This week, Bloomington Police began to occupy People’s Park, heightening policing and surveillance, harassing community members into leaving the park, and preventing food sharing and basic habitation of the park. This recent increase in police intimidation is part of a larger effort to drive poor people out of public spaces so that commerce can continue without interruption. Meanwhile, new luxury condos are built across the street. The social cleansing process enacted by the BPD aims to eradicate homeless people through constant intimidation, without addressing the root causes of homelessness in Bloomington.
For more than 50 years, People’s Park has been a vital space for political action, historical memory, and struggle in Bloomington. Shortly after the KKK firebombed a black social center, The Black Market, located on the park’s land in 1968, People’s Park was founded as a space of leisure and refuge open to all people, not just to the rich and white. Given this history, we must all do our part to ensure that People’s Park remains available to everyone.
Let’s celebrate the history of People’s Park and our ongoing diversity. Let’s stand together, eat together, and enjoy music together! We won’t allow the police to harass and arrest the most vulnerable members of the Bloomington community. Now’s our time to make sure that People’s Park lives up to its name — a place for everyone, for all people.
Come one, come all: workers, students, people without homes, non-human animal companions! Bring your game faces and your appetites.
Arts & Crafts (folks should feel inclined to bring lots of chalk)
Bring a dish/drink/food supplies if you can, and be creative in whatever other materials you feel it would be fun and/or useful to have.
Let’s make sure Bloomington stays the way we like it: full of space for folks with unique needs, creative and experimental.
Please forward widely and share the attached flyer online and in print!
A call out to discuss resistance to the city’s recent attempts at social cleansing in People’s Park. The DRO Police have instructed churches not to offer food to park denizens, have chased away citizens offering clothes and lunch, have attempted to target and ban Food Not Bombs, have threatened to chase out a local Street Outreach Project and have requested that the Indiana Recovery Alliance cease doing outreach early next month.
The mayor and police recently announced a plan to increase police
presence, which led to park sweeps and the arrest of multiple
“problematic” people just before the students returned. The police have also promised to install cameras to increase surveillance.
Of course, the city has offered no alternatives for food on Sunday
evenings, services over the weekend or space to exist without harassment for those they who will be negatively affected. Just the continuation of the criminalization of poverty, addiction and homelessness. City officials want our friends to disappear, or perhaps to float away on balloons, as a dear friend suggested years ago.
Join us before this event at 5:30pm for a presentation with Jesse Speer about homeless encampments and resistance in the Persimmon Room in the Indiana Memorial Union, then we’ll move to the Park by 7pm to discuss next steps.
“The Zone-to-Defend: A Story of Resistance by One Resident of La ZAD”
Monday, October 27 at 8:00pm
Collins Living-Learning Center (10th and Woodlawn)
The ZAD (Zone A Défendre) is a 4000-acre land occupation near Nantes, France conveniently located where the state and multinational construction company VINCI had previously intended to build a “green” mega-airport. Since 2009, this massive swath of ancient farmland, abandoned houses, barns, forests, and swamps in western rural France have been occupied by local farmers and environmentalists in an attempt to prevent the construction of an airport that will greatly exacerbate the release of carbon dioxide and destroy many farmers’ way of life.
This constellation of squatted buildings and fields has come to be known at The Zone-To-Defend or La ZAD, and has lived up to its name every step of the way. The military police have attempted to violently evict the lands several times since its inception, but every time the ZADists come back stronger, more numerous, and with more creative permaculture techniques to re-occupy the land and rebuild their makeshift straw-bale cabins, treehouses, kitchens, theater spaces, bike workshops, pirate radio station, brewery, and bakery. A participant is visiting Bloomington in order to share her experiences at the ZAD.
The low-barrier winter homeless shelter closed for the season yesterday. More than 100 people marched last night in protest of the lack of shelter. We heard that the demo was radical and diverse, but have received no specific reports. If you were there, please send us news, analysis, and pictures.
A bureaucratically-minded account from the IDS: http://idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=97516