Our actions and objectives are rooted in the principle that everyone has a right to exist in public space regardless of socioeconomic status, and that the basic civil rights of individuals in public space outweigh the economic interests of businesses and government.
We believe that all members of our community have inherent value regardless of their economic contributions or financial worth. Everyone has a right to congregate in public, to participate in civic affairs, and to have access to local community and culture without being targeted for harassment, and everyone has a right to engage in life-sustaining activities in public space if they have no other option.
We are based in Eugene, Oregon, a community where these principles and basic human rights are not upheld and respected, despite our city’s claim to be a “Human Rights City”. Local responses to the “homeless problem” are almost exclusively focused on criminalization, and years worth of anecdotal evidence points to a widespread practice of harassment and profiling on the part of both law enforcement and private security.
We stand as a voice of conscience, and we unite as a collective force in order to influence and combat the practices, attitudes, beliefs, and power dynamics within our community that have resulted in widespread policies and procedures that unfairly target the unhoused and are unnecessarily punitive in nature.
We utilize public space and initiate public discourse in order to secure everyone’s right to do so, and we hope to serve as a example of how individuals can fight for social justice and create a culture of resistance on a local level through individual advocacy, creative messaging, civic engagement, community empowerment, strategic cooperation, and nonviolent civil disobedience.
We hope that our work inspires you to highlight economic injustices and work towards meaningful change in your community, no matter where you may live.
-The Nightingale Collective