Food Terrorist For Feeding Poor — Benjamin Mason of Food Not Bombs, has been labeled a “Food Terrorist” by the mayor of Orlando, FL since his arrest, for feeding the poor in a park in downtown Orlando . The mayor said that feeding programs for the poor and homeless have been bringing too many people into the park. In order to slow the tide of the poor Food Not Bombs began to feed the poor in an area specifically designed for large crowd picnicking. This was insufficient.
In response to the problem of poor people being fed in the park Orlando City Council passed a law stating that only 25 people at a time can be fed and that one could not feed poor people without a permit issued by the city to feed them two times per month. Several requests for permits from churches, non-profit groups, and feeding programs have been turned down since. Many organizations have been feeding the poor without the permit and have been arrested. At present, Mason is awaiting his trial. He has filed a lawsuit against the unconstitutionality of the law citing that a waiver in the city constitution that allows for feeding the poor has simply been crossed out and ignored by the major without the input of the city residents or the City Council.
Previously, according to Mason, food programs were not permitted because the neighborhood was being gentrified and the city government wanted to be sure that certain people, i.e., poor people and people of color being pushed out, didn’t continue to return to the community. Now, due to the poor political strategies of government, more people are poor and homeless including those who were gentrifying the community. There is a great need for the food programs for the community itself.
I wonder what will will happen next in FL. I also wonder if this type of hardheartedness that not only keeps people poor by cutting educational opportunities, job opportunities, and housing programs that support the non-working and underemployed, but doesn’t even allow good-hearted- people from the private sector to step in and take up where the government should be leading, will spread throughout the U.S. It is both amazing and shocking that there are groups of elected officials who don’t care anything for the dispossessed and seem to take pleasure in their continued suffering as they blame the victims of a society that is chewing people up and spitting them out, for the condition in which they find themselves. Or at least trying to hide their failures in creating a system where everyone has the right to work and prosper from tourists and visitors in order to not feel ashamed.