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#TentCity United at Occupy Austin

KitO : February 11, 2013 5:54 pm : End Homelessness, Events, General Assembly, News

A green spray painted tent and lit OCCUPIED signs.

Tent City United April 1st 2013

Why Tent City United?

The purpose of this action is not necessarily to create a new encampment, though of course that is wonderful if it happens. It’s to raise awareness about a number of issues — the plight of people without homes and the poor, whose very existence is illegal in some cities like Austin, the attacks on free speech and the loss of public spaces, etc. It also is a deliberate attempt to capitalize on the continued power of the tent as a symbol of free speech — our tents up action Feb 3 created a powerful response from both people in real life and on social media, and spawned at least one solidarity action I can’t speak about yet here online.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/481236308602494/

Twitter: @TentCityUnited

What Could You Do April 1

Actions can take place anywhere and by groups of any size. You could:

  • Pitch 1 or many tents in a park or other public space. Or many small tents in many different public spaces.
  • Pitch tents in a bank or other private space as an act of nonviolent civil disobedience.
  • Wear Tent Monster costumes.
  • Spread paper Tiny Tents in strategic places.
  • March with tents.
  • Pitch a tent in your front yard decorated with a sign and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.
  • Etc.

Form an affinity group with your friends and make your plans securely. Pass along to us what’s safe to share online.

Document Your Actions! and share them with info@occupyaustin.org or on Twitter with the #TentCity hashtag, on Facebook, etc.

A History of Encampments & Tent City in Austin

Occupy Austin occupied the steps of Austin City Hall from October 6 2011 until Feb 3, 2012. In 2012, our Tent City Working Group made several encampments. Some were shut down immediately by police. Others lasted for days or even months, some as guerilla camps and others with permission of land owners. These camps allowed many people a place to sleep until they successfully moved on to more stable situations, and helped raise awareness of the need for more shelters in Austin, contributing to the successful opening of a small women’s shelter. On Feb 3, 2013 we set up tents again at City Hall for a day as a pop up occupation with no arrests or interference by cops, only minimal harassment by security. This event was part of the inspiration for Tent City United (this day of action).

Endorsed by the Occupy Austin General Assembly Feb 11, 2013

I will bring this as a proposal at General Assembly today, February 11 2013 – Kit O’Connell

I ask Occupy Austin to consent to join the new Tent City United Day of Action.

While thousands are forced to live on our streets, thousands of homes are empty. Billions of dollars are diverted to war and maintaining the banks’ bottom line, while the prison industrial complex creates slave labor from our poor and the homeless, sometimes for basic human acts like sitting, lying down, or sleeping. Our public spaces are restricted, curfewed, and converted into advertising.

Occupy Austin calls on activists in Austin, and world wide, to create tent cities in public and private spaces on April 1, 2013. Tent City United will be a day of action in support of free speech, public ownership of public spaces, and the right of all humanity to have a safe place to live.

This will be a nonviolent action and we encourage all encampments to adopt an appropriate code of conduct and safer spaces agreement where possible.

In Austin, this action will be a joint effort by the Tent City working group and Occupy Austin Tactics and Strategy (OATS).


Press Release: On Tent City Rising and Police Repression

KitO : October 8, 2012 5:44 pm : End Homelessness, Events, News, Press Releases


October 7th, 2012


Peter Cooper – peterppehrc@gmail.com

Tent City Rising banner at ‘the Grotto’, one of the abandoned properties occupied by the group on October 6, 2012 (Photo: Kit O’Connell).

Police Waste Taxpayer Money Persecuting Homeless, Disrupting Occupy Austin Celebration

In celebration of Occupy Austin’s October 6 anniversary, the Ending Homelessness Working Group erected a Tent City which would house people currently without homes, emphasizing the failure by the City of Austin to respect human rights and the dignity of all of Austin. Austin Police Department pursued about 60 peaceful protesters and instigated three arrests.

“Tent City held a space overnight, even after three prior evictions from other unused land. We are organizing towards October 10th and World Homeless Action Day to occupy vacant land or buildings to house our people and build community,” says Occupy Austin Ending Homelessness Working Group member Jesse Greiner.

“We need a Tent City because the shelters are full. Women and children are sleeping in cars in parking lots and on the streets. Tent City is a temporary transitional housing project while people are waiting for a job or affordable housing to be built.” stated Occupy Austin End Homelessness Working Group member Valerie Romness.

Tent City Rises began with a rally at Highland Mall. Members of Occupy Austin including local homeless residents gathered and were confronted by APD officers and private mall security. Approximately 12 police cruisers arrived on scene, and officers directed protesters to leave the privately owned property. One demonstrator, Luke Smith, was arrested as police swept the parking lot. Joshua Pineda of the Peaceful Streets Project, who was filming the police, allegedly stepped back into the lot then back onto the sidewalk. At this point the police pulled him off the sidewalk and into the parking lot and then arrested him as well.

The remaining activists marched to the abandoned Home Depot building near St. Johns and IH-35, where they erected two tents and picketed outside the gated property. The City of Austin previously used this property to house members of Occupy Austin in February when they were evicted from Austin City Hall steps. 12 police vehicles arrived on the property and asked those who parked in the lot to remove their vehicles. As they went to retrieve their vehicles, police placed them in handcuffs, then released them with criminal trespass warnings. Police closed the gates and, after about 15 minutes, a group of officers came out to one of the erected tents. As Jeremy Crutz emerged from the tent, the Police forced him face down on the grass and arrested him. He was charged with illegal camping; police confiscated the two tents. No warnings were given before arrest.

Activists moved to another location, an empty lot across I-35, behind the Conoco station where they shared a meal donated by Keep Austin Fed and other individuals. After about an hour the Police moved two cruisers into a neighboring lot and swept through the property, prompting activists to move yet again. They regrouped and marched to a third location, the parking lot of a Church, where protesters were able to sleep for the night.

Occupy Austin and Peaceful Streets members have gathered at the Travis County Jail waiting for those arrested to be released. Jeremy Crutz and Josh Penada have been released and the final one is expected momentarily.

Occupy Austin is outraged at the amount of taxpayer money wasted by the APD in pursuing peaceful, non-violent people. We object to Austin’s zero tolerance policy which criminalizes human beings simply for lacking a home, and will continue to fight for our First Amendment rights and for the human rights and dignity of our houseless allies here in Austin.


The Ending Homelessness Working Group is made up of homeless, formerly homeless, and housed individuals. They have been organizing since January 2012 towards shelter for all and an end to ordinances targeting the homeless and the poor. The February 4th silent march against the ordinances also served as a response to the eviction of Occupy Austin’s encampment at City Hall where a number of homeless men and women had been living and organizing. The Working Group raised the demand for a women’s shelter, which was acted upon after the death of Valerie Godoy in Duncan Park, members of the working group have participated in the organizing of the shelter.

Occupy Austin is a standing protest against the unjust and harmful power of large corporations over the world’s economic and political systems and against threats to civil liberties and democracy at home and abroad. Our Occupation began on October 6, 2011.


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Occupy Austin Housing Justice Workgroup Meeting

Lainie : July 23, 2012 12:48 am : End Homelessness, Events, Food Issues, Local Outreach, News

Occupy Austin Housing JusticeDear Friends:

The Occupy Austin Housing Justice Workgroup invite you to the first of our community planning meetings Thursday, July 26 at 6 PM near the pedestrian bridge on Riverside and Lamar, across the street from Taco Cabana. 

Those of you who are able are encouraged to bring food and water to share with those who are homeless and/or hungry, as we will be dining together outdoors to begin the meeting, and would like to also feed those who do not have access to affordable, healthy food.

These potluck style meetings will occur weekly in this same location. All are welcome – occupiers and non-occupiers alike. ***Please join us in support of those who are currently living in substandard, non-code compliant housing.***

Please feel free to suggest agenda items. Full agenda will be posted by Thursday morning.

♥ Lainie


From our Mission Statement (which is a work in progress, so please feel free to offer constructive feedback):

Our objectives: to assist both current and displaced residents of substandard and non-code compliant multi-family housing projects with food, clothing, childcare, and temporary shelter; to collaborate with and provide support to existing housing justice and tenant support organizations; and to train and empower tenants to speak out against unfair and discriminatory property management firms, to demand accountability from sub-standard property owners and petition city leaders to put ordinances in place to compel legal compliance by offending property mgmt. and owners.

Where you come in: By no means do we consider this statement representative of the “99%” nor of the thousands of Austinites living in substandard or unaffordable housing. In order to fully engage and empower those residents, we need your help. We need you to make every effort to step out of the digital world and into the reality of poverty and gentrification.

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Meet Rubiks…

Lainie : May 18, 2012 9:13 pm : End Homelessness, Local Outreach, Uncategorized

Yesterday, Members of Occupy Austin, in solidarity with the Peaceful Streets Project interviewed people about their experiences with Austin Police Department.

Meet Rubiks, who told us her story of being arrested and jailed for 7 hours for smoking a cigarette in public.

…and then promptly solved a Rubik’s Cube for us in under 2 minutes:

Thank you for sharing your story, Rubiks! <3

(more stories to come)

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PB&J Action!

Lainie : May 16, 2012 7:27 pm : End Homelessness, Events, Food Issues, Local Outreach, Spread the Word, Uncategorized, Welcome Wagon


Join members of Occupy Austin and other activist groups in sharing food, cigarettes, and mobile phone minutes with people who are currently homeless and/or hungry. We will also encourage them to share their stories, particularly their experiences with the Austin Police Department, in solidarity with the Peaceful Streets Project (http://peacefulstreets.com/)

Thursday, May 17, 6:30 PM, meet up at Wooldridge Park

Please Bring:
Peanut butter
Knives for spreading pb&j
Recording equipment
Mobile phones that can be loaned

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