-2003Dec19 on foods that are largely nutrientpoor and calorie-rich.” http:// AFTER THREE YEARS AND www.post-gazette.com/localnews/ $200 BILLION IN 20040101closeup0101p4.asp CUMULATIVE BUDGET SHORTFALLS, WORST MAY THE AMERICAN ACADEMY BE OVER FOR STATES, BUT OF PEDIATRICS STRESS WILL CONTINUE RECOMMENDS THAT (New York Times, January 5, SCHOOLS CONSIDER 2003) Tax revenues in most states RESTRICTING SOFT DRINK rose slightly in the second half of SALES (American Academy of 2003 for the first time since midPediatrics, Press Release, January 2001, ending three straight years of 5, 2004) In a policy statement, the budget shortfalls totaling $200 American Academy of Pediatrics billion. Slow job growth and rising recommends that school districts health costs will continue to stress consider restricting the sale of soft state budgets. The past three years drinks to prevent health problems represented a dramatic change in that result from over consumption. budget realities for many states. The Academy points to the Compared to the last recession in relationship between increased risk 1991, when states raised taxes by of overweight and obesity and 5.4 percent over the previous increased sugared soft drink year’s tax collections, taxes were consumption. They note that, as raised much less in 2003 (by 1.5 soft drink consumption increases,
S T R E E T V I B E S February, 2004
milk consumption decreases. They recommend that schools stock nutritious alternatives such as water, real fruit juices and low-fat milks to preserve funds from vending machines. In addition, the Academy recommends that soft drinks not be sold in competition with the National School Lunch Program. http://www.aap.org/ advocacy/releases/ jansoftdrinks.htm For the entire policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics:http:// www.aap.org/policy/s010119.html PRESIDENT OF CONSUMERS UNION URGES PARENTS TO CHALLENGE VENDING CONTRACTS WITH SCHOOLS, EMPHASIZE NUTRITIOUS CHOICES (Consumer Reports, January 2004) In this editorial, Jim Guest, president of Consumers Union, which publishes “Consumer Reports,” urges parents to challenge soft drink vending contracts between schools and beverage manufacturers in order to emphasize nutritious choices for school children. Noting that few states have laws regulating such contracts, Guest points out that it is up to parents and individual school districts to monitor what is being sold to students while at school. http://www.consumer reports.org/main/detailv4.jsp? CONTENT%3C%3Ecnt_id%20= 3719159F3EB50-4AD9-4D1AB029-1C55C5888754 MODEL WORKFARE SERVICES PROGRAM IN UTAH MAKES EFFORT TO INCREASE ACCESS TO FOOD STAMPS (Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, UT, January 5, 2004) Utah’s Department of Workfare Services has been highlighted as a model for the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which requires all local workforce areas to develop a system to deliver federally funded employment and some public assistance programs at one location. In a report by the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Utah office was found to be a model program but still needed improvement in raising awareness of clients to public benefits available at the site. The low level of food stamp participation by clients (who are leaving the TANF program) was also shown as a concern. Since the report was released over a year ago, Utah has made efforts to increase access to food stamps. http:// www.sltrib.com/2004/jan/ 01052004/business/126235.asp
FRAC’s web site is http://www.frac.org
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
SHELTER: Both Anthony House (Youth) 357-4602 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) 861-1111 St. John’s Housing 651-6446
Mt. Airy Center 661-4620 Volunteers of Amer. 381-1954
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 House 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
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
Contact Center 381-4242 Emanuel Center 241-2563 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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Riverfront Campers Receive Settlement From Covington
Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless