The following is an update issued March 10 from the defendants (at this point 15) facing charges in Asheville, NC as part of the city government’s attempt to repress food sharing and mutual aid organizing:
Since our last statement at the beginning of February, the state has targeted 8 more community members in connection with the December demonstration in Aston Park criticizing the City government’s inhumane treatment of homeless folks. We are now a group of 15 locals facing multiple felony charges for participating in mutual aid efforts in our community.
The City government claims we are each responsible for leaving behind more the 500 pounds of trash following a peaceful protest. Asheville Police claim this resulted in 100 hours of “clean up efforts,” the use of heavy machinery, and a cost of $2,680.
Over the past three months, the dollars and time expended surveilling, harassing, arresting, and now prosecuting the defendants vastly exceeds the damages claimed by APD. How many of the same resources and heavy machinery have been employed by the city and county governments to remove and destroy homeless camps in the last year alone?
These actions are not an effort to make our city safer, they are an attack on mutual aid. We remain committed to ensuring all members of our community have a safe place to live, a community around them, and agency over their own lives.
We still need your help as we face state repression and attempts to shut down our networks of care.
Keep sharing food and care and solidarity with one another. Keep delivering groceries, cooking meals, sharing funds, and showing up in the parks. Keep standing with your community. Keep building this beautiful, transformative mutual aid movement. Keep sharing our story.
In solidarity and community,
the sanctuary camp defendants