New Programs for the Poor and Homeless

The Refuge, with the help of a local property owner and supporter, is opening a 15 bed addictions Recovery program at a site in Pinellas Park. Below is a picture of the facility. We are currently renovating the property and could use some help. The building itself needs some work and we have internal and external cleanup needed. We are on a acre of property and have a huge backyard. We need help with cleanup and lawn mowed. The land will eventually be a recreational area and a community garden. We could use volunteers, at least 10 people or more. You can call me at 727 278 1547. You can make donations at www.refugestpete.org via pay pal or send support care of, The Refuge, 3301 58th Ave. north, lot 102, St. Petersburg, Florida 33714. Thanks so much, Rev. Bruce Wright

THIS IS THE HOUSE!!

Here is the list of Needs of the Refuge Recovery House:

-Furniture needed: Bureaus, silver ware, cups, plates, knifes, forks, spoons, cooking utensils, bed sheets, blankets, furniture (couches, chairs, etc.),4 bunk beds and 10 regular beds, pillows, tvs, vcr/dvd players, Lamps, bookcases, computer, phone, computer desk

Needs of Poor and Homeless Peoples Encampment in TAMPA:

Hello Friends, just to update on our Encampment of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign and the Refuge, we are in need of some immediate help. We need to raise $1200 to cover remaining payment for encampment land use, port-a-lets and camping equipment. If you can help, please call me at 727 278 1547. Donations can be sent via pay pal at www.refugestpete.org. Also, can send via the Refuge by mailing to The Refuge, 3301 58th Ave. North, Lot 102, St. Petersburg, Florida 33714. Thanks for you help, Rev. Bruce
HERE ARE THE NEEDS OF THE CAMP:
PORT-A- LETS
Portable Showers
Trash bags and Cans
Tents
Canopys
Tarps
Sleeping Bags
Flashlights
Lanterns
Water
Drinks
Non-perishable Foods
Laptops
Wireless Cards and mthly payments for them
Generators
Rain Gear
Canteens
Volunteer Drivers
Creative Materials for Sign and Banner Making
Tables
Outdoor Cookware
Coffee, Creamer, Sugar and Coffee Maker
Plates, Cups, Towels, Forks, Spoons, and Knifes

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NATO PROTESTS

Published on Sunday, May 20, 2012 by Common Dreams
Shut Down the War Marchine!: Thousands in Anti-NATO Rally
Protesters head towards site of NATO negotiations in Chicago, veterans to return medals
– Common Dreams staff

[See Twitter stream and livestream below for live updates.]

Chicago: My kind of town? Thousands of protesters marched in a sweltering Chicago today from downtown Chicago to near the site of the NATO summit at McCormick Place to call for an end to the NATO war machine.

The Coalition Against NATO-G8, which has spearheaded the march and protests, calls for an end to NATO’s war agenda. The group expected at least 10,000 to join the march.

The final number in the march may well double that, and some protesters report that the police numbers seem to equal the number of protesters.

Veterans have returned their medals at the end of the march, throwing them to the ground, and giving powerful reasons, as @OccupyChicago is documenting:

“I’m giving these medals back to the 1/3rd of women in the military who are sexually assaulted. I’m sorry. ” – War Veteran
“I’m sorry to the 30,000 Iraq and Afgani civilians killed.” – War Veteran
“These medals are a symbol of control. I will not hold on to these lies of heroism.” – War Veterans

Explaining why the veterans were retuning their medals, Iraq Veterans Against the War previously wrote: “We were awarded these medals for serving in the Global War on Terror, a war based on lies and failed polices. This endless war has killed hundreds of thousands, stripped the humanity of all involved, and drained our communities of trillions of dollars, diverting funds from schools, clinics, libraries, and other public goods.”

Iraq Veterans Against the War’s Aaron Hughes, one of the veterans who will be returning his medals, spoke to Democracy Now! this week and said, “A decade-long war, what have we been doing? … There’s a real moral disconnect between the idea that our military can build a democracy and the idea that our military is trained and designed to control, dominate and kill people.”

Thousands of peace activists are also in the march. “I’m here to protest NATO, which I feel is the enforcement arm of the ruling 1 per cent — of the capitalist 1 per cent,” protester John Schraufnagel told the Associated Press.

The focus of the NATO meet, which began today, will be the forces in Afghanistan.

The official march to McCormick Place has ended. Now @OccupyChicago reports that “chaos” and clashes between police have broken out, with some protesters being beaten with billy clubs, and possible sightings of the LRAD, or sound cannon.

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A Time for Prophetic Audacity

For the better part of three decades now, I have been involved in political advocacy on issues of homelessness and poverty in Philadelphia. The last few weeks have been particularly trying ones. Local anti-poverty advocates had been working on a few fronts, including fighting efforts by state legislators to impose voter ID requirements (more precisely, a “Voter Suppression Bill”) and trying to forge an effective response to Governor Corbett’s proposed state budget, with its numerous cuts to human services and programs for the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians (and tax breaks to corporations). A group of our advocates, including several formerly homeless folks, spent a day attending hearings and meeting with legislators and staffers in the state capital of Harrisburg, only to return feeling discouraged and frustrated.

At one recent meeting, we were poring over numbers and assessing the budget’s impact. We were also struggling with what kinds of organizing efforts might be effective. As I personally took in a sense of soberness at the tasks before us, I found an old memory stirring: Back in the 1980s, Philadelphia was the scene of an important event in the history of modern homelessness in this country: the formation of the first shelter started and operated by homeless persons. The group that started it called themselves the Committee for Dignity and Fairness for the Homeless (CDFH), and named the facility Dignity Shelter. The group would later launch the Union of the Homeless, a dynamic advocacy group which would eventually form chapters in several cities around the country.

One of the founders of CDFH/Union was Chris Sprowal, a tall and imposing former social worker and union organizer who had experienced the degradation of life on the streets and in shelters. Chris (one of my mentors) turned his own suffering and rage into action, with the realization that persons who were homeless needed to be at the forefront of the struggle for housing and dignity. As he sought to change conditions in Philadelphia, he demonstrated remarkable imagination and audacity in his political actions. He bathed naked in a public fountain to protest the lack of showers in city shelters. On a few occasions he organized dramatic “sleep-outs” to demand funding for shelters and service. And he spent no small amount of time in jail for civil disobedience.

Around 1990, Chris suddenly announced that he would undertake a fast as a response to the increase in street homelessness and the City’s decision to cut back on services. He camped outside Council chambers at City Hall for over a month diligent in his nonviolent witness. Obviously he garnered much media coverage, and daily supporters joined him for an ongoing protest and call for urgently needed resources. After over 40 days of fasting, which eventually took Chris and other advocates to the State Building, a major commitment of new State funding was secured – and Chris took to the hospital to recover.

The memory of Chris Sprowal jolted me to a sense that today we need to again consider imaginative and audacious actions to raise the urgent issues of basic justice and compassion in our increasingly polarized society.

A couple days after the meeting, I was speaking with a fellow activist, who was passionately questioning: “Where is the prophetic anger from the religious community? There’s all this poverty and suffering, and the United States may be entering yet another war soon!”

A few days later at one of our advocacy committee meetings about the proposed state budget, the same theme struck again. During yet another tough conversation, someone said that maybe we need religious leaders from around Pennsylvania to raise profound moral and spiritual issues about current directions in public policy. Something in me stirred—yes, we need that voice, a powerful, prophetic cry for justice.

The very next day, I spotted a headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer saying that Catholic bishops were calling for a day of fasting to protest,..

Could it be, I thought? Our spiritual leaders calling for action from all the faithful on the urgent issues of our day? A prophetic voice being raised about human suffering, poverty, and injustice?

No—the protest was about contraception. More specifically, it was about the recent White House statement on federal mandates for insurance companies to cover contraception and what the leadership saw as an assault on religious liberty.
One diocesan official stated, “Extreme situations call for extreme responses.” I couldn’t agree more. Yet, once again, ecclesial leaders focus their moral ire almost exclusively on what we do or don’t do with our genitals, while God’s precious children are again assaulted by thuggish policy-makers, pushing them into deeper poverty.

But the bishops are too easy a target, and righteous indignation doesn’t get us off the hook. Certainly much of the religious community in this country suffers from a myopic vision of social responsibility. Both in the pulpits and the pews, too many Christians, even those of liberal or progressive bent, have become too comfortable, too immune from the suffering of millions of our sisters and brothers. And we are largely impotent in the face of continuing systemic assaults on our most vulnerable citizens, while wealth is being amassed by the few. Even many activists have become content with our tactics and our liberal credentials. The more radical among us sometimes take shelter in our prophetic denunciations of the system, while the system continues to steamroll those already struggling to survive.

Not that I expect much from the Pennsylvania state government. But I am convinced that we need to tap into the holy anger of the prophets and of Jesus when God’s children are being neglected, exploited, marginalized, or dehumanized.

And we need elders like Chris Sprowal to remind us that sometimes we just have to take imaginative and audacious risks.

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OPENING PROTEST MARCH AT RNC

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Rev. Bruce Wright
Phone: 727 278 1547
Email: bgcwright@aol.com
Cheri Honkala cherippehrc@hotmail.com
Phone: 267 439 8419
The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is announcing The Protest Schedule for the MARCH FOR OUR LIVES March of the Poor, Homeless, Unemployed at the RNC
The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and others will march on opening day of the Republican National Convention on AUGUST 27th, Monday from 3pm to 530pm.
This is a March of the Homeless, the Poor, the Unemployed and Supporters to call for a STOP TO ALL FORECLOSURES, STOP THE CRIMINALIZATION OF THE POOR AND HOMELESS, HOUSING AND FOOD ARE HUMAN RIGHTS!!
THIS HISTORIC MARCH HAS A LONG HISTORY OF HAPPENING AT THE CONVENTIONS OF BOTH PARTIES
THE POOR PEOPLE’S ECONOMIC HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN IS INSPIRED BY AND A CONTINUATION OF THE SPIRIT OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING’S POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN
WE INVITE ALL TO JOIN US FOR THIS MARCH!
PPEHRC IS ONE OF THE LARGEST POOR PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS REPRESENTING DOZENS OF GRASS ROOTS GROUPS LED BY THE POOR, THAT IS A MULTI-RACIAL, MULTI-GENERATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF BOTH WOMEN AND MEN

MORE DETAILS WILL BE FORTHCOMING!

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POOR PEOPLES ENCAMPMENT AT RNC IN AUGUST 2012

Dear Friends and Supporters,

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and the Refuge is asking for your help. We have the opportunity to have an encampment of the Poor, the Homeless, and the Unemployed in Tampa from the middle of May through September to bring to light and highlight the problem of homelessness, poverty, and unemployment in the United States. We are expecting hundreds to join us, including several organizations as we get closer to the Republican Convention. In the meantime, we are trying to establish this encampment now to build up to several important events planned, and also to offer protection to those poor and homeless that will and are being criminalized by the city, especially as it relates to the coming of the Republican Convention.
So, we are asking for your consideration to help in this endeavor. We already have a piece of private property near downtown Tampa that has been offered to us for a small fee. They are asking for $350 per month, that would include Electric. The property is 2/3 a block in size and could accommodate about 200 or more people. So, here is what we need to raise per month to do this (we already have first months rent):

1. $350 per month rent
2. $375 per month for 3 porta-lets, including one handicapped
3. $380 per month for 2 portable showers
4. $300 per month for a water buffalo that would provide water for the camp
5. $400 per month for misc. costs and supplies
6. $220 per month for 3 bus passes for organizers to get around
7.$120 per month for 2 wireless cards for laptops
8.$400 per month for food in bulk, when not able to get food donated

TOTAL PER MONTH: $2500 (However, worst case scenario we can start with just portalets and 1 shower, or around $800 per month)

We believe this is an extremely urgent venture and worthy of support, not only as a way of speaking up for the marginalized, but for the protection of the marginalized. This encampment would be governed and run by those camping there and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, a grass roots organization of dozens of poor and unemployed peoples organizations. If you can help ,please let us know. All gifts would be tax deductible. Gifts can be sent to the Refuge at 3301 58th Ave. North, Lot 102, St. Petersburg, Florida 33714. Checks can be earmarked to the Encampment and will go to that. You can also donate via pay pal at www.refugestpete.org. Any questions, you can call me at 727 278 1547. Many thanks for you support, Rev. Bruce Wright www.economichumanrights.org

PS> WE WILL NEED MANY DONATED ITEMS, INCLUDING FOOD, TENTS, SLEEPING BAGS, TARPS, CANOPIES, ETC.

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