From Haiti to West Oakland Poverty Gangsta-Pimping & Poltricking -But No Real Help For Fire Victims

Tiny - Posted on 02 April 2017

Tiny and Candy Corn/POOR Magazine

“All fire victims will have to leave the “temporary shelter” with or without  any money or housing on April 6th,”  reported Audrey Candy Corn, POOR Magazine reporter, single mama of 3 and founder of TAZ clothing company who has been on the ground from Day 1 standing , advocating and caring for all the low-income families who lost everything they had in the West Oakland Fire of last week that diplsaced over 150 people and killed four. “The relocation funds given by the Red Cross and all the other entities over here claiming to help are as low as $150.00 for an individual and only goes up to $500.00 for a family of four, which covers nothing as we already know “ Audrey concluded.

From the beginning the displaced low-income, disabled children and adults, all Black and Brown, who were already poor before the fire, have been neglected, forgotten, criminalized, poverty Gansta-Pimped and/ or lied to by a stream of Old- School Big Non-profit poverty industries. Some people have made the connection between the Ghost Ship fire and this fire, and the glaringly obvious ways that poor folks of color and disabled folks are consistently criminalized, predated on and lied to because of the very things we had going on before crisis hits us. In ghost ship there were vigils, investigations and endless media attention. In this fire, confusion, case-manglement, empty promises, lost money and jail-like conditions at the temporary shelter are the norm.

Unlike the Ghost Ship victims and this fire victims, our lives as poor folks have already been normalized to include substandard living conditions, and the constant  threat of displacement and no real help. In this story, Mayors have visited, The Raiders have served food, GoFundMe’s have been started that didn’t actually go the individual families and was actually meant for the organization that was also housed in the building.And then the Salvation Army was called in to take away the bags and bags of unusable clothes that well-meaning folks had left for the fire victims, ostensibly adding the profits of their sale to the Salvation Army's already million dollar used clothing industry.

Just like the post -pimping of Haiti after the earthquake, another horrible example of poverty pimping of poor folks of color by Poverty Industries, no talk of reparations for low-income Black families in Oakland were had before the fire and so of course no talk of reparations is being talked about now. The conditions that families were living in and normalized were already bad, not hipster bad like Ghost Ship. Of oh- this is a warehouse and we are making art and we know that artists who don’t have a lot of money are stuck with less that safe housing, but we are young, mostly white, mostly middle class people who can move. No this was all poor folks, with children, elders, with disabilities, all of color, and had NOWHERE ELSE TO GO.

When myself and another POOR Magazine reporter Vivi T, both survivors of homelessness and gentrification fires ourselves, were at the site of the fire and first relocation center, a church at 27th and Broadway, talking to victims to get the truth behind this fire , we witnessed our fellow po folks suffering the classic example of poor folks predation, as the PoLice pulled up to the “relocation” center just in time to discover that one of the victims who was living in the building had a warrant and the poLice used their need for help as a chance to arrest them

From poverty pimping to poltrickster  promising.
Audrey who was filming the struggles and pimping everyday. on Facebook live explained that from the beginning the process has been almost intentionally confusing, Many families who were living together only received one stipend because the red cross “volunteers” who had no experience with crisis or communities in struggle and what we would call poverty scholarship, only distributed one application, which meant that some folks got the little Red Cross stipend, and a lot of folks had to fight to get it cause they were FUCKED FROM THE START by the confusing application process of the Red Cross.

Transcript from a conversation between Mayor Libby Shaaf (LS) and one of the mamas at the shelter (P) trying to get some help:
(P) “I think mothers and children should be given priority first.  I’m not knocking anyone else.  I just think that mothers with kids should be at the top of the list.  in one of the few times that Libby Schaaf  made her way over to the center, she came up with a barrage of excuses for why children were still here without clothing.”

LS: I’m not actually the best person to tell, remember, i delegate stuff to other people, i’m not sitting, there

LS:what i can tell you is that i have staff at the city, not here, but city hall, who are doing research on all of the housing resources and trying to figure out what housing resources are available.  

P: All i’m saying is that that couple are going now.  What did they say special that we didn’t say?  We’ve got kids up here too.  

LS: all i was told is that people who have medical conditions should get priority.

P: So that’s the cap?  They’ve always got to put a cap on these things.  Like i’ve told you my son had medical conditions.  He ‘s hospitalized all the time- seizures, asthma,

P: You’re asking me what could you do.   I’m telling you but it’s like no, it’s not just you, a gang of people came here and asked me like you asked me

LS:   i’m not writing it down.  

P: I thought since you’re the mayor, i thought you would have some kind of seniority, something you could do.  So many women want to be there for her children.  If I was in your place I know I’d be working my ass off to help people, that’s just me.
“Maybe we should just join the folks in the tents on the street,” One of the poverty scholars I spoke to on day 1 broke my heart, when he said this, cause a lot of times when an already hard life gets even harder we just give up - another little murder of the soul my ghetto scholar mama Dee used to call it, her and i falling deep into those “give-Ups’ more times than my trauma -filled mind cares to remember when these kid of crises would happen.

Folks are about to displaced on Thursday, april  With no real money or support or housing, just a lot of pamphlets and case-manglement. If folks want to help, victims are asking not for food or clothes or toiletries but for a direct donation of cash money or gift cards that can be distributed directly to the families..To arrange a meeting with the families directly, call Audrey Candy Corn at (510) 830-8822.

POOR Magazine will be helping the families organize an emergency press conference for Housing and Support on Tuesday, April 4th at 2pm in front of the West Oakland Youth Center  at 3222 Market street in West Oakland,


Sign-up for POOR email!