---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Julian P Heicklen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2011
Food Not Bombs
Keith McHenry - cofounder
The Orange County Democratic Executive Committee passed a resolution at their regular August 15th meeting requesting that Mayor Dyer and the Orlando City Council decriminalize food sharing in city parks and refrain from arresting people for food sharing under city codes 18A.09 -1 and 18A.09-2. Mayor Dyer is a member of the Democratic Party and principle supporter of the law restricting the sharing of meals with Orlando's hungry to twice a year per park.
Orlando police have arrested 29 Food Not Bombs volunteers for sharing vegan meals with the hungry at Lake Eola Park. The first criminal trials for violating the Large Group Feeding Permit Law begin next week. If convicted the defendants face Food Not Bombs volunteer Palmer B. Harrell, of Orlando, and Francis "Pat" Fitzgerald, an anti-poverty activist from Gainesville, will begin their trial on Monday, august 22, followed by the trial of Food Not Bombs volunteer Jessica L. Cross on Thursday, August 25th. The trails will take place at Orange County Courthouse, 425 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida.
It is believed that over 10,000 people are homeless in Orlando and many families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and seek food assistance. Second Harvest reports that many of the programs they serve are forced to turn away as many as 10 percent of those seeking food. While many of the residence suffer extreme poverty the city of Orlando has spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars defending the Large Group Feeding Permit Law and now plans to spend hundreds of thousands more attempting to convict those who are volunteering to provide nutritious meals to the hungry while advocating for changes in government policies that would protect American's from having to seek food at soup kitchens.
The text of the resolution is below:
"RESOLUTION OF THE COUNTY COMMITTEE OF ORANGE COUNTY DEMOCRATS OF ORANGE COUNTY FLORIDA
"REQUESTING ORLANDO MAYOR DYER AND CITY COUNCIL TO DECRIMINALIZE FOOD SHARING IN CITY PARKS AND REFRAIN FROM ARRESTING PEOPLE FOR FOOD SHARING IN CITY PARKS UNDER CITY CODES 18A.09-1 and 18A.09-2
"WHEREAS, sharing food with the homeless and hungry is a charitable act that should be commended and supported when done by any individual, organization, or agency.
"WHEREAS, such acts of compassion and selflessness must never be criminalized or penalized.
"WHEREAS, our nation is going through a severe economic recession and the growing population of hungry, homeless, and working poor men, women and children need special care and attention.
"WHEREAS, the passage of this ordinance and its enforcement involving arrests may reflect badly on Orlando, internationally. Moreover, adverse publicity about these arrests may significantly hurt the economy and reputation of the City Beautiful.
"WHEREAS, as Democrats, we stand firm in our belief in anti-poverty policies and
expect our elected officials to do the same.
"NOW THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY DECLARED, ON THIS THIS DAY, AUGUST 15, 2011,THAT THE DEMOCRATIC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF ORANGE COUNTY,
FLORIDA, REQUEST THAT THE CITY OF ORLANDO, MAYOR DYER, AND CITY
COMMISSIONERS DIAMOND, LYMAN, ORTIZ, SHEEHAN, STUART AND ING,
DECRIMINALIZE THE ACTIVITY OF ORGANIZED FOOD SHARING AND REFRAIN
FROM ARRESTING THOSE WHO ORGANIZE SUCH FOOD SHARING ACTIVITIES
FOR THE HUNGRY IN ANY AND ALL CITY PARKS OF ORLANDO, FL."
ADDITIONAL DETAILS ON THE CRIMINALIZATION OF POVERTY
Orlando's homeless ranks grow -- many are falling off economy's
Orlando Large Group Feeding Permit Law
END THE CRIMINALIZATION PROTESTS SEPTEMBER 16, 2011
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