To cap off our year of research and advocacy, a few of our Resting Safe team members took our show on the road! We traveled to Baltimore to meet with one of the researchers we work with, Chris Hawn, at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, along with Nava and Julian, kick-ass UMBC students. We also got to convene and talk with inspiring activists from Baltimore’s Housing Our Neighbors and New York’s Picture the Homeless.
Spider Solidarity: In addition to collaborating with folks who’ve lived outside to collate and share lived expertise on environmental dangers and how to address them, part of the goals of Resting Safe have always been to put the means of testing and remediation at the disposal of the folks most effects by environmental hazards. To this end, Chris shared with us how to harvest a spider web to test for accrued air toxins! Chris, as well as Nava and Julian, were generous enough to take most of a day and teach us about different kinds of spiders, whose web is most helpful, and show us how to gather one without hurting the spider who built it. It was quite a sight to have the Resting Safe travel crew scurrying around the University Maryland campus, spider web tubes in hand, looking for the perfect specimen. We look forward to taking this knowledge to our own communities and expanding the capacity for folks to take their environmental welfare into their own hands!
Local Celebrities: Baltimore advocacy group Honor Our Neighbors gave us quite a warm welcome to their city as well. We were honored to take a walking tour of the social services of downtown, with history and context provided by Damien, who likely knows more about Baltimore than anyone. Afterward we got down to the real work: dinner and cards! In addition to the amazing folks at HON, we were also lucky to have members of Picture the Homeless travel down from New York city. It was a wonderful night of friendship and coalition-building.
Public Roundtable: We crowned our trip with an evening at Red Emma’s local cooperatively owned anarchist bookstore and cafe. Resting Safe, Honor Our Neighbors, and Picture the Homeless put on a public round table, where we all discussed housing and environmental justice challenges and strategies, and invited public audience dialogue.
What an incredible trip! We cannot thank our host organizers and advocates enough, and hope you hit the wind and join us soon in Portland.
Alex, Resting Safe.