A Statement from Orlando Food Not Bombs
"Orlando Food Not Bombs is not going anywhere. We will not slink out of Orlando because a court ruling goes against us. Some accuse us of being "outside agitators" with a covert agenda, but we freely admit that our purposes are both humanitarian and political. Many of us live here, and it is our city, too. We will continue to share food at a location in or near downtown Orlando twice a week, as we have for more than five years. We do this because thousands of hungry people desperately need the food that we provide and because we truly believe that food is a right -- not a privilege.
"The City of Orlando, from Mayor Buddy Dyer on down, has provided ample evidence that it believes that food and human survival are mere privileges. They have repeatedly criminalized homelessness and dehumanized the poor and the homeless. Some of their more outrageous actions have included creating an undercover Orlando police unit to nab panhandlers and arresting an FNB member for the heinous crime of ladling out stew too many times (this involved 15 police officers!). We would love to know how many of our hard-earned tax dollars Dyer and his minions have squandered harassing the hungry, and opposing those who provide them with aid (without using one penny of public money).
"Orlando Food Not Bombs can not and will not stand down and allow an apartheid-like system of injustice based upon socio-economic status to go unchallenged. The court ruling was only part of one battle; our struggle for a freer, more equitable and compassionate society continues. We have partnered with other groups and individuals to organize and advocate in our community around issues such as poverty, jobs, support for the rights of workers and immigrants, gentrification, affordable housing, social services, and police accountability.
"We will hold local public officials accountable for how their decisions affect everyone--not just corporate and business interests and wealthy campaign donors. We will demand that they recognize that the greatness of a city is not measured by how much it can lavish on arenas and performing arts centers, but by how it treats the least among us. We will make the powerful listen and we will make them act.
"In closing, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our lawyer, Jacqueline Dowd. It is only due to Jackie's tireless efforts on our behalf that we have been able to share food at Lake Eola Park these last four years despite the City's anti-homeless food sharing ordinance. We esteem Jackie for her commitment to this cause and to the people with whom we share and to everyone in our community who is disadvantaged."