What to do about Raleigh not allowing hungry people to be fed

I am glad to see so many friends sharing and reacting to the story of Love Wins being stopped from feeding hungry people in Raleigh.

You are probably wondering what you can do to help. There is a tried and true way to overcome such injustice. There are four steps:

  1. Determine if there is injustice – collect the facts
  2. Negotiation – dialogue with those in power and try to convince them to change
  3. Self-purification – training, spiritual preparation
  4. Direct action – create a crisis situation where negotiation can be effective

Since it is unclear what ordinance was ‘violated’ we are at step 1. This means we should all email and call the mayor, our city council member, and the council member at large. LW has given us that info here: http://lovewins.info/2013/08/feeding-homeless-apparently-illegal-in-raleigh-nc/

When you contact them:

  1. Be polite and respectful. Show love to all. Even opponents. Hugh at Love Wins will have an easier time negotiating with them if they have had a lot of people showing them respect. He will have a much harder time if a lot of people have been rude to them.
  2. Don’t make assumptions or accusations. Stick to the facts. All we know for sure is the police stopped Love Wins from giving out Bojangles biscuits and coffee to people on the sidewalk near Moore Square. Love Wins has been doing this every weekend for 6 years with no problem. Saturday the police stopped them.
  3. Ask for clarification. The folks we are contacting do answer to us. It is appropriate to respectfully ask for an explanation of their actions. The explanation they give will be important for what happens next. They need to know that we insist on an actual explanation. If enough of us ask (respectfully and firmly), they are more likely to give serious thought to how they answer.

We live in a weird culture where we celebrate action (of certain varieties) in our entertainment, but in real life we usually default to inaction. This creates an all-or-nothing dynamic which is unhelpful when measured response is called for (measured response is almost always called for). You may feel like calling and emailing aren’t enough, but at this stage they are exactly what is needed. Let’s get behind Hugh and Love Wins and make sure our elected officials know we insist on an explanation.

Call now. Email now. And don’t use a form email. Take 5 minutes and write your own. It’s okay to send the same email to each person, but make the language your own.