Photo Credit: Paula Lomazzi, Director of Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee.
Originally published on the Democratic Left 3.20.15
Since December 9, 2014, over 100 of Sacramento’s poor and homeless have lined up every Tuesday for a free organic meal outside the doors of City Hall hosted by the Community Dinner Project, organized by Occupy Sacramento. The food line starts two hours before city council is called to session. Hundreds of Sacramento's poor line the sidewalk in front of City Hall to share a hot meal. Although these dinners take place on city property, the event is not sanctioned by the city government. In fact, it is expressly forbidden.
In October of 2013, the City passed an ordinance requiring all community groups to obtain a permit before sharing food with the homeless. The Community Dinner Project addresses this and other community issues by providing a hot meal and an environment for discussion. Participants are then encouraged to attend the city council meeting and speak during public comment.
This new ordinance is part of a growing body of laws targeting the poor. On top of laws against panhandling, it is now illegal to camp in public and private spaces. It is illegal to carry “camp paraphernalia”- such as sleeping bags- in public spaces. Sleeping in parked cars, or resting in public parks after sunset, are also ticketable offenses.