To protest this absurd and inhumane practice of criminalizing homelessness, my friend Baxter organized an event where people gathered at the Kelly Thomas memorial with signs, food for the homeless, and some people (including Baxter) actually slept outside in solidarity with the homeless. I was there, and I took these pictures.
I spoke at the city council meeting before the protest, saying that, although homelessness is a complex issue, and sometimes city leaders don't know what to do, one thing we CAN do is stop making it a crime to be homeless, as we work together to find creative, real solutions.
This protest asks the question, "What can we do to help the local homeless population?" Here are a few ways. One, start treating them like human beings, and not criminals (unless they actually break the law). Two, speak at city council meetings, urging our elected officials to be more proactive in looking for a new location for a homeless shelter. I realize this can be frustrating, as our current mayor is philosophically opposed to a government-funded homeless shelter. Thankfully, he only gets one vote. Third, volunteer with local nonprofits like Pathways of Hope. Fourth, if you go to church in Fullerton, find out what your church is doing, and how you can help. Fifth, educate yourself on this issue by reading things like the Final Report of the Fullerton Homeless Task Force and the Orange County Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness.
Personally, I think we need a year-round permanent homeless shelter, and I will continue to speak for that, advocate for that, and not stop talking about it until it becomes a reality.