Now that Blogger has recently introduced its new beta version of itself, I have taken the leap and, created a brand new blog using it, which means this is my final blog post to this particular version.
The new blog is now Norsehorse's Home Turf, which is the one I will be doing my varied personal type of blogging at from here on out.
In Springfield Massachusetts, Homeless Advocates Find Fault With Police Action
Last November 17th - 20th (2005) a particularly large group from Vermont attended the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) mental health advocacy conference held in Hartford, Connecticut last year (blog report, here [via Beyond Vermont State Hospital (VSH) blog; part 1 only, never got around to posting more]).
A portion of that group traveled on the Amtrak Vermonter train both to and from Hartford, which I was a part of as well. When the train was passing throughout the Springfield (MA.) area, one could clearly see the various well established encampments of people living homeless along the railroad tracks.
Although I had wanted to take photo's as we passed by them, I was not quick enough and thus did not get a chance to do so. Yet at the same time, I also found myself being deeply concerned about how such photos might get used if I had been able to take some and put them up online or share them with others via e-mail, especially since I would not want to aid anyone who could possibly then recognize the area and either chase those people out, steal or seize their belongings, destroy their encampments, harass or even beat as well as potentially murder them.
Besides having known what it was like for many people living homeless out there already anyway, reading a news article published within this morning's (Sunday, August 13, 2006) edition of the The Republican concerning reports of police in Springfield Massachusetts making concerted efforts at photographing people living homeless in the area -- including by wanting to take photos of people while they are seeking services in service agencies including soup kitchens and the like (here: Homeless advocates fault police), now I know roughly why as well as what it was that concerned me so much back then about taking photos of those people living homeless and their encampments I had seen within that particular area.
The article reports on how various people associated with advocacy and homeless service organizations -- including Open Pantry Community Services and Arise for Social Justice whom serve people living homeless within the area as well as the Washington D.C.-based National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) -- are in an uproar about what the police are doing and, rightly so.
*Update* (insert): Yet another article, this one published within yesterday's (Saturday, August 12, 2006) edition concerns how Springfield City Councilor Domenic J. Sarno has called for a meeting to deal with what he said is the problem of homeless people and panhandlers bothering businesses and pedestrians downtown, including and especially to discuss exploring the use of certain solutions such as rounding up people with mental problems or those abusing drugs or alcohol in order to bring them to treatment facilities, here [via The Republican].
There is a documented relationship between increased police actions and the increasing numbers of hate crimes/violent acts against homeless people. "It seems that disturbed violent people take a cue from their cities' responses to homelessness and become emboldened with more violent attacks if the city has portrayed homeless people as the cause of unemployment, decreasing property values, or vacant storefronts," said Michael Stoops, acting executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.
For seven years (1999-2005), the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) has tracked a frightening increase in crimes targeting homeless people perpetrated by young people and severely disturbed individuals. These are well-documented violent attacks on a vulnerable population that result in injury and in many cases death.
Advocates from around the country have cited the relationship between municipal actions to restrict visibility of homeless people and hate crimes/violence. This overly broad enforcement of the law or laws passed by city governments specifically targeting homeless people are documented in The National Coalition for the Homeless and The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty's report entitled, A Dream Denied: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities (January 2006). The report also ranks the 20 "meanest" cities in the U.S. for violating the civil rights of homeless people.
The entire 2005 Hate Crimes report is available online, here [via NCH Website].
It certainly is reassuring to me that we are living in the land of freedom, liberty and opportunity, because I would hate to envision what it would be like if we were not.
*Note*: made a couple of, mostly minor, edits for a the purposes of clarification and readability; plus added some additional content in the form of an inserted rolling update (now finished); last updated on Sunday, August 13, 2006 at 5:32 PM [EDT].
Won Tickets to The Coup Concert @ The Independent in S.F. Tomorrow (Saturday, 8/12th)
Am listening to the weekly live Bagel Radio480 Minutes show (starts at 9 a.m. Pacific Time and runs until 5 p.m. PT), an Internet radio broadcast produced by DJ Ted Leibowitz aka Bagel Ted via Live365.
Just a little while after I first tuned into his show today (Friday, August 11th), Ted did a ticket giveaway contest for free tickets to The Coup concert in San Francisco tomorrow evening (Saturday, August 12th) at The Independent (Doors 8:30 PM | Show 9 PM), which was a question for the first person to answer correctly (who is the lead singer?) in order to win the tickets and, then he played one of their songs.
The way it works is people can IM (Instant Message) Ted during his live show via various IM tools.
As it turned out, I was the first person to have answered correctly and therefore won the tickets, to which Ted humorously asked if I would be flying out to attend the concert.
The Coup - We Are The Ones
[via YouTube, here (posted by vtocce); via The Coup MySpace Music page, here]
In return, since I would not be able to afford to do so of course, I replied by asking him to try to contact the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness and offer the tickets to them to give away to a street vendor(s) of Street Sheet or otherwise some person living homeless in the area that he knew and felt comfortable interacting with, etc.
Ted liked the idea and has e-mailed the coalition in an attempt to initiate contact with them. In addition, I also e-mailed the coalition as well as then later calling them, although I am not sure I was very successful, since the person on the phone was not so understanding or cooperative (giving me a hard time as if it was my fault, etc.).
Thank you Ted for being such a good sport about it and making the effort to try to connect with the coalition concerning the tickets.
Anyway, as naive as it may sound, for my part I let the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness (CoH) know of my intentions and, am somewhat hopeful that they will make contact with Ted, get the tickets and give them away to someone who either currently is living homeless or formerly lived so.
*Update* (insert): Received email(s) from the editor of the Street Sheet that they are indeed working hard on hooking up either two street newspaper vendors whom are known to be into hip-hop music or otherwise a spoken word artist who lives homeless and, while not a vendor, would no doubt greatly enjoy the chance to see some Bay Area colleagues perform.
Being such short notice, there was a lot to work out on all the various ends, including having the information that Ted needed to notify the club in time of who would be claiming tickets, etc.
Yet, between the efforts of Bagel Ted and those involved at SF CoH, within a relatively short time span everything was pulled together enough so that a couple of deserving people will get to attend the concert and enjoy themselves [end of update insert].
By the way, make sure to check out The CoupMySpace Music page, here (includes four MP3's to listen to).
For additional information regarding Bagel Radio, be sure to check out the Website and blog.
BAGeL Radio Wins CMJ Specialty Music Director of the Year 2005 Award
Prestigious Award for Internet Radio Station
October 5, 2005 ~ San Francisco, Calif.
ABOUT BAGEL RADIO
Launched in February of 2003, respected Internet radio station BAGeL Radio plays indie rock noise pop with doses of electronic music, hip hop, 60s psychedelia, some political commentary, band profiles, band interviews, and the occasional Serge Gainsbourg song. BAGeL Radio is programmed by Ted Leibowitz, who after a decade of managing bands and running night clubs, got back to his roots in DJ-ing, bringing new music to the record-buying public via the Internet and live club work. Ted launched BAGeL Radio to share his enviable record collection with the world all day, every day. Since its inception, BAGeL Radio has showcased thousands of independent artists, spurring sales to internet radio listeners across the country (192 US municipalities) and the world over (89 countries). Ted's BAGeL Radio podcasts are available at http://bagelradio.blogspot.com.
*Note*: Above photo of The Coup album cover Pick A Bigger Weapon (via The Coup Official Website, Extras section); made a couple of, mostly minor, edits for the purposes of clarification and readability; last updated on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 at 5:44 PM [EDT].