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Action Alert: Promoting the Hatred of Homeless People is Unacceptable

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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.

The Columns:

July 24: HERE’S THE REAL PROBLEM IN GOLDEN GATE PARK

July 31: Unlikely view from decks of tony homes: homeless campsites

August 2: GOLDEN GATE PARK SWEEP – CAN CITY MAKE IT STICK? ‘MARCH OF JUNKIES’

Phil Bronstein

San Francisco Chronicle

901 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

PBronstein@sfchronicle.com

Also send letter to be published at letters@sfchronicle.com.

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Author: Street Sheet Editor

The STREET SHEET is the oldest continuously published street news paper in the United States. Organizationally, it is the public education and outreach tool of the Coalition on Homelessness. Every month, the STREET SHEET reaches 32,000 readers through over 200 homeless or low-income vendors. Our vendors are charged nothing for the papers they receive, and keep all money they earn through STREET SHEET distribution.

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