This evening we are hosting a Tweet Storm in collaboration with our partners, Homeless Voices for Justice (HVJ), about their proposed bill LD 1294—the “Dignity Pilot”. Our partnership with HVJ is the result of MFP’s investment in working to advance reproductive justice in our state, which requires a focus on current economic injustices and the ripple effects throughout our communities. The principles of reproductive justice call on us to protect everyone’s human rights to have children/families and to raise their families in safety and security. We know that these basic rights cannot be actualized in contexts of systemic poverty and the daily indignities and violence that poor folks endure.
Partnering with directly impacted people is required if we are to advance solutions that will truly work. HVJ is a community-based organization comprised of advocates who all have lived experience of homelessness and poverty. Their leadership have collaborated with Representative Rachel Talbot-Ross (Portland) to propose LD 1294, “Resolve, Directing the Maine Human Rights Commission to Implement a Pilot Program to Investigate and Report on Incidents of Harassment Due to Housing Status, Lack of Employment and Other Issues.” LD 1294 directs the Maine Human Rights Commission to collect incidents reported by those who face discrimination, criminalization, profiling, harassment, and dehumanization, solely for lack of income for a period of two years. This “Dignity Pilot” is the first step toward achieving a Homeless Bill of Rights in Maine, to protect the basic dignity of people experiencing homelessness. People without homes are disproportionately targeted for criminalization for acts of basic human survival, harassment, and even physical violence. It is time to end that discrimination of the vulnerable in Maine.
Please consider joining the conversation on Twitter this evening. To participate in the Twitter Storm, use the hashtag #Dignity4All between 5:30-6:30 pm EST. When tweeting, make sure to include the Twitter handles included below, so legislators know how important this issue is to Mainers.
We are interested in hearing perspectives and learning from you and your organization how homelessness intersects with your work. You can use some of the following questions to start thinking about what you might share:
- Homeless people often experience criminalization for engaging in necessary, life-sustaining activities (like urination, sleeping, etc.). How does this affect you/the people you serve?
- Do you believe homeless rights are human rights? Tell us why!
Hashtags to Use: #Dignity4All, #LD1294, #MEpolitics
Twitter Handles for Judiciary Committee Members & parties (who have public Twitter accounts):
- Senator Shenna Bellows: @SenBellows
- Maine House Democrats: @MaineHouseDems
- Maine Senate Democrats: @MaineSenateDems
- Maine House Republicans: @MaineHouseGOP
- Maine Senate Republicans: @MaineSenateGOP