Broward News

Group Hunger Strike and Protest at Mayor's House Planned in Opposition to Homeless Laws

Activists Stopped From Feeding the Homeless in Fort Lauderdale from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

Ninety-year-old Arnold Abbott may have grabbed international attention last week when he defied a new ordinance designed to restrict the feeding of homeless people, but other activist groups are just warming up.

Jillian Pim, 30, from South Florida's Food Not Bombs chapter, is starting the second week of her hunger strike.

This Wednesday, November 12, Pim and her husband, Nathan, will mark the 11th day of her hunger strike (and their four-year anniversary) by picketing outside Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. "Jack" Seiler's home at noon.

See also: A 90-Year-Old and Two Clergymen Cited, Face Possible Jail Time, for Feeding the Homeless in Fort Lauderdale UPDATED

After that, on day 13 of Pim's fast, Friday, November 14, Food Not Bombs will continue its weekly food distribution for the homeless in Stranahan Park, as Nathan Pim says the group has done for seven years. Except Jillian's hunger strike will continue right outside City Hall, with 137 other people signed up to join Pim in a "Solidarity Fast Against the Homeless Hate Laws."

So far, Fort Lauderdale Police have cited or arrested at least ten people who have defied or opposed the new restrictions on food-sharing. These restrictions require groups to obtain permits and provide portable toilets, which some churches and nonprofits say is cost-prohibitive. Those who have been arrested or cited include Abbott; a minor, Damien Gabriel; and at least ten other members of South Florida Food Not Bombs.

On Friday, November 7, a sharing event was broken up by the cops at Stranahan Park and cut short about an hour into the feeding. The food comes from organizations like Spyke's Grove Farmer's Market, where Jillian Pim works at the juice bar, and Veggi Xpress.

See also: Arnold Abbott and Mayor Jack Seiler Face Off in Televised Debate

Pim says she's already "googly-brained" after the first week of her hunger strike but says her cause is more important than eating. In 2006, six University of Miami students joined ten janitors in a hunger strike protesting for higher wages.

When Philadelphia passed a ban on food-sharing in public spaces in 2012, a federal judge struck down the law.

Abbott has vowed to share food on Fort Lauderdale Beach again this coming Wednesday and to fight the city in court.

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Dylan Bouscher
Contact: Dylan Bouscher