Black Lives Matter & Medical Students Join #Right2Rest Protest

January 26, 2016 Sacramento, CA Photo by Dylan Donnelly

The #Right2Rest occupation at Sacramento City Hall has evolved into a broad coalition of activists and concerned citizens alike. January 26, day 50 of the occupation, several hundred people turned out to protest the camping ban and flooded city hall public comments with demands to repeal the anti-camping ordinance.  City Hall was at max capacity, turning many away to express their disapproval of the ordinance outside.

Black Lives Matter Sacramento released this statement:

Black Lives Matter Sacramento joins the Occupation for the Right to Rest on Tuesday January 26th for a Die-In & Protest followed by flooding our City Council meeting for public comments.
WITHOUT SLEEP, YOU WILL DIE. The city of Sacramento has made it a crime to sleep.
So the homeless are being arrested if they close their eyes too long, and that is disgustingly inhumane.
Our city has gentrified the hell out of Oak Park and Midtown, making it hard to live and creating more homelessness in the Sacramento area. This has dramatically effected people of color.
Then once you become homeless, where can you sleep? Where can you sit? Is this all for the new arena?
The City of Sacramento, City Council, and Mayor Johnson have made it CRIMINAL to be POOR and/or HOMELESS.
There have been activists on the ground for weeks. One evening 9 homeless activists were attacked by 53 police officers, resulting in excessive force and unnecessary arrests.
This is where our tax dollars are going.

There’s also a boycott of Sacramento underway until the ordinance is repealed.

#NoShopSac In global solidarity with “The Occupation for The Right To Rest” COMMUNITY DINNER PROJECT protesters and Anonymous #OpRight2Rest proclaim to Boycott Sacramento California Travel, Lodging, Goods and Services until compassionate solutions can be provided for its suffering homeless population.

The protesters and their supporters are taking it a step further with a local boycott of specific businesses that have denied homeless people service and/or proclaim support for the ordinance.

One great way to go about this is to ask the business for their stance on the #Right2Rest. If they would deny people the human right to sleep, then let them know you will be spending your money elsewhere. -James Faygo Clark, protest organizer

Paula Lomazzi, director of the Homeless Organizing Committee, isn’t part of the protest, but she supports the homeless fighting for their rights. Her group is also challenging the ordinance, citing federal court opinions indicating that laws punishing people for being homeless are unconstitutional.

“I don’t understand why there is the law against people’s very existence, there’s not enough shelter, there’s not enough housing, so to punish people for being too poor to afford rent is pretty cruel,” said Lomazzi.

This weekend  the Community Dinner Project has organized a march at the State Capitol.

From the event page:

Since December 8th 2015 a group of activists, both homeless and housed, have been occupying Sacramento City Hall in protest of the Cities “Unlawful Camping” ordinance (12.52.030). The first three weeks werenice. We had established a safe zone for people to rest. We also had a food and donation table up every day. This allowed us to help distribute food and essential items like blankets, tarps, jackets, clothes, and toiletries.

During this time we had begun to help people stay warm in sub freezing temperatures, get much needed rest, feed the hungry, and connect with services. This was all done by volunteers, mostly homeless, and as a part of our protest. On January 2nd, just after midnight, that all changed. The City responded to our peaceful demonstration with over 50 police officers, mostly in riot gear, to raid our protest encampment and arrest protesters.

From that day on we have been under constant assault by Sacramento PD’s constant “sleep sweeps” and confiscation of personal property.There have been nearly 60 arrests, with some of them resulting in injuries to protesters in the nearly 80 days we have been occupying the space outside city hall. This has lead to full and emotionally charged council meetings every Tuesday at 6pm.

Now it’s time to take to the streets and march!! After enduring the weather, police harassment and violence, sleep deprivation and loss of property we remain strong. There has been some small progress, with meeting with the city council, a large amount of media coverage (both main stream and independent), and a growing list of supporters. Every Sunday we will hold a march to show support for the #Right2Rest Occupation!

Thank you for your support and #Solidarity!

Join the march on Saturday and donate to the #Right2Rest occupation here.