Protesters join homeless at "Romneyville"
Tara Colon has five children, including 11-month old Anthony, who she brought with her from Philadelphia to Tampa, FL to take part in "Romneyville," an encampment in the parking lot outside of an Army Navy Surplus store, not far from where the Republican National Convention is taking place.Colon says she's sick of hearing that anyone who wants to can pull themselves up by their boot straps.
"I work six days a week. I only get paid $3.50 an hour because I’m a waitress. And because of that I’ve been in and out of homelessness.Homeless people, poor people, we’re not lazy," Colon said.
Colon is part of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, a group trying to bring more attention to the problems of poverty and the high rate of foreclosures in America.
"Our government is passing policies that are killing people, policies that allow children in this country to be malnutritioned, allowing policies that allow elderly people to freeze to death in the wintertime,” Colon said.
On this hot summer day, those living at Romneyville say it's hard to imagine the amount of power concentrated in their city, especially for those who are homeless.
“It’s a sad and disturbing contrast," said Rev. Bruce Wright, who leads the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign."We have one percent of the population controlling more than 40 percent of the wealth."
Wright says the messages played time and time again in the mainstream media can be misleading.
"We have a convention here that talks about family values," said Wright."They have no sense that keeping a family in a home, keeping the children fed is a much more important value if they’re gay or straight.”
A few of the "Romeyville" residents will leave at the end of the week and travel to Charlotte, NC to take part in "Obamaville," a similar encampment named after the Depression-era Hoovervilles.For most however, their protest is also their reality.