Thursday May 23, 2013
Hunger Strike at City Hall is Ready to Last Over 50 DaysSalem-News.com
Whitten openly expresses his disappointment with City interactions.
(PORTLAND, OR) - Cameron Whitten is entering his sixth week of Occupying City Hall on Hunger Strike. The 21 year old activist and former mayoral candidate began this demonstration at 193.7 pounds, now descending to 166.
On July 1st, Whitten held a Slumber Party at City Hall, which brought over 70 activists to sleep overnight on the sidewalk in support of housing justice. During the Slumber Party, Whitten announced that his objectives for the strike were changing. He lamented that it took 29 days for the entire City Council to engage in dialogue with Whitten, and he claims that no significant resolutions to address the housing crisis have been offered. He retired two of his proposals: the housing levy and the moratorium on foreclosures, stating that efforts to complete these goals will arise in 2014. He substituted them with two proposals that focused on amending the anti-camping laws and authorizing a citizens panel to organize a transitional housing campsite for up to 300 people, modeling after the success of Dignity Village.
Whitten openly expresses his disappointment with City interactions. He thinks that City officials should affirm that the lack of affordable housing in the Metro region constitutes a state of emergency, and that the current plan to end homelessness is not working. He emphasized this urgency for housing justice by eliminating juice from his diet. He now adheres to a less than 100 calorie strike, consisting of potassium, calcium, magnesium, salt, and a half gram of protein. He also announced his intention to keep going for another two weeks, with a rally that commemorates his 50th Day of fasting. It will be on July 20th, 4:30 PM at City Hall. He is inviting elected officials, non-profit directors, and community activists to be speakers at this event until 5:30, when citizens will link arms around City Hall and sing a song of 'Unity'.
Only July 3rd, Whitten convinced fellow hunger striker Billy Schnider to end his protest. He refused all recommended supplements, and had gone for 20 days with only water. Medics had called emergency services and he was hospitalized for severe medical concerns, though he refused treatment. City staff checked on him regularly and was similarly concerned with his health. Whitten found it in Billy's best interest to end the strike, instead of dying in due to the lack of response from City Council.
As of late, Whitten has been complaining of more nausea, fatigue, and soreness. He has also begun balancing his hunger strike with resuming classes at Portland Community College, Cascade Campus. He claims that he receives spiritual healing through physical sacrifice to end the culture of apathy in America.
There is no determined end date for this protest.
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