Monday, October 08, 2007

St. Francis Update

The press conference where my artwork appeared was held last Thursday. Unfortunately, our charismatic and pro-big business mayor Gavin Newsom, who has never spent a day in his life wondering how he was going to pay for his next meal, decided to hold a competing press conference at a location away from City Hall and drew all the major media away with him! He was making headlines all last week regarding his plans to make police sweeps of a tourist neighborhood downtown and hand out more citations against the homeless, while throwing out some misleading statistics about how he's helping to get these people off the streets.

Dirty politics, to be sure.

I have liked Newsom because of his outspoken support of Gay Marriage, but I had turned a blind eye to other policies of his that clearly do not favor the underpriviledged and disenfranchised. I am torn now about how I feel about him. He's up for re-election (hence, another crackdown on a convenient scapegoat: homeless people). I want to vote for someone else.

Two other liberal city supervisors did come to our press conference and spoke with passion about the work of Sister Bernie (seen in photo standing next to St. Francis) and her colleagues.

Anyway, the display looked great and my art looked great-- a flaw or two bugged me, but overall it was a very successful project. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to do it and to meet these folks.

There were several inspiring speakers at the event and in the end Religious Witness With Homeless People got enough media coverage to make it all worthwhile. They got their message out: that criminalizing homelessness and spending tax dollars on citations and arrests is an ineffective and non-compassionate response to this problem.

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