Dear friends Accrording to Alternet, "members of Orlando Food Not Bombs were arrested (June 1) when police said they violated a city ordinance by feeding the homeless in Lake Eola Park. The group lost a court battle in April, clearing the way for the city to enforce the ordinance. It requires groups to obtain a permit and limits each group to two permits per year for each park within a 2-mile radius of City Hall. Arrest papers state that Cross, Markeson and McHenry helped feed 40 people Wednesday night. The ordinance applies to feedings of more than 25 people.They were arrested for providing much-needed food to too many people, too often....The group 'has been feeding the homeless breakfast on Mondays for several years and dinner on Wednesdays for five years.' " The three Food Not Bombs staffers who were arrested -- Jessica Cross, Benjamin Markeson, and Jonathan "Keith" McHenry -- face 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. We are a group of people involved with feeding, clothing and tending to the many needs of homeless and destitute people in Japan. We call on Orlando to reverse its criminal treatment of both the homeless and those who take care of them. We further urge people to withhold money they would otherwise spend on visiting Orlando's many tourist attractions--and make that known to the Orlando city government that --until the city comes to its senses, releases the Food Not Bombs campaigners, and allows homeless people to be served life sustaining food in its parks again--they will not be vacationing on Orlando. This petition will also be sent to Orlando in several weeks. In addition to signing this petition, we urge you to contact the following people to and let them know your feelings:
ORLANDO MAYOR BUDDY DYER firstname.lastname@example.org
WE THE UNDERSIGNED: To Orlando city and tourist officials, I was dismayed to learn that you have been denying the homeless a right to life sustaining nourishment in your parks and criminalizing the act of feeding people who do not have enough to eat. I pledge to do all in my power to discourage people from spending their tourist dollars in your city until you reverse your decision to make feeding the homeless a crime and release without charges those arrested. Thank you for your consideration, and may common sense prevail.
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