Depending on where you live, scenes like the one above may or may not be something you’re used to seeing: community groups feeding the hungry or homeless, picking up where government programs can often no longer provide aid to an increasing pool of people in need.
To most people, these groups appear to be doing a good deed. Would it surprise you to hear that in some cities, this simple act is considered a crime? Members of the Orlando, Florida chapter of Food Not Bombs were recently arrested for providing free food to needy people in a public park.
Many parts of Florida have been hit exceptionally hard by the foreclosure crisis, and this translated to thousands of families who have been left homeless and destitute by the financial shenanigans which have rocked our country to it’s core. While our nation’s politicians use the former middle class as a political football, people are going hungry, and criminalizing the people who are stepping up to the proverbial plate to help seems like a complete absence of logic.
All across the world, from Libya to London, disenfranchised and impoverished youth are rising up in revolt against what they see as a government- enforced inequality that leaves them with no future. We cheer the Libyans, while many of us decry the London gangs, but what are the real differences? Each of these group actions can be traced back to a broken system where some classes have incredibly limited resources, yet who see the people in power profit wildly at their expense.
I will never condone the looting and destruction of neighborhood businesses, but I do think its important to try to understand why London is seeing these riots, and to make the connections between that horrible affair and the criminalization of poverty here at home.
For me, “home” is only a day’s drive from those Orlando parks. My state currently has the 3rd highest foreclosure rate in the US. I realize Eco Etsy has members from across the globe, and I would be very interested to learn what your communities think about this crisis. Thank you for sharing.