Working-class and Homeless Organizing Alliance call for a boycott
*Editor’s note: The following statement was published on WHOA’s Facebook page around 4 p.m. “We strongly support the Homeless Union of Greensboro but we would like to make clear we are not directly affiliated with them. HUG was not aware of our call for a boycott until today and has openly addressed themselves as being neutral toward this boycott, which we respect and acknowledge.”
GREENSBORO, N.C.– City Council has been playing a shell game with the lives of its most vulnerable residents, passing and repealing a bevy of different harmful ordinances that would and have restricted the rights of homeless and impoverished people in the city and serve to criminalize their existence. On July 24, the Council passed a bill that they knew was unconstitutional and could not stand up to legal scrutiny. On Aug. 14, they are prepared to pass another bill, this one concerning so-called “harassment,” that will make harder the lives of people who are already struggling to get by. These are laws that target poor, working class and homeless individuals, and will likely be unduly over-enforced against people of color, as so many laws are.
It is clear from the public hearings, city council meetings, newspaper articles and emails sent to the City Council that the main push for these ordinances is not coming from ordinary, working-class Greensboro residents, but local businesses, without the interests of the rest of the city considered. Our elected City Council has ignored the widespread demands of their constituents calling for the end of these ordinances and the pursuit of more like it, instead listening to a small group of business owners, developers, and landlords who stand to profit from the unjust ordinances designed to push the homeless out of their own city. Indeed, most of these business owners, based on their own comments, want worse and more draconian measures taken than even those in our legislature could imagine. Some businesses seem to believe anything less than a full disappearing of the homeless from downtown is detrimental to their business.
We think this cruel attitude towards the poorest among us, and the elitist corrupt backroom dealings driving this unjust process is what should be detrimental to their business. And so, we’re looking to take action to make it so. We are calling on the larger Greensboro community to join us in boycotting the businesses listed below. We intend to take additional measures, from picketing to writing targeted reviews on Yelp, Google, and Facebook platforms, to make it clear that we won’t put up with this sort of hateful and harmful behavior from our so-called leaders and the businesses that line their pockets.
Greensboro doesn’t need to criminalize poverty, we need to work to make the city work for everyone.
-We demand that City Council repeal all “aggressive solicitation,” panhandling, and anti-homeless ordinances.
-We demand that the City Council creates a Poverty Commission, with more than 50 percent of those involved being under the poverty line
-We demand that City Council enacts a “Homeless Bill of Rights,” like the one enacted in Duluth, Minnesota, or, even better one that takes the broad strokes from that and customizes it for Greensboro.
-We demand that all Greensboro residents have their right to public space and more importantly the right to exist.
-We demand a living wage of at least $15/hour for all Greensboro residents.
-We demand that the City of Greensboro establish an eviction legal defense fund for all residents facing eviction.
If the businesses below wish for us to break our boycott, then we need to hear them publicly support these demands, rather than continue to scapegoat the entire homeless community and work to harm the least fortunate among us.
White and Wood Restaurant
Cheesecakes by Alex
Antlers & Astronauts
Vintage to Vogue
Working-class and Homeless Organizing Alliance