We need our community of 22 unhoused leaders, the vast majority disabled, seniors, or vulnerable women, off the streets during this COVID crisis! Then, we want to keep fighting for our friends and neighbors on our block until EVERYONE around us is housed! Venmo us funds for hotels (URGENT NEED!!) to @ars_hoetica on venmo, or donate to another project helping with a note that it’s for 37mlk here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/love-and-justice-in-the-streets
Who We Are
Article about us in the Guardian: “The homelessness and housing affordability crisis has grown to an extent that we can no longer ignore it and we can’t call it a crisis without actually acting on it,” [Oakland City Council woman] Bas said. “You juxtapose that and the visibility of homelessness right now with stories like 37MLK being an incredibly creative and inspiring and successful story of unsheltered older black women. I think it’s a moment where we have to draw from the human resilience and creativity we’re seeing from people who are in deep crisis and respond with that same level from government, respond with that same level of creativity and urgency.”
Article partially profiling us in VOGUE(last third of article) and placing us in the larger context of the myriad other movements for housing justice arising in Oakland:”15 women, along with some of their male partners, live there. It’s functional—safer and cleaner than many other encampments. Echeverría-Fenn can take trash to her dumpster and ferry clean water from her house. But, she says, it’s still far from ideal. “I really consider this encampment a harm reduction measure,” she says. “Humans don’t deserve to have to live in tents, no matter how nice, no matter how clean.”
“These people got kicked out of their homes because the landlords doubled their rent,” Maria told me. She herself has lived in the neighborhood since she was two years old. “I’ve known a lot of them since I was a little girl, and they’ve all seen me grow up.”
37MLK sits near the border of North and West Oakland, an area that has housed a predominately Black population since the 1950s. It’s a population that has diminished since the 2008 market crash and continues to suffer during the present tech boom. But the Black roots of the area run deep. If you were standing on the corner of 37th and MLK in 1970, you would have seen the headquarters of the East Bay Negro Historical Society, which would later transform into Oakland’s African American Museum and Library. A 15-minute walk could take you to at least four different sites important to the Black Panther Party…
Watch Our Youtube Videos! Hear us in our own words!
Hear from Rome, a multiply disabled Pinay Oaklander whose surgery was postponed due to corona
Hear Dion and Veda talk about why our current site has become uninhabitable due to coronavirus crisis
Hear two of our unhoused leaders discuss their inability to access help from the city they’ve lived in all their lives!
Literally see where your funds are going!
We need to survive this pandemic to continue our work and activism: activism that springs directly from our lived struggles as lifelong Oaklanders without a house.
- Short term: keep us housed in hotels by Venmoing ars_hoetica, or donating to loveandjusticeinthestreets.com and earmarking funds for 37 MLK
- Medium term: Help us find a modest house or apartment complex where our community can remain together indoors, since we’ve become a family!
- Long term: Help us heal from the trauma of long-term homelessness so we can create the Garden of Peace and Tranquility, a community project of us as people who have been unhoused helping find more of our unhoused friends and family homes!
This is a community of homeless people living together and making it work. If every city supported small communities like this to follow their model, we might find that homeless people who are hungry, dirty, unable to shower and unable to look for a job are far fewer. These women are making history!!
“I came in and came to find out my friend Brittany was here. They gave me a cot, they gave me a tent. They told me that if I needed anything, they were here for me. They really made me feel good. I really got a chance to take the load off myself and to be free for that moment and get some good-ass rest and not worry about nothing because I knew that I was safe.”