When hate and scapegoating get normalized

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

The homeless here are BUMS. Its a lifestyle choice. They are drug addicts and Thieves. They chose this life! They like it!

People are using more than words too, with brazen violence on the rise. Freddie, the victim of a firecracker attack that blew a hole in his tent in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, is clear on the motivation:

“I know it’s not directed toward me as an individual,” he said. “But it is directed toward me as a homeless person.”

- “Firecrackers. Molotov cocktails. Fire attacks have shaken L.A.’s homeless community” Los Angeles Times, October 18, 2019

The violence against people experiencing homelessness extends well beyond the urban core, even to residential suburban neighborhoods:

In Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley, homeless people living in an encampment in Chatsworth have had rocks thrown at them from cars, have had insults yelled at them and have been pepper-sprayed.

- “As Homelessness Surges in California, So Does a Backlash” New York Times, October 21, 2019

A permanent supportive housing development in Chatsworth was recently approved for funding from the LA City Council. This would be the first Proposition HHH-funded supportive housing project in City Council District 12. Last night I went to a community meeting on the project, both as a proponent of supportive housing who has seen how it transforms lives and a 15 year resident of this community. What I saw, heard and experienced confirmed how hateful speech is being normalized even at the community level.

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Written by

Social justice advocate and collaborative leader who has worked in the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles for more than 25 years. https://billpitkin.net

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