This afternoon about a dozen homeless persons and their advocates staged a brief but impassioned rally in Asheville’s Pritchard Park.
The gathering was a protest of City Council member Carl Mumpower‘s recent e-mail solicitation for digital photos he hoped would convey “the authentic reality of our problems with vagrant/addict misbehavior downtown.” Mumpower said he would use the photos in an upcoming presentation to City Council (see the full text of that e-mail below).
The Rev. Amy Cantrell, who helped lead the rally, said: “This is a deep invasion of privacy. Unfortunately it’s not illegal, but it should be. … We see the erosion of rights in our country all the time, and I think those at the bottom have their rights eroded first.”
Signs held by participants carried messages including:
“Don’t know me? Don’t snap my picture!”
“Send your photos of your bad moments to City Council!!!”
“Love is the solution, not shame, ridicule and condemnation.”
— Jon Elliston, news editor, with reporting by David Forbes
Subject: Vagrant misbehavior
Date: June 12, 2007 8:33:36 AM EDT
To: [multiple recipients]
From: Carl Mumpower
To: Asheville residents
Subject: Confronting panhandling, public misbehavior, etc. downtown
Good morning – I am in the process of developing a presentation for Council on confronting the authentic reality of our problems with vagrant/addict misbehavior downtown. I would appreciate any digital photos that illustrate the reality.
Please feel free to share this email with any person or email list that might illicit interest, pro or con.
Asheville City Council