Last Monday’s announcements to media and the broader Florida citizenry of what would be a momentous legislative coup – a Homeless Bill of Rights for the state’s massive population of unhoused residents – was both heard and not heard. The campaign for the bill’s passage is being led by the Florida Homelessness Action Coalition and is backed by local, state and national legal and homeless advocacy org’s including the National Coalition for the Homeless, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, the ACLU and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.
While TV news coverage was positive in many respects, major daily papers uniformly stayed away, which we take as a reflection of the latter’s propagandistic imperative to serve as mouthpieces for the gentry and its political proxies who sit in powerful places in local government. Not that TV news doesn’t regularly serve the same function – both TV and major print media each tend to sensationalize the issue of homelessness, whereby even in their so-called ‘balanced’ approaches to the issue there’s always a slant towards demonizing homeless folk – but for whatever reason, they showed up whereas the dailies, one of whose offices is just blocks from where the Fort Lauderdale press conference took place, stayed home.
That paper, the Sun-Sentinel, then interviewed yours truly for a half hour a couple of days after the press conference, during which I provided copious info on the importance of the bill, and subsequently received from me substantial documentation on how administrators in the county’s homeless help system have thwarted confronting the issue of homeless criminalization. Not a word of it made it into their story, which merely mouths the rhetoric of the very same players who toy with the lives of homeless people as if they’re merely widgets.
Below are links to a compilation of some of that coverage, which was put out by media outlets from Pensacola to south Florida. Leading off is a video from a panel discussion hosted by the Public Interest Law Society at St.. Thomas University School of Law, which took place the week before the media announcement and focused on the issue of homeless criminalization as seen through the lenses of case law and grassroots political organizing. The video is a good intro to the general topic of homeless criminalization, and why a Homeless Bill of Rights is so urgently needed in Florida and in many other states.
Panel discussion https://echo360.org/media/e4778f8e-26e5-49ed-81c5-013755a35754/
Fort Lauderdale coverage English (Local 10)
Fort Lauderdale coverage Spanish (America Press Network)
Pensacola coverage (WEARTV)
Tampa coverage (Bay News 9)
Tough Times Radio Show
Revolutionary Road Radio Show