Skip to main content

Suzanne Hastings at the Community Dinner Project city hall occupation

A piece on the fifth page in the Jan-Feb, 2016, issue of Homeward Street Journal has gotten my attention. It’s titled “Rude Awakenings” by Suzanne Hastings. It tells of Hastings’ efforts camping at City Hall with homeless people as part of the “Community Dinner Project city hall occupation.” The “occupation,” which goes by several names, I believe, including Occupy City Hall, City Hall Occupation and The Right to Rest, pushes for the repeal or invalidation of the City of Sacramento’s anti-camping ordinance.

Hastings has spent several nights camping with homeless colleagues during a period of intense cold and rain. One night, December 20 -- that Hasting calls “the night from hell” -- is given particular attention in her article. She writes:
“…you fight to protect your gear. You fight to keep your tarp from blowing away. It’s a war between you and the wind. You’re in the trenches. The wind is firing overhead and, like in all wars, you must keep vigilant.” 
Suzanne Hastings puts me in an ambivalent place. I am both amused and admiring of her colorful writing and fearful for her well-being as she combats the elements.

In the middle of her piece is this:
I asked myself, since when did America become so inhuman to its citizens? The ones who have been priced out by gentrification; whose jobs have been outsourced; those who are forced to escape an abusive environment; and those who age out of foster care. This thought, like the wind and the rain, kept me awake. And even if I sleep indoors, it will jab at me like the trickle of icy rainwater or the fingers of the wind.
Hastings’ effort is a bit of a stunt. She has a home; she spent nights at City Hall by choice. Unlike the homeless people who camp near her, Hastings can evoke an escape clause at any point. She can simply grab her belongings and toddle off to wherever it is that she lives. Nonetheless, her effort is valiant, noble and, for her, enlightening.

I would want the city council members and declared mayoral candidates to do something akin to what Hastings has done. I would want them to camp out around City Hall to get a taste of what it is like. I would want them to get a little ragged and go incognito to Loaves & Fishes for lunch; and later, I would want them to hear a sermon at Union Gospel Mission. If the council members and mayoral candidates are good people they would have an interesting time. They would learn something that they couldn’t learn otherwise.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Mission Five Years Ago, And Today

I have spent the night the past two weeks plus at the Union Gospel Mission and am having an excellent time of it -- not only regards to sleeping in the dorm that the mission has, but also listening to the sermons that are delivered in the early evening. The Christmas music that is performed is also splendid. [And the food -- the FOOD -- has been fantastic during my stay so far! A happier Tom there couldn't be.] I chatted with a pal last night about The Mish – about how things were about five years ago when we both used the mission’s services frequently, and how thing are, today.
Five years ago, there were a lot scuffles between the guys when the front gate was opened in the early afternoon and in the area near the contact window there were some brawls as guys fought over where guys were in line to get a bed in the dorm.
Nowadays, however, the mission is very much a peaceful place both on the grounds of the facility and and out on the street.
I do not know what transformative eve…

Homeless Sacramentans lose case that would have given them the right to set up outdoor camping

8/11/13 I certainly give attorneys Mark Merin and Cat Williams credit for pursuing a case against the city of Sacramento to give homeless Sacramentans the right to set up tents and a campsite. I wanted them to win their case, but they didn't. They lost it.

BUT, it is also necessary to look at the particulars of the case that Merin and Williams brought and see that the situation underlying the court case was not very compelling.

During the period eight years ago when 22 homeless campers set up their tents and brought in supplies to Mark Merin's vacant lot at C Street, near 12th, there was loud noise and plenty of other mayhem. Drug dealers were on the street encouraging buys from the campers. The Hernandez couple that lived in a house nearby were constantly being taunted by the campers, disrupting their lives.

Per always with Safe Ground camps, calm was deserted for the sake of boisterousness.

Leader John Kraintz and the other Safe Grounders would claim to have signed strict a…

After a Three-Month Hiatus, a Fall from a Ladder & a Broken Wrist, Evangelist Jimmy Roughton Returns to Union Gospel Mission to Preach

After being away from Union Gospel Mission for a quarter of a year, Jimmy Roughton returned to preach at UGM on the cold night of December 13 -- despite suffering [a little? a lot? dunno.] from a fall from a ladder that likely immediately preceded a significant injury (a wrist that was broken).


It was good to see his group from Capital Free Will Baptist Church up on the pulpit, with Roughton rough-and-ready to seduce and inspire the happily-captivate crowd at UGM.


Roughton told us in his opening words that he was now in his 27th year coming to the mission.

I recall the first preaching I had heard from Roughton on June 13, 2009. At that time and up to the current time, Roughton is the only preacher I had ever heard evoke Pascal's Wager -- which is something he would do, occasionally thereafter at the mission. He would evoke Pascal's wager, yet again, last night [12/13/17].


Pascal's wager

Last night, Jimmy evoked Pascal's Wager. He did so near the end of his talk, citing …