Pols Stand With "Tent City Ten"
July 24th, 2009

Picture the Homeless and the so-called “Tent City Ten” kept beating the drum on warehoused property and affordable housing this afternoon outside a vacant lot in Harlem.

The event came just 14 hours after 10 housing activists were released from Harlem’s 28th Police Precinct after being arrested for occupying a vacant lot for over 6 hours yesterday. (To read more about that action, see “Homeless Advocates Arrested.”)

Officials and candidates on hand were Councilmember Melissa Mark Viverito, who represents Council District 8 and is seeking re-election; Norman Siegel, the long-time civil rights attorney and current candidate for public advocate; and the Rev. Billy Talen, the Green Party’s mayoral candidate.

If there was a theme for the press conference, it was “take back the land” and “power to the people” — lines that almost every speaker closed with.

“It’s actions such as these that really push us, and push the envelope, and push us as legislators to revisit those policies and ensure that they’re more just and more fair,” Mark Viverito said. When asked if she was going to pressure the City Council and Speaker Christine Quinn on this issue, she said, “We have a different position in the City Council than the mayor does in regards to how homeless families and individuals should be treated. We’ve had many public hearings on that, and there has to be a willingness, unfortunately, from the mayor, in order to change those policies.”

Talen continued on his campaign theme of emphasizing neighborhoods.

“I feel that Picture the Homeless is demonstrating a dramatic kind-of model response, a citizen’s response, that American activists who just want to be good citizens are going to use as inspiration,” Talen said, dressed in his characteristic preacher suit.

Siegel noted that the homeless are disproportionately people of color and invoked the names of civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer and Andrew Young as he praised the virtues of civil disobedience. He vowed to continue to raise the issues of homelessness and affordable housing in his campaign for public advocate.

“We need to take that issue on, and I will continue to raise the issues, especially the racial overtones, because I am convinced that we up here aren’t dealing with race in the way it has to be done,” he said.

By on July 24, 2009, 5:12 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Gotham City,Housing | 7 Comments »

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7 Responses to “Pols Stand With "Tent City Ten"”

  1. Roger Says:
    July 24th, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Things are backwards when people get arrested for sitting on a vacant lot. i think most ppl agree that things need to get better, ppl just need to act on it.

  2. Marina Ortiz Says:
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Photos of Tent City action and press conference available at: http://www.eastharlempreservation.org/docs/Photos.htm

  3. Puerto Rico Libre Says:
    July 25th, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Why would Picture the Homeless organize this press conference for Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito to speak regarding this particular issue? She has a horrendous voting related to housing and displacement issues. Here are only SOME of her actions:

    -Led effort with Mayor Bloomberg and voted in favor, despite vast community opposition, of the 125th St. “River to River” plan. This plan will displace low income residents & small businesses thoughout HaRLEM.

    -Led effort with Mayor Bloomberg and voted in favor, despite massive community opposition, of the East 125th St. Development Plan. This plan will displace small businesses in El Barrio. Because of Mark Viverito it is now under threat of imminent domain.

    -Led efforts with Mayor Bloomberg and voted in favor, despite massive comunity opposition, of the Columbia University Expansion plan. This is already displacing both low income residents and small businesses in West Harlem. The city is using immenent domain to do this.


  4. Austin Osmer Says:
    July 25th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Reverend Billy Talen’s website can be found at VoteRevBilly.org

    Thanks for the coverage, we love this site!

  5. Gloria Tuvecina Says:
    July 28th, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Too bad phony “Puerto Rico Libre” continues to find fault with the honest good efforts of our Council Woman in behalf of tenants in actions against harassing landlords, in public housing and Mitchell-Lama developments. Must be a tool of the very predatory landlords funding the campaigns of contending candidates. No Puerto Rico Libe I know is such a coward! He continues to take the Puerto
    Rican people’s name in vain and just as cowardly will not even sign his name. Que pasa with you Mr. Creepy??

  6. Maria Gomez Says:
    July 30th, 2009 at 1:24 am

    All Puerto Ricans do not think alike.

    Many oppose of us Mark Viverito’s sell out policies because they are the same one’s pushing us out of our homes that the Mayor is promoting.

    We are not all like her though. We have principles and will not be fooled by her or her followers.

    By the way, so called “Gloria” needs to LEARN & spell in SPANISH before making such absurd and mindless comments on behalf of our community.

    No nos moveran!

    Viva Puerto Rico!

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    March 27th, 2013 at 7:00 am

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