Homeless on the move

From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters

Los Angeles—On Aug. 1, 30 Los Angeles Community Action Network activists of all races, including many formerly homeless, protested in Skid Row and adjacent downtown. We were demanding that the homeless be housed in the largely vacant Cecil Hotel, which had been designated low-income housing. Earlier this year the LA County Board of Supervisors and the hotel owner agreed to house the homeless at the Cecil, but changed their minds because of pressure from downtown developer and gentrifier Tom Gilmore.

With a caravan of shopping carts used by the homeless and the sound of drums, we marched in high spirits from Skid Row to Gilmore’s office, protesting his and the Central City Association’s opposition. Our banners and signs included: “Would you like to see me in a tent or in the Cecil?” and “House keys not tents!” We chanted, “People that live in the streets, can’t afford a bite to eat,” and “Housing is a human right!”

We then marched to the Cecil Hotel and set up a symbolic homeless tent. We ended our protest by chanting: “We’ll be back, we’ll be back!”

—Basho

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