What we witnessed on January 6 in Washington, D.C. was yet another example of the white supremacy that has governed our nation for centuries. This latest example comes on the heels of four years of President Trump and his enablers in Congress and his administration actively stoking the flames of hatred, division, and racism. These actions do not exist in a vacuum. The actions over the last four years have impacted people experiencing homelessness in ways that we have not yet completely reckoned with, but yesterday only amplified the harm.
When any city has to institute a curfew, we know that it impacts people experiencing homelessness in harmful ways. It means that people who are already hyper-surveilled experience even more heightened surveillance. It means a city’s transportation system is suspended earlier than normal, decreasing a person’s opportunities to find safe shelter in time to obey the curfew. It means organizations and institutions that assist people daily in managing their basic needs — such as access to case management, school lunch programs for students, and COVID testing and vaccination programs — must make the difficult choice to suspend these critical services if they cannot protect the safety of their staff and clients. All of this during a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting Black and brown people.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless calls on Vice President Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the President from office. Failing that action, Congress must impeach and remove the President immediately. Yesterday demonstrated, once again, that our nation has a long path we must walk to dismantle systemic racism. At this moment, we must take this one step on this path. That is the only way we will ever become the nation many of us want us to be.