Let us find some way to discuss community matters other than just making a law against something, hoping it will go away. That's what the city government has done for the past 10 years - no sitting there, no panhandling for money here, no sleeping under that bridge, no loitering in the parks, no congregating on the sidewalks. So, just where do they expect the homeless to go? Do they want them all to buy houses and start a family? Or do they wish they would just dry out and blow away?
The impetus for these laws comes from specific sectors of the community, not all of us feel that way. And the issue is too broad and complex to hope a single law or gaggle of laws, enforced by police, is going to make things better. For example, there are some who say they chose the lifestyle - footloose and fancy free. Whether that is factually true or merely a rationalization on their part due to circumstance is hard to get at. Then there are the mentally ill, who have been taken out of treatment centers and put on the streets to fend for themselves. And there are hard working families and or single women with children who, because of economics (think Wall Street & Big Bank Bailouts), rely on the support of the community for shelter and safety.
Please join us for a traveling road show of bicycle talk, zines, and transportation activism. Elly Blue and Joe Biel will present short videos and a slideshow about Portland's bike culture, followed by a discussion of alternative transit and the future of transportation infrastructures in our towns and beyond. Dale Carlson from Bike Tech of Olympia will provide a local perspective on bike culture. Program sponsored by Bike Tech of Olympia and the Friends of the Olympia Timberland Library.
Recently the Olympian ran an article describing how the homeless are soon to be evicted from their camps near some popular trails in Olympia. We would encourage you to read their story for context before continuing.
Because Gail and I work with a non profit that serves the homeless and low income, we wanted to see the situation for ourselves. So with the help of Tracy from EGYHOP we located the camp of Brandy, Kimberly, and their dog Newt.
When we found their place, it turned out to be a welcome refuge from yet another downpour – the tent was unobtrusive and invisible a long ways off of a popular city trail, both cozy and surprisingly roomy – and our gracious hosts invited us to have a seat and visit awhile.
On the path leading to their tent home there was no trash or pile of clothes in sight. When the tent structure came into view it was clear someone had put a lot of thought into how to construct a home with little to no money that could withstand a northwest winter.
An area had been leveled out so that a larger tent structure made from canvas could stand on level ground. The whole thing is covered with tarps. Inside, poles support the roof so it doesn’t sag with the weight of the tarps on top of it.
The large tent serves as a living area with room for furniture retrieved from dumpsters, carpet, clothing, and storage. A smaller tent with shelves and a bed made from many blankets comprises the bedroom.
Support the Olympia Free Herbal Clinic!
Enjoy live music by June Madrona and other artists over a three-course sit-down dinner featuring cob-oven pizza, locally grown produce and a variety of herbal treats, wild edibles salad, decadent desserts, wine and beverage bar, and raffle/silent auction. Vegan, meat, vegetarian, and gluten-free pizzas and more available!
Saturday, July 12, 5 to 9pm
Fertile Ground Community Center; 311 9th Ave SE (across from Olympia Timberland Library)
$10 to $20 Donation
The Olympia Free Herbal Clinic is an umbrella project of Done & Done 501(c)3. We're raising funds to open a free clinic at the Bread & Roses Advocacy Center during the summer of 2008. We hope to have walk-in hours one to two days per week. We'll offer education, personalized health consultations, botanical remedies and other supplies free of charge. We serve to empower anyone and everyone, regardless of financial or other circumstances, to take charge of their own health care.
There are some great non-profits in Olympia that are doing innovative work. Here is a profile of one of my favorites:
Founded in May 2007, Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights (POWER) is a collection of low-income parents and their allies. POWER was formed by former members, staff, and volunteers of the Welfare Rights Organizing Coalition, (WROC), after a disagreement with the two-member WROC Board over the future of the organization. POWER continues the work of WROC and looks towards further opportunities to support families navigating the welfare system. Member led and consensus based, this local nonprofit recognizes the power of building community and supporting leadership among those most impacted by social, economic and political injustice.
POWER offers an impressive array of services and resources that increase members’ understanding of the welfare system, their rights within that system, and ways to advocate for their families and their communities. Currently POWER provides the following:
· Information on legal rights to public benefits through tabling at welfare offices, food banks and other places where low-income people congregate. Additionally, information is given over the phone and at “Know Your Rights” workshops held on a regular basis at Safeplace and Family Support Center in Olympia and the Human Response Network in Chehalis. POWER members and staff will bring the workshop to any group of parents or organization that serve parents who invite them.
· Training for members in areas such as public speaking, understanding and navigating the legislature, and understanding economic systems and the global struggle for social justice. Workshops can be presented in Spanish as well as English.
· Voter registration and continued education at meetings and outreach. · Weekly updates to over 500 members that include information about how and when to contact legislators, information on pertinent bills, job openings, opportunities for activism, answers to poverty and parenting questions, and free or affordable cultural events.
· Activities and events for families to gather together, share their stories, skills and ideas for coping with poverty, and have fun while planning the revolution.
POWER is made up of passionate and intelligent members, volunteers and staff, but there is plenty of room for your involvement! Volunteer meetings are held every Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in the Payne Room of the First Christian Church at 7th and Franklin in downtown Olympia. You can also call for more information, 360-352-9716 or toll free at 1-866-343-9716, http://www.myspace.com/parentsorganizing. Tax free donations can be sent to POWER at 701 Franklin Street SE, Olympia, WA 98501 or on website pay pal account, http://www.oly-wa.us/power/.