I had a great day today! I hung out mostly with the group of younger kids from Long Street. They were excited to hang out because most of the time, over the past few days, when i have seen them it has been at night during their “working hours”. So today we had a chance just to hang out. We went to the Company Gardens and just laid in the grass. They actually asked me to come with them and talk to them until they fell asleep (they had stayed up all night and had not yet slept). So we met up with a couple of the other guys that hang out in the Gardens and just hung out, laid on a blanket and chatted. I was again reminded of the blog i wrote the other day about the discrimination that street people receive from police and security compared to “average members of the public”.
In a few hours of sitting there we were approached by two different sets of police officers and two different sets of security guards. The kids had eventually fallen asleep and Gregory and i just sat there and chatted. Later my wife came for a visit as well. But in that time, every visit we had from the authorities brought the message that “people” are not allowed to sleep in the Company Gardens. Please picture with me for one second, a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon (that was before it started raining), families sitting all in the grass (many of those people sleeping), all sorts of activities and fun. The kids were not harming anybody. Just sleeping. So were other people, that did not get told FOUR SEPARATE TIMES that they are not allowed to sleep there. I explained that the sign (which is a picture) explains that people, ALL people, are not allowed to sleep there in the night, because it is a picture (crossed out) of man sleeping under the moon. That makes it pretty clear for literate and illiterate alike.
I understand rules. I think many rules are good and allow us to live in peace and harmony with one another. BUT rules have to apply to everyone and not just a certain “class” or grouping of people. I used to walk through the Gardens regularly and there has not been one single time that i have NOT seen people sleeping: business men, construction workers, homeless people, white people, black people, fat people, skinny people, lots and lots of people…sleeping. But the only people i have ever seen be harassed about sleeping in the Gardens are homeless people. So…
- Make a rule that NO ONE is allowed to sleep there and enforce it fairly, and equally to the entire public.
- Lay off and let everyone enjoy the little bit of “nature” in the middle of this concrete jungle.
BUT WHATEVER YOU DO JUST BE FAIR AND TREAT PEOPLE EQUALLY!!!!!