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(en) DAAA, and the Anti-Mission Campain in Modesto

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 7 Jul 2003 17:04:40 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

Below, is a letter that was created by Direct Action
Anti-Authoritarians, and the Modesto Food Not Bombs Collective,
in response to Modesto Mission’s policies towards Homeless
People. When Food Not Bombs started, only about 10 people where
showing up, as word spread, and homeless people started to
organize themselves and make/handout Food Not Bombs flyers,
attendance went up.

With each week, we learned more and more about the conditions of
the homeless in Modesto. Larger cities like SF, where pushing
people out, and other closer towns like Fresno and Stockton where
even giving people bus tickets to go to other places.

In this environment was the Modest Mission. Under Modesto City
bylaws, the Mission was the only shelter that could exist in the city,
(another one couldn’t be built). The Mission gets funding for
every person that walks into it’s doors. The Disciples, or
workers there, all have nice clothes and drive fancy cars. The
owners recently went on vacation to Florida, and one of them is
being investigated right now for money misuse. Needless to say,
that get money in the millions. That’s not all, good foods like
choice meats (that’s good by many of the homelessness’
tastes not mine!) disappear, as well as the best donated clothes.
I’ve donated bagels to there, and have friends that sleep there
never see them.

Men and women, wives and husbands, friends and lovers are
divided by sex. Female and male cannot talk or sleep together, even
if they have family issues that they need to work out, or children to
deal with.

Men at the Mission can stay for 30 days, and are then kicked out for
15. In this time they can shower. Women, however, can stay for 30
days, and are kicked out for 60 DAYS! In this time, they cannot
shower. Also men with young children are kicked out for longer, if
they have small children.

During Church service, for an hour, you cannot go to the bathroom,
or take medicine. One Food Not Bomber, couldn’t even go to the
bathroom to take his medicine for his diabetes.

People are also made to leave the Mission for having religious
views not represented by the Church. When people are kicked out of
the Mission, they are often done so in the middle of the night.
Getting thrown out on the street at 3a.m. with nowhere to go is not
strange. All this could have resulted from talking to a loved one, or
talking back to a Disciple.

To counter this, DAAA staged a large meeting of homeless,
organized mainly by homeless people. Homeless DAAA members,
sneaked flyers into the Mission, and talked with others, and a large
showing of about 100 people made it out to talk about the
Mission’s problems, (that is great for the small town of
Modesto). The newspaper did a bad article as always, but the
response was pressure by the Mission on certain people, and police
arresting more homeless people.

Below is a copy to the letter by DAAA, in response to the issues
raised by the meeting:

"To Whom It May Concern,

Food Not Bombs, is a collective of concerned people mostly from
the Modesto area that has been feeding the homeless and less
fortunate people at Tower Park for close to a year now. In this time
we have come to know many of the people there, and have come to
consider many of them friends. But along with knowing them as
individuals, we have also discovered that in many of their lives
come concerns that they often addressed to us, one namely the
Mission and it’s treatment of homeless people.

The following is a collection of concerns raised by a large meeting
of homeless people conducted on Sunday, June 22nd. These
concerns we would like addressed to us via a meeting with you in
person as soon as possible. The concerns are as follows:

1.) Food distribution: One of the issues raised was food deemed
“good” or “desirable” coming into the Mission, is
being taken by Disciples for personal use. We have decided that we
would like to see a list of all incoming goods. Along with access to
information about all food donated, we would also like to make
public information relating to money and all other items given to the

2.) Bathroom use during service: During Church service many
people have to use the bathroom, or use the facilities to take
medicine. However, during Church service, people are made to sit
for the entire hour, and are not allowed to use the bathroom. We
would like to see all people able to use the bathroom during Church
service if so needed, and also able to get up to take medicine.

3.) Uneven “time off”: We are asking the Mission to make
the time off after a person’s thirty days to be the same,
regardless of sex, or if they have children. Also, we are asking that
women be able to shower during their time off, and men with
children not be discriminated against because they are male.

4.) Warnings relating to expulsion: We are asking that all people
made to leave the Mission for some sort of problem, must be
warned that if the problem continues they will be asked to leave,
and cannot be made to leave at night, unless the situation is
elevated to a level of massive disturbance. Also, people should not
be made to leave for questioning the program, rules, or policies of
the Mission, or having different religious views than those enforced
by the Mission.

5.) Sex segregation: Many people are concerned that they are not
allowed to talk to their wives or husbands, or those that they are
romantically involved with. We are calling for all people to be able to
associate and talk with those that they are romantically linked with.

6.) “In by” times: We are asking that you allow people to be
able to come in and receive services if they are available, even if
they arrive after 6:30pm.

7.) Mail access: We are asking that people be able to access mail
even if they do not have a proper ID, (but can prove identity), or if
their time for viewing mail has elapsed. People have also asked for,
(if possible), lockers to allow mail and personal property to be

We believe what we are asking for is not that extreme. We are
asking that the homeless people be treated human, for that’s
exactly what they are. Under the current Modesto City guidelines,
only one Homeless Mission can exist within Modesto. If this is
going to be the case, the Modesto Mission must live up to its
responsibility, and start treating people that it serves as a part of a
greater whole.

The homeless of Modesto are asking for the right to know what
goods are coming into the Mission, to be able to critique and
question the environment of the Mission, and also to not be forced
into a lifestyle or religious affinity because they are living in poverty
and have no access to food or housing.

If the Mission does not change these things about it’s nature, or
at least address these problems to us to a point where we can reach
a better understanding, we are going to step up action. This means
that we are going to continue to put pressure on city officials and
those that donate to the Mission, and do our best to educate the
people of Modesto on what is happening at the Mission.

We would like a response as soon as possible, and to set up a
meeting with you ASAP. You may reach us at the following..."

For more info, updates, support ect, email:
Also, DAAA is a part of the RAAN Network of
Anti-Authoritarians: http://www.kazm.net

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