Is Houston’s mayor playing chess with grassroots activists?
Report by Nick Cooper – Food Not Bombs recently received permission to share food in the downtown library plaza, though we never asked for it. Since everyone has the freedom to share food and messages of peace with their neighbors in public, requesting permission would have been redundant.
We sincerely thank the Mayor for her apparent acknowledgment that Food Not Bombs is a part of the solution to the problem of hunger in Houston. However, exempting Food Not Bombs also serves to reinforce the idea that the right to share food in public should be at the whim of whoever happens to be sitting in the Mayor’s office. The punitive nature of the law is the underlying problem, and granting exemptions doesn’t mitigate its chilling effect on volunteerism. The threat of harassment and $2,000 fines has caused volunteers to drop out, and the number of desperately hungry people coming to Food Not Bombs to double.