For Immediate Release: Hamilton Artists Inc.’s Statement of Support for Defund HPS Coalition
December 1, 2020
Earlier this year, Hamilton Artists Inc. board and staff voted unanimously to support the work of the coalition of organizers calling for the defunding of Hamilton Police Services (HPS). Organizers are advocating for the inflated Police Services budget—the biggest budget line in the municipal budget at 171 million in 2020—to be cut in half and reinvested into housing to address Hamilton’s significant housing crisis.
We are writing this letter to reaffirm our unflinching support of the important work of the Defund HPS Coalition. Our organization has been operating in the heart of downtown Hamilton for many years. We witness the city’s blatant disregard for the lives and wellbeing of our houseless neighbours every day.
Last month, the City of Hamilton and Police Services forcibly disbanded two encampments downtown, brutalizing residents, destroying their possessions, and displacing them into more than 20 encampments across the city. Many front-line community organizations, including doctors, lawyers, and harm reduction workers, have raised the alarm about the city’s treatment of encampment residents. Our communities need safe, permanent housing and access to mental health and social services, not to be surveilled and criminalized by the police for being poor in public.
For a week, the Defund HPS Coalition gathered peacefully outside of City Hall and modeled the caring, compassionate vision of community we need—they fed people, provided clothing and supplies, programmed arts and educational activities, and offered medical care 24/7.
We call on our community to support the vital work of the Defund HPS Coalition. Donations of warm clothing, propane heaters, sleeping bags, and tents are still needed for houseless residents and can be dropped off at New Vision United Church. Monetary support can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A PDF version of this letter can be found HERE.