Occupy Sacramento holds urban outreach conference
Sacramento, CA – Several dozen activists came together for an Occupy Sacramento community activist and urban outreach conference on March 24 at the SEIU United Healthcare Workers West office. A panel of speakers included representatives from the Los Rios Federation of Teachers, International Faith Based Coalition, Sierra Club, ACLU, Occupy Foreclosures, Women’s Health Specialists and Safe Ground and others.
John Kraintz from Safe Ground gave a rousing talk that linked the struggle of the homeless to the many instances of police repression of the Occupy movement. He pointed out that the local ordinances against camping and loitering are used to repress people in two ways. One is that police forcibly, sometimes violently, dismantle Occupy encampments around the country. The other is they aim squarely at removing homeless people who survive and live by building community in public space. Kraintz went on to explain, “There is no reason to even have an anti-camping law because there are 55,000 vacant buildings in Sacramento and maybe 10,000 homeless.”
Bob Saunders from Occupy Foreclosures called on participants to never forget that the current housing crisis “is a crime perpetrated by the top Wall Street banks.” Saunders also called for a permanent moratorium on foreclosures.
Eileen Schnitger of the Women’s Health Specialists made it clear that “we don’t just support the Occupy movement. We are a part of the Occupy movement.” That theme of unity with Occupy was repeated in the talks from many of the panelists. Speakers also expressed a sense of urgency for Occupy to make a show of force in Sacramento this spring.
Occupy Sacramento announced that it will soon call for a follow-up meeting to discuss the development of demands and a campaign to win them.