Do you know that in over 50 large US cities it’s illegal to share food with the homeless? Members of the church Love Wins in Raleigh, North Carolina learned this yesterday when they were threatened with arrest for distributing food to homeless in a park. The state of civil society in the United States is in much worse trouble than most people know.
¿ILEGAL SERVIR ALIMENTOS a desamparados en Raleigh, Carolina del Norte? Puede sonar a broma, pero la realidad es que oficiales de esa ciudad amenazaron con arrestar a voluntarios de la iglesia Love Wins que se disponían a repartirle comida a los necesitados en un parque. Hoy la noticia recorre las redes.
On the morning of Saturday, August 24, Love Wins Ministries, where I am pastor and director, showed up at Moore Square in Raleigh, North Carolina at 9:00 am, just like we have done virtually every Saturday and Sunday for the last six years. We provide, without cost or obligation, hot coffee and a breakfast sandwich to anyone who wants one. We keep this promise to our community in cooperation with five different, large suburban churches that help us with manpower and funding.
On that morning three officers from Raleigh Police Department prevented us from doing our work, for the first time ever. An officer said, quite bluntly, that if we attempted to distribute food, we would be arrested.
En un blog levantado el día del incidente, Hugh Hollowell, reverendo de la congregación, relató que cuando el grupo se disponía a repartir café y pan a, aproximadamente, 70 personas que hacían fila, tres oficiales lo impidieron.
Cuando los presentes cuestionaron la razón, uno de los policías dijo que la acción violaba una ordenanza, pero no ofreció más detalles. “Yo te estoy diciendo lo que es. Ahora, si repartes la comida, puedes ir a la cárcel”, se limitó a contestar el agente según narró el religioso en la página web.
Outrage and concern have circulated through the internet and social media, prompting Mayor Nancy McFarlane to schedule a special emergency meeting to discuss how to feed the homeless. Indignación y preocupación han circulado a través del Internet y las redes sociales, lo que provocó Alcaldesa Nancy McFarlane programar una reunión comunitária especial sobre alimentar a las personas desamparadas.
What You Can Do
Several things. While it was Raleigh Police Department that threw us out of the park and threatened to arrest us, we realize they are acting under orders. Ultimately, they serve the interests of the Mayor and the City Council. In the words of the officer in charge today, “You need to take it up with the City Council.”
And if history has taught us anything, it is, as Frederick Douglass said, that “power concedes nothing without demand.”
1. Below are the email addresses and phone numbers of the Mayor and of the City Council members. We encourage you to continue to call and voice your concern. We spoke with the Mayor yesterday, and while she did say that no one will be arrested for feeding hungry people in the park, it’s important to continue to make your voice heard. The status quo is not acceptable.
Keeping in mind that we win over no one with anger or rudeness. Anger does not cast out fear – only love can do that.
• Out of town folks, call any and all of the City Council members.
• Raleigh residents, call the City Council member representing your district. You can find your district by entering your address here.
City Council At Large
Mary-Ann Baldwin – 919-996-3050
City Council At Large/Mayor Pro Tem
Russ Stephenson – 919-996-3050
Randall Stagner – 919-996-3050
John Odom – 919-996-3050
Eugene Weeks – 919-996-3050
Thomas Crowder – 919-996-3050
Bonner Gaylord – 919-996-3050
Nancy McFarlane – 919-996-3050
2. Post the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or any other social media outlets you have access to. Again, we have done nothing wrong, and have no desire to hide.
3. If you have contacts with people of influence (media, celebrities, etc.), please pass this story along to them or give them my email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Stay up to date. The most current information will be on our Facebook page, which you can like to receive those updates automatically.
5. If you’re local, attend the public City Council meeting (when it is announced) that will directly address this issue.
6. Pray for our friends who are hungry, and now have nowhere to eat. And pray for us, so that we do not lose our tempers and along with it, our soul. And pray for the officers and people in power, who are working against our goals.
Pray for all of us, in fact, because we all need it, and our liberation is bound up in each other.