You are probably already aware of the series of stories on Golden Gate Park that ran on the front pages of the July 24, July 29, and August 2 Chronicles. These stories, written by a columnist rather than a reporter, have all suggested increased police harassment of homeless people in the Park and/or have criticized needle exchange programs—a social service that has helped San Francisco reduce the percentage of new HIV cases due to the use of injection drugs from 16% to 0.5%. Very obviously, when we’re talking about eliminating needle-exchange programs, we’re talking about endangering lives. When we’re talking about “sweeping” homeless people–as though they were trash—we’re creating a social atmosphere in which it’s okay to dehumanize San Francisco’s poorest residents. Dehumanization is a slippery slope, and we’ve seen awful instances of violence, sometimes murder, in other parts of the country. We are asking you, as organizations and individuals that care about core social services, that care about human beings, and that care about social justice, to let the Chronicle know that you do not approve of its abuse of homeless people as an easy target, and that hiding behind the excuse that this is a column, rather than straight journalism, simply does not fly when that column gets the biggest headline on page 1.
Help us keep the media accountable. Write a letter to Editor Phil Bronstein and let him know the Chronicle is promoting the hatred of an entire class of people simply because they are too poor to afford a place to live. Let him know that the community knows that this shock-jock-style hate journalism is a mean-spirited ploy to sell more papers.
San Francisco Chronicle
901 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
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