Radness in your radius – radical spaces update

Compiled by Jesse D. Palmer

As usual, as soon as we took the 2018 Slingshot organizer to the printing press, folks started emailing us with updates and additions to the contact list. Let us know if you see things we should correct or add. Due to computer problems, we have been unable to update the on-line contact list (or even fix an error that eliminated all of Europe) for the last 6 months. We hope this will be fixed soon. The new website is slingshotcollective.org.

The Aquadome – Kirksville, MO

A volunteer-run DIY venue and art space that hosts events. “It is, unfortunately, not a water park.” 120 S Main St, Kirksville, MO 63501

Aboveground Zine Library – New Orleans, LA

They were closed for 6 years and now they have a new location at a radical / self help bookstore and flower shop (!) that has been nice to lend them some space. Open Wed-Sat 11-7 pm and Sun 11-5 pm closed Mon and Tues. c/o Rubber Library 3240 Dauphine St. New Orleans, LA 70117, 504-945-4662.

Appalshop/Boone Youth Drop-In Center – Whitesburg, KY

A non-profit arts and media project in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields. They have video training facilities, a community radio station, a 150-seat theater and an art gallery space that hosts community projects. 91 Madison Ave, Whitesburg, KY 41858 606-633-0108 appalshop.org

The Plantory – Lexington, KY

A coworking space that rents work and meeting spaces to various non-profits. Our contact recommended it so if you visit, let us know what you think. 501 W 6th St Suite 250, Lexington, KY 40508 859-255-6999 plantory.org

Good Life Center – Harborside, ME

A five acre homestead farm that promotes “simple and sustainable living skills, social and economic justice, organic gardening and the non-exploitation of animals.” It was the home of Helen & Scott Nearing who promoted sustainable living starting in the 1930s. Someone suggested we include this in the contact list and it’s hard to know if it is a good fit – it is part museum and they host some educational projects. Let us know what you think. 372 Harborside Rd.Harborside, Maine, 04642 goodlife.org

Diggers Books & Zines – Prince Edward County, ON, Canada

They sell books and zines on radical topics and they host events. 2569 County Rd. 13, Prince Edward County, ON, K0K 2T0, Canada 613-920-4914, diggersbookshop.wordpress.com

Andrými – Reykjavik, Iceland

A new radical social center. Iðnó Vonastræti 3 Reykjavik, Iceland, andrymi.org

Updates to the 2018 Organizer and news bits

• The Che Cafe in San Diego – which had been in an epic battle for survival with the University of California – won and now has a stable lease!

• Peoples’ Action for Rights and community in Eureka, Calif. closed but left behind a super thoughtful communique about running a radical space amidst the horrors of capitalism. It will be included in the on-line version of this article:

RIGHT HERE!!!

 

This has been difficult to write. We’ve been telling people vaguely, but here goes:

PARC IS CLOSING SEPTEMBER 7, 2017

 

There are many reasons, but before we get into what they are, we want to emphasize the need for more places like PARC to be created. And maintained.

 

PARC (Peoples’ Action for Rights & Community) has existed for 10 years- all of our work has been volunteer and all of our funding and supplies have been from community donations (including our own pockets). We have no 501(C)(3), no statistics, no lists of all the people who have come through the door, and no purse strings (or other strings) that keep us quiet or prevent us from risking arrest, organizing with whomever we want, and doing and supporting whatever actions we find worthy in defense of the people, the Earth, and the critters. Not one donation we get stops us from choosing to publicly take positions on government, police, prisons, community, homelessness, laws, businesses, racism, Palestine, etc; nor have we ever signed an agreement with anyone that precludes us from opposing the concepts, systems, structures, and people who we find to be harmful or threatening to dignity, fairness, and life.

 

We are proud of our stances against such things as capitalism, racism, police, borders, war, GMO’s, death penalty, and animal abuse. We don’t change to attract a donor or government, and therein lies our integrity. That, plus our commitment to care for people every day, morning to night, has kept us supported for this long.

 

We are so grateful to the principled and generous people and organizations who have supported PARC with money and all other types of donations, invitations to events, letters in our defense (remember those?), volunteer time, hours of dishwashing, long distance solidarity, artwork, animal care, vehicles and rides, home-made and special event foods, college/university internships, and spiritual and political backing.

 

Why are we closing?

PARC has been in its current location for 8 ½ of our 10 years. In Oct 2016, new owners bought the property from our very supportive landlord. Our new lease guaranteed our tenancy for a year, but the new landlords have been trying to get us out since shortly after they became the owners. (Unfortunately for them, we do a little tenants’ rights work, so we know how to defend ourselves.)

Now that it is almost a year, we will close PARC on Sept 7th and take a few weeks to clear out the space.

 

For those of you asking “What’s going to happened next?” that’s what we are trying to figure out. Over the 10 years that PARC has existed, the inequalities of capitalism have gotten worse, and more and more people are suffering. More people have been pushed into poverty and have greater difficulty meeting their daily survival needs. The impact on PARC has meant more time, effort, and resources devoted to helping people to just get by, and less time doing the political work to end the conditions that are putting people on the streets. 10 years of working here ‘as’ PARC has provided a wealth of experience; we have learned a lot; and in this period of having to shut down in this location, we have the opportunity to evaluate our responsibilities moving forward, committed to working for justice and social change.

 

To the people who rely on PARC for survival, for respite, for shelter from the storm, we send you these words of encouragement:

Keep your heads up. Welcome new cycles in your lives. Even with so much against you, you persist and survive and help people who are more vulnerable than you. Work on your health and the health of the people around you. Take care of the land and the water. ORGANIZE so things will be better. You are the experts on how you’re being treated by the police, businesses, housed community people, organizations, city government, etc. Use what you know and learn about other movements from the streets. Understand that people who bring you food or give you a blanket want to help stop the oppression you are experiencing. Talk with them about that. ORGANIZE so things will be better. Love, PARC

 

Volunteers who become familiar with the people and the rhythm in the chaos and can come on a regular basis are critical. Countless volunteers have helped PARC over the years. We will not try and list all the names, for fear of leaving someone out, but everyone’s contributions were part of PARC’s spirit and success.

 

Each month we write an email asking for money donations to pay bills and rent. Here is the last one, which is a great explanation and her/history of PARC.https://peopleproject.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/parcs-presentation-to-veterans-for-peace/

 

Some of the projects you may remember or have participated in, largely based out of PARCinclude:

End the War on the Poor weekly demonstrations and dinner;

PEOPLE PROJECT Good Morning Neighbors Breakfast Program;

Days of Action Against Police Brutality;

the 33-night winter Safe Sleeping Space at Eureka City Hall;

the monthly radio show, Radical Rap;

a community produce table;

5pm for the 5 Demands weekly informational demos in support of the CA prisoner hunger strikers and against long term solitary confinement;

dog rescue + fostering and adopting;

Music for the People concerts at Clarke Plaza;

guerrilla film showings about the MOVE 9 political prisoners in efforts to win their release;

Know Your Rights workshops;

many street music and speaking events with PARC’s portable sound system;

Grub n Grab events;

a summer film screening and discussion series;

the Eureka Fair Wage Act;

lots of public dinners;

Jail Support;

Richardson Grove Action Now organizing;

and Homeless Persons Memorial Day marches & gatherings.

 

PARC has been an important resource center and organizing hub for 10 years.

 

PLEASE: Call PARC (707.442.7465) or email peoplesarc@gmail.com, if you would like to get together and talk about what you could do in the near future to prevent huge gaps in relief, food, bathrooms, showers, safe(r) space, computer use, phone use, mail service, legal support, etc. Without community action, these gaps will exist for people living on the street and for housed and unhoused people who need space, use of office equipment, and/or advocacy, for myriad reasons.

 

We want to talk with people about how to work a place like PARC, or a space that fills one or more of the needs that PARC has met, and how to establish this space and keep it going. There can and should be multiple places and methods that take care of community needs. Simple and consistent acts of creativity and dedication can do so much.

 

PARC needs to strategize with donors where to bring the clothes, food, and towel donations that we usually get. It is unacceptable for all donations to go to well-funded places (e.g. Eureka Rescue Mission, Betty Chinn) where only “certain” people can access them, and most can not.

 

Please consider the following needs:

 

WATER:

While we are not in the desert, or in scalding heat (on the coast), all of us require water to live. PARC has had water available inside and outside for many years. Where are the pubic and accessible water fountains in Eureka? There is water for dogs in bowls outside of some businesses (which were glad for), but no water dispensers for humans. Humboldt County Public Health and the people of Eureka and Humboldt should be insisting on potable water availability. The United Nations, after visiting Sacramento, reported that a lack of available potable water -and a lack of bathrooms- are human rights violations.)

MAIL: People need mail and street addresses for just about everything. To get a job, a driver’s license, a bank account, a phone, for court mail, for personal letters, for government mail, and on and on. PARC has had a very active mail service. The opportunities and relief that having an address provides are incredible. The Betty Kwan Chinn Center no longer allows people to receive mail there unless they are enrolled in a particular program (and space is limited). Brian Olsen (of St. Joe’s) is stationed at St. Vincent de Paul’s Free Meal and doesallow people to receive mail there. Unfortunately, for some people who are trying to stay away from “drama”drugs or who do not feel comfortable at Free Meal, mail service in that location will not work for them. The Eureka Rescue Mission is so prohibitive as far as who can use the services and who cannot, I believe only men in the Mission “Program” can get mail there, and women, not so much. We know about a lot of corruption by the Mission, including important things like medications, being stolen by the Mission, so we would not recommend having your mail sent there.

 

PHONE: Believe it or not, everyone does not have a cell phone. People need to make calls, look up numbers, sometimes get assistance navigating phone bureaucracies, put a contact number on an application, and connect with family and friends. There’s nothing like having a number where someone can call you back.

 

OUTLET TO CHARGE PHONES AND OTHER ELECTRONICS: Why not have outlets throughout the city where people can charge? The more there are, the less congregated people will be around one?

 

MENSTRUAL PADS, TAMPONS, UNDERWEAR: People who need menstrual supplies can get about 8 pads or tampons from the Eureka Rescue Mission Women’s side. You have to ring the bell and wait for someone to come to the sidewalk. Maybe people want to put free pad and tampon dispensers in public bathrooms? (Wait great idea, except NO PUBLIC BATHROOMS in Eureka!) folks, please put some free pad and tampon dispensers some where , maybe in a set up like a little free library.

 

SHOWER: Taking a shower and using a bathroom (don’t you usually do both?) are probably the most valued daily resources that PARC has offered. Individuals could take a shower every 3-4 days (1 or 2 showers a week). We want people to not smell bad, to get employed, to show up to work, to look a certain way (or stay out of sight), but Betty Chinn’s showers seem to be so scarce and randomly canceled that they may as well not be happening. PARC has been giving showers within a 6 hour time frame every day. People don’t have to sign up, or show up early in the morning to get in line. They don’t have to take a shower in a gym style big shower room with a bunch of other people. And they don’t have to rush to do everything (go to the bathroom, clean in the shower, shave, brush teeth) in record time. People take their time and before their shower, we find some clean clothes to change into. Without PARC, will there be showers for homeless people in Eureka?

 

BATHROOM: How can people complain about poop and pee in public when there are practically no public restrooms? PARC has been the most open, most available public restroom in Eureka. After 5pm , people have to use the bathroom. Laws, locked doors, snobby businesses, and “for customers only” signs do not change that. When the library is open, people may use the bathroom. The County Jail visitor waiting area (lovely place) no longer allows people to use the public bathroom unless they are going to visit someone in jail! Does County Public Health across the way offer a public bathroom? We need more bathrooms that are accessible to all, all the time. A place to go is a necessity and right. Until you can force the City of Eureka to make their park bathrooms ADA legal and open them up, individuals, businesses, and organizations need to open their restrooms to folks. We have found that white vinegar is an easy, non-toxic, and affordable cleaner for our public bathroom.

 

DETOX & HOSPITAL VISITS: PARC does not have a detox facility, but PARC helps people do what is required to get into the Detox house in Eureka. First, a person must call Detox,sometimes every morning, until there is a bed available. When a bed is available, the person must get to St. Joe’s Emergency Room, wait to be seen (often for hours), then get medically cleared. Then they usually need to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy and get to Detox on 14th and C Streets. Everyone must get to Detox within an hour of being seen in the ER. We drive people to the hospital, then when they are done, we bring them across town. It is often impossible for people otherwise. This process is going to change, possibly in September 2017, when the re-purposed MAC opens as a detox with a doctor on site.

 

Rides to the hospital are an important offering by PARC. If an ambulance is called for a street person, the police show up first, the ambulance may never come, and it often becomes a more dangerous situation for the sick or injured person. We give people rides to the hospital, and leave our number for a pick up when they are done. No police involved, no senseless and cruel violence for someone who is already hurting. Perhaps a network of drivers could get people to the hospital for care or detox clearance?

 

FOOD: People are always hungry. (Can you relate?) St. Vincent’s Free Meal is usually available from 11am to 12:30pm, some days closed down as group punishment , for instance, for two attendees getting in a fight outside. On Saturday and Sunday at Clarke Plaza (3rd and E St.), Food Not Bombs serves up a hot meal and donated pastries and such at 3pm. For people over 60, the Senior Resource Dining Hall has lunch available Tuesdays through Fridays 11:30am -12:15pm. Betty Chinn no longer feeds like she used to, only to people in her container program. On Sundays, our kind and generous community member, Larry Hourany (age 81) serves lunch to folks near Free Meal. We need more people to share food in public, carry it in your car, stop when you see people and feed em, organize sandwich or burrito give away days, do a community breakfast in a park or on a corner once a week- there are many possibilities with caring people.

 

LEGAL/COURT SUPPORT, TENANTS RIGHTS: There really are few resources for this, mostly none. Redwood Legal Services, which is supposed to help with tenant issues, hardly helps individuals; the Redwood Chapter ACLU is a bad joke (except for Shelley Mack and Peter Martin); in the Courthouse 3rd floor self-help area, there are helpful forms and sometimes helpful advice. There are no local renters’ rights organizations, although we believe there is a club establishing on HSU campus for that purpose, and maybe a student-organized legal clinic, too. Currently, there is no organization to help with restraining orders, and people get inaccurate or no information from the Court clerks.

 

Please tell Verbena if you want to learn, for free, to do this kind of work, legal/court support and tenants’ rights work – and share it for free.

 

Local houseless people, activists, animal rescuers, and long-time PARC supporters and collaborators are experiencing some shock and fear of loss when we tell them PARC is closing. Some of us who has been associated long term with PARC are also feeling a sense of loss People are going to miss what this space does. The loss of this little sanctuary is going to be harsh for the community. Let’s hope people here build sanctuary again, not waiting for thousands of dollars or for government permission, but because it is basic and necessary.

 

Over the years we have lost many friends and community members. We honor the memories of those who inspired us to create PARC, who blessed PARC with their wisdom, healing, kindness, and music, and who otherwise came to PARC throughout the years and were our family: Herb Macias, Colleen Branch, Rebecca Stiles, Dee Faye Moon, Adonia, Guitar Dan, Rachel Donahue, Etta Moo, Chris Ayers (Squrl), Thomas Rice, Bill Holmes, Derrick, Carrington, Miles (Milo), Tommy Weatherman, Wanda Kibby, Noel Adamson, Martin “Freddy” Cotton, and Christopher Burgess. Martin Cotton and Chris Burgess were murdered by local police. Young, homeless, mentally disabled, indigenous, of color, poor– targeted by the state and, in large part, society.

 

We created PARC while fighting for some kind of justice for their families and communities. In that spirit we ask you to seek justice, risk ridicule, use your privilege, and defend the vulnerable.

 

And, as we honor Black August 2017, we remember the counsel of our martyred freedom fighter, George Jackson: “Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution”