Republished from the Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation website.
On Wednesday night, a group of peaceful protesters gathered outside the LeMay car museum in downtown Tacoma. A “business summit” was being held to air concerns that business leaders have about crime and other issues affecting them. On the agenda was instituting “sweeps” encampments of unhomed people.
Members and friends of TUUC took part in the protest that included families with young children. As they stood on the sidewalk holding signs, a blue pickup truck swerved onto the sidewalk into the group, hit and severely injured a woman, and sped away. The woman suffered a broken pelvis along with other injuries. The shocked protesters carried on as the emergency responders arrived and transported her to the hospital where she remains.
The issue that the protesters were offering opposition to is the proposal that there be a camping ban enacted in the city, a practice that is devastating to those who are trying to survive without any place to live.
Tacoma, along with other communities, has inadequate will to fully address the number of unhomed people who are struggling to survive on its streets, and has tried to manage the people who gather together to form small communities and camp on public lands by periodically by forcefully removing the people and destroying/removing everything that they can’t carry with them. The people who are displaced again and again by these actions are continually traumatized and their tenuous survival is further endangered.
Last spring, our congregation voted to become a site for the Safe Parking Network’s pilot program and began offering a place for people who were without a home and living in their cars. As the Coordinating Team has gotten to know some of the participants, and heard their stories, we’ve learned more intimately how hard it is to survive when you have no place to live.
We continue to do our small part in making the life of some of our vulnerable neighbors less dangerous and difficult. Our Safe Parking Team can always use extra help (contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected), and our voices make a difference as the city leaders consider the camping ban. Get in touch by checking this page: https://www.cityoftacoma.org/government/city_council.
Let’s keep at it, friends. Together we can make a difference.