Catholic charities branch 1 forced me out last night. Fortunately, I was able to secure some last minute housing next door at “SAFE BAY”. I was told by the staff, James, I could not stay once I brought my legal action.
As readers know, I have been running this blog to save Dollhouse for Eliza Dushku, the woman I love. Many people have seen me at Vikings tailgating events, on the street, on campuses, and few know that I am homeless.
In an attempt to save the show, I often hand out fliers to people I come into contact with. I also take photographs of a variety of events that I participate in. I documented my experiences raising money for the TASTE OF THE NFL Let’ Kick Hunger day event as well as my donation to Yele. There are many other events to. I have covered political candidates as many forums, including the MLK day events and netroots.
Recently, I was confronted by a staff/volunteer at Branch 1 of Catholic charities who prevented me from distributing my fliers to save a television show. I will not reiterate the entire story as you can read the background here. In short, I tried to take the staff/volunteers picture. I was told that I could not take photographs inside the shelter. The next day at Branch 3 of Catholic Charities, I tried to take photographs of people playing Madden 2010 on a Playstation 3 for a second time at Branch 3 and was again told no. READ ABOUT HOMELESS GAMERS HERE.
As a result of these denials, I sought a legal order to enjoin them from preventing me from conducting outreach to save Dollhouse and allowing me to continue to take pictures.
I am asserting that Catholic Charities invades privacy by video taping everything at the shelter. I also assert there is a first amendment right to engage in solicitation and free speech as a homeless resident at Hennepin County secure area. The fact that it is a charity and not the state should not make a huge difference. I maintain that fundamental rights cannot be outsourced by transferring the administration of programs to charitable organizations. Allowing charities to eviscerate the first amendment would effectively create a “charitable” curtain, isolating members of the homeless community and impairing their ability to communicate with the outside world. Disallowing photographs/media in this environment would also fundamentally impair legitimate news gathering activities. What are they trying to hide?
Judge Bruce Peterson denied my emergency request but set the matter for a February 3, 2010 hearing.
On Saturday night, a day after my ex parte emergency order was filed, I returned to BRANCH 1 and was told I could not stay because of the legal action I had taken. Even though I had paid for my stay, I was told I could no longer take advantage of Branch 1 services by James. I explained that it seemed to be a retaliatory eviction. I ended up staying at “SAFE HARBOR” run by the Salvation Army. To put safe harbor in perspective, other members of the homeless community refuse to spend much time there. Most consider it too preachy and some have suggested the facilities are bad even relative to other places.
In any event, I want to make clear that all of this stems from my simple wish to express my love for Eliza Dushku and save her television show. Recent events are not making it any easier for me to help save the show for the woman I love.
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