VOICES: River City, episode 131: On state-sanctioned violence

We’re joined today by friend and longtime human rights advocate Niki to discuss the long history of state-sanctioned violence against people experiencing homelessness.

Last Saturday a group of demonstrators went to Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s house, chalked his driveway, and put signs and placards on his lawn to honor the hundreds of people who have died in the streets over the mayor’s four-year tenure. They also appear to have piled brush over a waste management receptacle outside his building, and broken a security camera and homemade piece of art.

The mayor says they threw rocks at his door and called out threats. Demonstrators who were there say that did not happen.

Naturally, the Very Serious People of Sacramento are making a show of the vandalism, calling it “political terrorism” and claiming that the fight to protect unhoused neighbors from state-sanctioned violence is no different than the violence committed by far-right Proud Boys and white supremacists.

Sacramento Bee Opinion Editor Gil Duran got very mad at all sorts of people on his Twitter before ultimately getting ratio’d for a public call-out of District 4 Councilmember Katie Valenzuela, who had been volunteering at a warming shelter when the demonstration outside Steinberg’s house took place. Duran wrote an opinion piece under the editorial board’s byline threatening to sic the Sacramento Police Department on the “terrorists” responsible.

Under Mayor Steinberg, homeless deaths have increased each year in Sacramento County–with an annual report counting 124 in 2017, 132 in 2018 and 138 in 2019. Last month, multiple people died in the streets as a result of a storm with 60-plus mile an hour winds. The city shut down its warming centers the day of the storm due to the weather not meeting temperature qualifications. The city continues to clear out encampments despite pleas from people experiencing homelessness for the city to stop destroying their homes and taking their possessions. 

Thanks for listening, defund the police and, as always:

Twitter: @youknowkempa@guillotine4you@ShanNDSTevens@Flojaune

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And thank you to Be Brave Bold Robot for the tunes.


VOICES: the podcast
Independent. Weird. Audio. The VOICES: River City podcast is here to talk all things Sacramento with the region's activists, artists and aardvarks.