NBC’s local news affiliate in San Francisco ran an important story (http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Super-Bowl-City-Displacing-Homeless-in-San-Francisco-366929711.html) about SF’s Mayor Ed Lee sweeping the homeless under the “Super Bowl City’s” superhighway overpasses to get them out of sight.
As a protege of Saul Alinsky’s, I have a modest tactical suggestion for SF’s homeless advocates to implement: On Superbowl Sunday morning, February 7, I suggest organizing a massive “Tent-In” of homeless humans from San Jose AND San Francisco across Interstate Highways 101 and 280, effectively blocking the major access roads to the Super Bowl. Occuring on the day of the “Big Game,” will guarantee massive, global media coverage and put the inhumane treatment of the homeless by San Francisco and San Jose front and center as the biggest story of the day.
There will be arrests, but you can make the point that even local jails–terrible as they are–offer better housing, food and social services than the wealthy cities of SF and San Jose have given their homeless human beings, many of whom are veterans, have mental/emotional issues, are drug addicted, or are living with HIV/AIDS. Homeless advocates need to seize this Super-sized, rare global media opportunity and rivet the nation’s attention on the Game of Life, which many Americans–particularly the homeless–are losing.
Flint, Michigan, and it’s lead-poisoning tragedy, only made it into the national consciousness because the national media put it there. The same thing needs to be done with the shameful way the wealthiest country in the world treats it’s least fortunate folks. This weekend, at the peak of all of the Super Bowl hype in the Bay Area, homeless advocates have a unique opportunity to redefine the “Big Game” this way: Housing and Life-Saving Human Services for All Human Beings.
If these super-wealthy cities can pay for the frolic and amusement of a mere game, in a culture being amused to death, surely two of the richest cities in America can afford to provide decent shelter and services for human beings who just happen to be without a home. Homelessness is the SuperBowl of all social issues; cities that tackle it head on are the real world champions.