(en) Worcester FNB Boycotts Court Proceedings

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Tue, 18 Nov 1997 19:53:53 +0000

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 21:31:56 -0500 (EST) From: Shawn Klejmont <sklejmon@library.ummed.edu> To: fnb-l@tao.ca Subject: Worcester FNB RALLY happened today! Reply-to: fnb-l@tao.ca

Worcester FOOD NOT BOMBS staged a rally today on the Worcester Common 45 minutes before a "show cause" court hearing to determine whether or not criminal charges would be filed against four local activists for serving free food without a permit. The rally couldn't have been better, about 100 people showed up (we can't thank them enough for coming), two or three television stations (channel 3 and 7 and maybe another) attended, as well as various radio and press reporters including someone from Springfield Associated Press. Everything went perfectly.

Worcester FOOD NOT BOMBS statement to the press 11/18/97 2:10pm:


This was never really about Health or Park permits. The City is charging Food Not Bombs volunteers with criminal offenses because we serve our meal in public on the common. There are other groups serving free food without permits and without being harassed by the City. Food Not Bombs will adopt any health or safety recommendations of the Health Department as long as those recommendations do not interfere with the basic mission of Food Not Bombs: to serve free food to the hungry at no cost to tax-payers or private agencies. The food that Food Not Bombs serves is safe, we eat it ourselves each and every week. Food Not Bombs is first and foremost concerned about the health of the hungry. People can't be healthy if they are starving.

The four defendants in this case have decided not to appear at the court proceedings today. The US court system is not a level playing field. The City Law Department has an army of lawyers at it's disposal. If they lose this case, they can take us back into court for the Park permits, unlawful assembly, disturbing the peace, etc. The process is endless - the process is the punishment. We believe we have a strong legal case, but whether we are breaking the law or not, in our eyes, is a technicality. We are doing the right thing. Food Not Bombs will continue serving food on the common no matter what happens in the courthouse. If the City is serious about these criminal charges, then they should come down here on the common, where Food Not Bombs serves, and arrest us. Otherwise, don't waste our time and tax payers' money on this foolishness. Let us get back to our work. End hunger. End violence. Food Not Bombs! FNB defendants: Tim Armstrong, Jeremy Barrett, Duane Gorey, and Shawn Klejmont

That's right, we boycotted the court appearance. We have since learned that the City has indeed gone ahead and filed charges against us, despite strong legal arguments (including state and federal law) that appear to protect food prepared in residential kitchens for donation or serving to the hungry from licensure or regulation. Anyway, our arraignment hearing is scheduled for January 12, I believe. Public opinion is clearly behind us, hopefully this will all play out in the press favorably (by the way, if anyone by chance records any audio or video, or runs across any press clippings, please let us know about them).

-Worcester FNB

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