July 14, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

HRC discusses Julie Lambert KEPW News story

3 min read
Blake Burrell said he was deeply impacted by Julie Lambert's journalism: "So I just wanted to put that on your radar. It's something that's been weighing really deeply on me and I wanted to amplify Julie's voice and the work that she's done."

Praise for KEPW Resistance Radio reporter Julie Lambert at the Human Rights Commission June 18:

Blake Burrell: I wanted to just bring some awareness to the Human Rights Commission around a few incidents that have impacted unhoused communities that have been brought to my attention over the past month. There was a incident of an individual pulling off the side of the road and actually urinating on an individual’s tent in a very public capacity where the victim could not be identified. And I believe that bias incident was reported. That victim could not be identified.

[00:00:37] And then I had a member of the Homelessness and Poverty Work Group, Julie Lambert, a longtime member, former chair of LEAGUE (Lived Experience Advisory Group for Unhoused Engagement) who does journalistic work coordinate with me earlier this month on an incident on Highway 99 in which a staff member at the market changed the receipt at the base of the receipt where you can leave a note for clientele, left a note that said ‘More overdoses on Highway 99.’

[00:01:07] So an incident directly targeting unhoused populations with disabilities who are struggling with substance use disorder, but, you know, the true translation of writing that is: ‘More death on Highway 99, more suffering on Highway 99,’ for a group of individuals that’s struggling from addiction who are deeply impacted.

[00:01:29] As a person who’s participated in reversing overdoses and serves a lot of populations and employs a lot of populations of individuals who are active in recovery, and folks that are struggling with addiction, I wanted to just provide my statement in that myself as a commissioner on the Human Rights Commission and a leader finds that behavior and that type of discourse about that population to be morally uncomfortable and wholeheartedly inappropriate within our city.

And I hope that the business has taken action to correct the behavior with the staff and follow-up with the clientele that may be accessing services on Highway 99 that would be consumers at their business. But it’s inappropriate, it’s discriminatory, and that type of behavior shouldn’t be in the city of Eugene and shouldn’t be a part of our business community.

[00:02:25] So I hope that business has taken the appropriate steps to correct that action. And if anyone would like further context on that, Julie, I was pretty deeply impacted by her journalistic work and felt that she wanted to do justice in meeting the business owner and doing that boots-on-the-ground work. But her and John Q collaborated and put an article on Whole Community News. So if this is something that hasn’t been on your radar, I encourage you to take a look at that.

[00:02:52] It’s a very common narrative wherein individuals in the unhoused population, either as a broad population or on a one-on-one, are targets are these incidents, but they go underreported because the victim can’t be identified.

[00:03:07] And the follow-up can be really challenged to provide supportive frameworks, but then whenever they become a part of shelter programs or direct service providers, the narrative that we receive about people’s experience with bias and discrimination while trying to access businesses is pretty significant.

[00:03:26] The experience of unsheltered homelessness can be really dangerous, and I think this type of behavior only exacerbates that condition. So I just wanted to put that on your radar. It’s something that’s been weighing really deeply on me and I wanted to amplify Julie’s voice and the work that she’s done.

[00:03:44] John Q: The Human Rights Commission discusses the impact of a story by Julie Lambert at KEPW News, Eugene Resistance Radio. You can read her story, ’Julie Lambert: Overdose deaths are no joke’ at WholeCommunity.News.

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