Submitted by Tom Malthaner, Catholic Worker, St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality on Tue, 2014-09-16 12:15
LETTER TO D&C OPINION PAGE 8-26-14
THE CLOSING OF THE POLICE GARAGE TO THE HOMELESS
Last Thursday night Sister Grace, from the House of Mercy, Rob Benazzi , on staff at St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, and myself, a Catholic Worker at St. Joseph’s House, stayed overnight at the Civic Center (police) Garage. The management told us that as long as we are paying customers we could stay as long as we want. My purpose in staying was to experience one night and get an idea of what homeless persons go through, understanding that some stay for weeks and months. In talking to some of the old-timers who have stayed in the garage, one mentioned he stayed in the late 70’s and another in the 80’s. So the homeless have been using the garage as a shelter for almost 40 years. Under Article 17 of the New York State Constitution, Monroe County has a legal obligation to care for the needy. I am appalled and ashamed that, for so many years, the County has looked the other way and allowed the police garage to be a shelter. I am ashamed that I didn’t say anything about this situation before now. Staying in the garage was nasty. I got about 3 ½ hours of sleep - on the cement floor with a sleeping bag under me as a cushion. It was warm and I was concerned about car exhaust fumes throughout the night. The maintenance man ran the power cleaner most of the night. It was very loud and reminded me of a miniature street cleaner . He would go outside several times a night to get fresh air to counteract the fumes and the dust, but we were stuck inside. Finally, there is no bathroom in the garage. In the meetings with Mapco, the company managing the garage, one of their complaints was the smell of urine and feces. We have suggested several times to put a porta-potty in the garage as a simple solution, but the management refused. So going to the bathroom for myself and Sr. Grace was an embarrassing experience. In sum, I thought the overnight experience was dreadful and would not suggest it even to my worst enemy. I think now of the” works of mercy”, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless… Is this how we should shelter our brothers and sisters who happen for whatever reason to become homeless?
On September 4, 2014, Rochester's Fight for $15 campaign kicked off at the Wendy's at 1175 E. Ridge Road where Wendy's workers went on strike for $15 / hr and a union. In the video below, workers explain their current conditions and why they are demanding $15 / hr. and the right to organize a union.
Submitted by Sister Grace @ House of Mercy on Fri, 2014-09-12 00:30
County Suddenly Breaks off Dialogue With Homeless Advocates Without a Plan to House All the Homeless
Without Dialogue Campaign of Direct Action Will Continue
Rochester, NY - On Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 1:00pm representatives of the House of Mercy and St. Joseph's House of Hospitality were scheduled to meet with 7 officials from the County including Commissioner of Human Services, Kelly Reed to work toward building a partnership to resolve the current homeless crisis. St. Joseph's House of Hospitality has been providing homeless services in Rochester for 75 years and the House of Mercy for 29 years for a combined total of 104 years of service to the homeless.
Instead keeping the scheduled meeting to find common ground on the issues at hand, the meeting was abruptly called off. The County claimed that it was unnecessary to meet and there were no plans to reschedule. Commissioner Reed claimed she would send Sister Grace Miller from the House of Mercy two links to outside funding sources missing the whole point of the meeting (To date, those links were never sent). Our reason for meeting was to work together to solve the current homeless crisis. As the Coalition of Concerned Residents of Monroe County (of which House of Mercy and St. Joe's are a part) stated in an open letter to County Executive Maggie Brooks we are looking for openness, efficiency, and justice from the County Government in dealing with the crisis. We want...
Candis Tolliver from the NYCLU & Communities United for Police Reform describes the campaign for reform of the NYC police department. This was taped on June 4, 2014 at the Downtown United Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY.
Submitted by Rochester Indymedia on Thu, 2014-09-04 20:34
At a recent meeting, the Rochester Independent Media Center (also known as R-IMC or Rochester Indymedia) decided to begin working independently from the Metro Justice's Task Force TV Dinner. After many years of fruitful collaboration, we believe it's in the best interests of both groups to begin working separately.
This is an audio interview (with stills pulled from the internet) conducted by members of Rochester Indymedia and the Flying Squirrel Community Space collective via speaker phone with Ricardo Adams from Ferguson, Missouri on Monday, August 25, 2014. He arrived in Ferguson on Saturday, August 23, 2014. Adams gives his impressions and experiences from the heart of the organizing and protests against police violence that have been going on for over two weeks. On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed, black, eighteen-year-old was murdered by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
Thanks for listening, and remember, don't hate the media, be the media!
Submitted by Coalition of Concerned Residents of Monroe County on Tue, 2014-08-26 15:16
Open Letter to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks Regarding Rochester's Homeless Crisis
Dear County Executive Maggie Brooks,
Monroe County has a moral and, under Article 17 of the New York State Constitution, a legal obligation to care for all its residents especially our street homeless. We implore you to reverse the lock out of homeless persons from the Civic Center Garage until Monroe County puts into place a permanent plan to house all homeless.
On Thursday, August 14, 2014, Rochester held its own National Moment of Silence Against Police Brutality in Washington Square Park. The local vigil was organized via Facebook by Kelly Scott of Rochester. It was in response to the recent deaths of Michael Brown; Eric Garner, who was killed July 17 on Staten Island; and John Crawford III, who was shot Aug. 5 in Beavercreek, Ohio. All are African-American males who died at the hands of white police officers.
Submitted by Julie Gelfand (photos: Julie Gelfand) on Fri, 2014-08-22 22:18
On August 20, the owners of the Civic Center Garage in Rochester, NY decided that after many years of making this indoor heated space open and accessible to the homeless who had no other solution for shelter, they would enforce measures to keep the homeless out. That evening, representatives from the staff of the House of Mercy (Rochester, New York), St. Joseph's House of Hospitality, and others chose to protest the move by refusing to leave the garage.
The wars in Syria, Gaza and Iraq aren't isolated battles. They are linked by an overarching policy of Imperialism primarily by the US. Scott Williams and Judy Bello explain, followed by questions and answers.
Even in rain and a thunderstorm about 120 people turned out for the third rally for peace in Gaza and an end to the Israeli occupation and apartheid-like conditions of Palestine. This week's demonstrators were joined by local Jews in the Jewish Voice for Peace. The group reminds us that actions of the Israeli government do not represent the Jewish religion. On this same day the US government authorized an additional $225 million in military aid to Israel.
Has political activisim in the US reached an impasse since the end of Occupy? Tom Nomad, author of The Master's Tools and other anti-political books at LBC Publishing talks about these and other issues.
In May of 2014, What's Hot aired an interview with Reverend Lewis Stewart. Rev. Stewart talked about United Christian Leadership Ministries--a new group he formed to fight for social justice. Rev. Stewart was involved in a push to get an independent civilian review board in the early 90's before becoming a prison chaplain. Howard Eagle engages Rev. Stewart about the past and the future of Rochester.
On April 29, 2014, Rochester Indymedia journalist Ted Forsyth and a few other witnesses testified in a court case in Dewitt--just outside of Syracuse--on behalf of John Amidon. Specifically, Amidon was arrested for attempted trespass and wearing a mask (the grim reaper) at an anti-drone demonstration last May. John got up on a barricade and was hauled off of it by Officer Brad Baker. The prosecution claimed Amidon was a potentially violent protester who was jumping the barricade in order to get others to follow. John got on the barricade to do a little dance for the crowd. Forsyth took video of his arrest and Amidon's being hauled off the barricade. The video was used in the trial multiple times.
On April 30th, the next morning, Kathy Manley--Amidon's attorney--sent this email:
"Hi Ted - If you haven't heard yet, we won on both charges. The victory may well not have happened without your video - it was really instrumental - we watched it probably 6 times during the trial and then the judge watched it again while he was deliberating. Without that the judge would likely have believed the cop claiming it looked like John was trying to/ about to cross the barrier.
"You were a great witness. Perhaps you shouldn't have been so sure about how many officers pulled him off them wall but it was an easy mistake to make, and no big deal. Thanks SO MUCH! - Kathy"
In more recent news, Judy Bello reports that, "Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced this evening after being convicted of Contempt of Court for violating the Order of Protection taken out by Col. Evans to keep her (and the rest of us- there are 50 outstanding) away from Hancock Base where the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars has been protesting for the last several years. She was sentenced to 1 year in Jail and a $1000 fine for walking in the road in front of the base during a demonstration despite the fact that she came as an observer and was just taking pictures. She was sent to jail immediately despite the fact that her attorney, Lance Salisbury, has made a request for a stay which will be reviewed next week."
This is a video of a talk titled "Everyday Revolutions" that took place at this year's Left Forum. Speakers included Leina Bocar, Dario Azzellini, Diego Ibañez, & Marina Sitrin. The talk happened on May 31, 2014.
Millions of people around the globe have been organizing alternative value systems and social relationships to those of capitalism -- revolutionary alternatives -- still within capitalism, but against it -- aiming to overcome it. These alternatives are part of a process of creating everyday revolutions -- beginning to prefigure our desired future while still in the present. These everyday revolutions are one part of a larger anti-capitalist movement. In this panel we will discuss what some of these everyday revolutions look like, as defined by people in movement around the world. The discussion will range from the examples of recuperated workplaces, from Latin America to Europe; the new global movements and the focus on creating horizontal social relationships and the day to day organizing in Brooklyn for housing and self organization. There is no blueprint or academic framework that once met means revolution has been achieved, but rather we see it as an ongoing and changing process in which everyday revolutions is a key element.