Indiana Daily Student

IU students, Bloomington groups begin 3-day protest of city’s treatment of unhoused population

<p>People gather together for March To End The Madness on March 18 in Dunn Meadow. Demonstrators gathered in solidarity with the city&#x27;s unhoused community.</p>

People gather together for March To End The Madness on March 18 in Dunn Meadow. Demonstrators gathered in solidarity with the city's unhoused community.

Members of the Bloomington houseless population, local advocacy groups and IU students will participate in three separate demonstrations Thursday, Friday and Saturday to protest the City of Bloomington’s treatment of the poor and homeless.

These demonstrations were organized in direct response to evictions of unhoused encampments and the Bloomington City Council voting down ordinance 21-06, which would have provided protections for encampments.

“Painfully aware of the dire consequences of inaction, an ordinance aimed at decriminalizing sleeping in the park was put before Bloomington’s city council,” the event’s press release said. “They responded, ‘wait’ and voted it down.”

The protests are named “March to End the Madness” in response to Bloomington hosting NCAA men’s basketball tournament games, according to the press release.

Related: [Bloomington’s Chamber of Commerce published members’ comments about the unhoused. We fact-checked them.]

“Our city and university choose to focus on a different kind of madness this month — one that invites a flood of sports fans and money to fill the stadium, the restaurants and Bloomington’s hotels,” the press release said. “We refuse to continue scraping together funds for funerals while the city continues the waiting game they’ve played for decades.”

The first event took place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday in Dunn Meadow. All day, people gathered to participate in discussions, collect donations and plan events for the next two days.

Related: [Bloomington City Council votes down proposal to protect homeless encampments 4-4]

A Limestone Medic Collective member taught attendees basic medic lessons at 7 p.m., such as what to do during an accident and how to handle sprains and strains.

“Even if they don’t know everything, if we could teach them some basic stuff they could assist a medic,” she said.

A medic said one of the reasons she led this training was to see if people would be interested in helping injured people at future protests.

The second day events will take place from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday in Dunn Meadow. Organizers will conduct a series of solidarity against injustice workshops, such as an art workshop to create protest signs and a workshop on neighborhood zoning.

Related: [How the coronavirus affected Bloomington’s homeless population]

The event will culminate in a march at 10:15 a.m. Saturday starting in Dunn Meadow. People can also watch the march virtually on Facebook.

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