Student-based group, San Jose R.A.D. (Regeneration Against Destruction), were at the community clean up at the "Jungle" this past weekend working along side the people living in the encampment. Teacher, Charles Fowler, reflects on the on community organized clean up.
As the city of San Jose slept on April 19th, 2014, founding members of C.A.R.E outreach set up camp with two large dumpsters they had donated for their second planned clean up at the largest homeless encampment in the Country “The Jungle”. C.A.R.E Outreach is just one of the many direct service groups that has emerged to support the members of The Jungle, in the real absence of concrete solutions proposed or enacted by the city of San Jose. On April 20-21st, members of the San Jose community from C.A.R.E Outreach, San Jose State University, Community Homeless Alliance Ministry (CHAM), Regeneration Against Destruction (R.A.D), students from Yerba Buena High School and multiple other volunteers arrived to support the residents of “The Jungle” as they sought to clean up the area they call “home”. As the city may face fines from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and they scramble to find temporary or even permanent housing for the over 4,000 homeless of San Jose, these residents and volunteers showcased the true power of community as they dedicated their Easter and Earth day weekends to beautifying the creek. Members of C.A.R.E Outreach largely coordinated the event culminating in not just two large dumpsters full of trash, but also the contributions of clothing, toiletries, and food for the members of “The Jungle”.
The efforts of volunteers both from organizations/groups/clubs and individual community members showcase the resiliency and brilliance of our community. With compassion and empathy people open their arms in an effort to stand with people instead of standing in judgment. Truly this weekend was an amazing experience for me and many others, but there is still work to be done. If you are interested in supporting organizations mentioned or members of “The Jungle” please look through links below to see what the groups have and are currently organizing or see if you can organize something of your own. As the issue of homelessness rises to the forefront of the political landscape in San Jose, one thing is clear we need a diversity of tactics to stand with our homeless brothers and sisters. Direct actions done this Easter weekend are just one example, but ultimately long-term transitional support, growth of affordable housing, and community building needs to all take place in order to even attempt to truly transform “The Jungle”
C.A.R.E Outreach Program (firstname.lastname@example.org)
San Jose R.A.D (email@example.com)
CHAM Ministries (Facebook)
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