On Saturday, a Boulder March and Rally for Homeless Justice will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Boulder County Courthouse lawn at 14th and Pearl streets. A symbolic sleep-in and community potluck will follow.
The event is being held in solidarity with the “One Nation Working Together” rally in Washington, D.C., which will demand jobs and help for the unemployed and homeowners facing foreclosure, cuts in military spending to fund community needs, an end to the current U.S. wars in the Middle East, and renewable energy at home.
The D.C. rally has the support of dozens of labor unions, and community, peace, justice, civil rights, student and environmental groups.
The Boulder march and rally also emphasizes economic justice, particularly for the most destitute of Boulder’s residents — the homeless population.
The city of Boulder has been giving them tickets for sleeping outdoors at night. Local attorney David B. Harrison has been defending them in court for more than a year. Recently, the ACLU got involved. Together, the ACLU and Harrison filed an appeal in the case of David Madison, a young man who got a ticket for sleeping in a sleeping bag on an 11 degree night.
Here’s a quote from the appeal:
“The mere act of searching out a public place and seeking shelter from the elements at night, whether it be under a discarded newspaper, a threadbare blanket, or a tattered sleeping-bag, exposes an individual to criminal liability under Boulder’s ordinance. It matters not that the act is done out of necessity, and in response to the involuntary human need for warmth, sleep, and protection from the forces of nature; and, it matters not that the essential freedom to move about and remain in public places is perhaps the most fundamental and valuable liberty that homeless individuals enjoys.”
Organizers, Harrison and the ACLU believe Boulder’s ordinance violates the U.S. Constitution because it cruelly punishes people for something they cannot help.
Rally organizers are asking the city to provide adequate places for people to sleep indoors and outdoors and to decriminalize the human need for sleep.
Come out this Saturday and support all people who are suffering from economic hardship during this epic recession.
Carolyn Bninski is associated with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.