A statement on continued and widening repression by the city of of community members for alleged participation in housing rights and anti-encampment sweeps as the city declared code purple for danger of freezing for homeless folks, around New Years 2021

If you want to donate to ongoing mutual aid efforts, venmo: @AVLSurvival. If you want to donate to the defendants legal fund: @AVLdefendantfund. If you want to contribute to support future movement repression, venmo: @BlueRidgeABC

Image Description:

  • Slide one: Black text on a white background with a blue border and red background “The following is an update from the now 15 defendants facing charges in Asheville, NC as a part of the city government’s attempt to repress food sharing and mutual aid organizing”.
  • Slide two: Black text on a light red background with a dark red border and a light blue background ” Since our last statement at the beginning of February, the state has targeted 8 more community members in connection with the December demonstration in Aston Park criticizing the City government’s inhumane treatment of homeless folks. We are now a group of 15 locals facing multiple felony charges for participating in mutual aid efforts in our community”.
  • Slide three: Picture of a tree in ***** park with a bathroom sink hanging from a branch and a banner hung around the base of the tree, a sunset in the background. Various objects scattered underneath the tree. A white truck in the background of the picture. Black text above the image on a light blue background with a red border and a dark blue background ” The city government claims we are each responsible for leaving behind more than 500 lbs of trash following a peaceful protest. APD claims this resulted in a 100 hours of “clean-up efforts”, the use of heavy machinery, and a cost of $2,680″.
  • Slide four: Black text on a light red background with a dark red border and light blue background “Over the past three months, the taxpayer dollars and time expended surveilling, harassing, arresting, and now prosecuting the defendants vastly exceeds the damages claimed by APD. How many of the same resources and heavy machinery have been employed by the city and county government to remove and destroy homeless camps in the last year alone?”.
  • Slide five: Image of a windbreak made of pallets with words reading “people over profit” and “community will keep us safe” on them in spray paint. There are four white (city) trucks in the background and the back of a person next to the palates. Leaves scattered on the grass in the foreground of the image.
  • Slide six: Black text on a light red background with a dark red border reading ” These actions are not an effort to make our city safer, they are an attack on mutual aid. We remain committed to ensuring all members of our community have a safe place to live, a community around them, and agency over their own lives.” and a blue background beyond that.
  • Slide Seven: Black text on white background reading: ” We still need your help as we face state repression and attempts to shut down our networks of care. ” with a blue border and dark red background.
  • Slide eight: Black text on light red background reading: “Keep sharing food and care and solidarity with one another. Keep delivering groceries, cooking meals, sharing funds, and showing up in the parks. Keep standing with your community. Keep building this beautiful, transformative mutual aid movement. Keep sharing our story. In solidarity and community, the Sanctuary Camp Defendants” with a dark red border and light blue background.

Prior statement:

Text of the first 10 slides:

  • “The following is a statement from 7 defendants facing charges in Asheville, NC as part of the city government’s attempt to repress food sharing and mutual aid organizing:”
  • “We, the defendants, understand these arrests to be part of a larger strategy of the Asheville Police Department and City government to end mutual aid in Asheville. Mutual aid is loving hard and caring for folks in community by working cooperatively, resourcing, and networking to meet everyone’s basic needs. City officials have time and again chosen to sacrifice the survival of homeless and poor folks of this city in the name of profit and tourism. Now they’ve chosen to target mutual aid work in Asheville because this work shines a light on the pervasive, immeasurable failures of the government to care for its community.”
  • “From December 19th to December 25th, 2021, a group of locals – both housed and unhoused, youth and adults – gathered at Aston Park in downtown Asheville for a community art build. This was to create art together, share hot food, and bring attention to the violent, inhumane treatment of homeless folks by the city government. In the weeks following, Asheville Police Department issued arrest warrants for seven locals, charging each of them with both felony littering and aiding & abetting felony littering. APD officers arrested two individuals from their places of work and attempted to do so to another. APD arrested a third individual at their home. To avoid continued harassment from APD, four individuals elected to turn themselves in. Following the arrests, APD proceeded to share personal information about six of the seven arrestees on social media. “
  • “These charges are just one of multiple attempts by City government to repress our movement. We see these accusations as an attempt to incapacitate and exhaust those who believe adamantly that ALL members of our community should be housed, nourished, cared for, and have agency over their own lives.”
  • “These arrests come amidst a county wide wave of camp sweeps that aim to uproot, traumatize, and wipe out homeless people in Asheville. Over recent months, there has also been an increase of targeted harassment against homeless community members who are known to be politicized and outspoken about the violence they face. Recently, Asheville City government has also attempted to criminalize food sharing in public parks as yet another way to push homeless people and housed allies out of public space and to ultimately outlaw mutual aid.”
  • “We Need Your Help”
  • “Thank you to those in this community who have reached out to offer support, express rage, and extend resources. We are in awe of our community’s commitment to hold each other through difficult times. Moving forward, we ask two things of those wishing to stand in solidarity with us: First, we will need our community behind us to make it through. Within your networks, help us make it known that this is much larger than legal proceedings against seven people. This is a politically-motivated attempt to end mutual aid in our town.”
  • “Second, as the state tries to actively disrupt our ability to support each other’s basic needs, we must hold each other even closer. We write this statement as a call to continue mutual aid. Share food, share support, and share love for one another. The more people continue showing up, the stronger and more resilient our networks become.”
  • “Mutual Aid is under attack”
  • “In a time when APD and City Government are trying to intimidate, we can let them know we will not be scared. We will never stop. We will always be here, because all we have is each other. –in solidarity and community the defendants”

Solidarity from Blue Ridge ABC!