Hunger Strike for Housing Justice

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Former mayoral candidate, Cameron Whitten, on day 18 of his hunger strike to raise awareness of the plight of Portland's homeless community.
Sunday, July 1, 2012: Whitten announces escalation of his 30 day-old hunger strike protesting maltreatment of Portland's homeless community.

Former mayoral candidate, twenty-one year-old Cameron Whitten began a Hunger Strike for Housing Justice on Saturday, June 2, 2012 to protest fines imposed on the Right 2 Dream Too encampment for homeless people, and to raise awareness of the plight of homeless people in Portland. On the 12th day of his hunger strike, Whitten was joined by twenty-five year old Billy Schidner.[1]

On day 19 of his hunger strike, Whitten posted a "Dear Occupy" letter on Occupy Portland's Facebook page in which he called Right 2 Dream Too "a group of empowered, radical People that is practically the identical twin of Occupy Portland," and chided Occupy activists for what he felt was "a large lack of Solidarity."[2]

Hunger Strike Escalates

On the 30th day of Whitten's hunger strike -- Sunday, July 1, 2012 -- Whitten held a press conference in front of City Hall announcing that he was escalating his hunger strike. Although he'd gone 30 days without eating food, beginning on Monday, July 2nd, Whitten said he would also stop taking liquid nourishment (aside from water). He also added new demands:

  • Creation of a citizens' panel to address possible remedies for homelessness that allow the homeless to represent themselves, and discover ways to provide basic city services to those who most urgently need them.
  • Initiation of a dialog between city officials and representatives of the homeless community to find an alternative to the current ban on camping in the city.
  • City Council assistance in locating and creating site capable of providing shelter and basic services for 300 homeless people.[3][4]

Billy Urged To Quit Strike

After 18 days of his water-only fast, hunger striker Billy Schidner was rushed to the emergency room at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Hospital. Two days later, Billy dropped out of the hunger strike after fellow striker, Whitten, urged him to quit over health concerns.[5]

The Big Eat

After 56 days without eating, Whitten declared "victory" and began eating again on Thursday, July 26th.[6][7]


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