The Meaning Behind Today’s Human Safety Net Protest
At 8:30 this morning, Save Our Safety Net organizers will be surrounding the Wilson Building with what they are calling a "human safety net." City Desk reached out to the Net's media rep Joni Podschun to explain the meaning behind their latest protest. She responded via e-mail with the details.
So how many humans will it take to form a complete "human safety net" around city hall?
"We've calculated that it is 900 feet around the Wilson building, so with people and banners and nets we expect 200 people will wrap it up nicely," Podschun replied.
What would you say to Jack Evans and Vince Gray to get them to join your human chain? Podschun wrote:
"Jack Evans is just not going to be convinced on this issue. I don't know if he truly believes the preposterous notion that wealthy people will leave rather than pay a few hundred dollars more, but nobody else we've talked to believes it, even the people who object to our proposal because they think the Government should eliminate all waste before raising taxes. The latter is not a position we find to be especially reasonable or moral, but at least it has some sort of logic to it.
Vince Gray has worked in social services for most of his career — he has arguably done as much for our safety net as anyone on Council. In his campaign speeches, he likes to tout the revenue-generating measures that Council took last year — the cigarette and sales tax increases, which all disproportionately affected low- and middle-income DC residents. Here we're proposing to rescue the damaged safety net in a truly progressive way. This would hardly pinch a small portion of DC's population, but it's a major opportunity to demonstrate the leadership that Gray likes to say that DC needs."
How did you decide on a human safety net? Podschun wrote:
"We all benefit from a strong safety net, whether or not we use these services. This action features DC residents from all walks of life and all corners of the city, joining together to form a safety net around the building. It also creates a beautiful demonstration that Councilmembers can't avoid as they arrive for their meetings on the budget. Our city has some of the worst income disparity in the country, and reversing that begins here. So we'll join together to call upon Councilmembers to be smart, responsible, and courageous."