Submitted by Food not Bombs Tacoma and Tacoma Democratic Socialists of America.
As Governor Inslee and Tacoma Mayor Woodard, along with local elected officials celebrate the end of the pandemic at the “Welcome Back, Tacoma” event, we ask: Who is this crisis over for?
The pandemic is not over. Why are we celebrating while our statewide housing and houselessness crises are still ongoing? Why are we celebrating when children and vulnerable adults are still at risk from COVID?
Across the state, we see renters hanging on by a thread. The compounding rent debt leads to an all-consuming fear of being soon evicted from their homes. Here in Tacoma, we see a rise of houselessness while the City of Tacoma continues to pursue inhumane evictions of encampments. Beyond that, we see a push from city officials for a citywide camping ban without direct input from unhoused residents about what they want and need.
This week’s heat wave illustrated how woefully unprepared government officials were for an emergency. Not only did they fail to have a plan in place, but they also failed to prioritize access to adequate water and other support to the city’s most vulnerable populations leaving community members to organize around the failings of city officials, preventing deaths.
This crisis is not over for our community. We demand action, not celebration. We demand that unhoused members of our community be listened to. Their voices need to be centered as solutions and considered.
Food not Bombs Tacoma is a collective working to build solidarity in local communities. We provide meals, supplies, and basic medical care to the Tacoma community experiencing homelessness and food scarcity.
Tacoma Pierce County Democratic Socialists of America (Tacoma DSA) is a group of socialist organizers who live and work in Tacoma and Pierce County, Washington. We seek to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means and resources of production are democratically and socially controlled by workers themselves.