Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Photo courtesy of ACLU

ACLU Alarmed By Threats to Arrest Homeless People in Ann Arbor

April 28, 2010

CONTACT: Jessie Rossman, ACLU of Michigan staff attorney at 313.578.6823

ANN ARBOR, MICH. – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is gravely concerned by plans to evict about 20 residents of the local homeless encampment Camp Take Notice from public land near Interstate I-94 and Ann Arbor-Saline Road. The Michigan State Police posted signs in the encampment yesterday warning residents that they must leave or risk being arrested for trespassing.

“It’s no coincidence that police are threatening to arrest homeless people who have nowhere else to go ahead of President Obama’s visit to the University of Michigan,” said Jessie Rossman, ACLU of Michigan Staff Attorney. “Rather than sweeping the ugly problem of homelessness under the rug, federal, state and local governments should work toward
commonsense solutions to the problems facing Michigan’s poorest.”

Yesterday afternoon, the Michigan State Police posted “No Trespassing” notices throughout the camp. According to the notice, the Michigan Department of Transportation, which owns the property, asked law enforcement officials to enforce the trespassing laws. In addition, the notice states that “continuing to occupy this area without lawful authority or permission is a crime, and may result in your arrest and prosecution.” The notice instructs homeless individuals to remove their property immediately.

Camp Take Notice is one of at least three tent communities in and around Ann Arbor. It was established to provide a safe, sober and drug-free environment with food and shelter for individuals and has strict rules prohibiting panhandling in the vicinity of the campsite.

“It is not a crime to be homeless in Michigan,” said Rossman. “There is perhaps no punishment more cruel than arresting individuals for something that is out of their control. As long as the economic crisis and resource shortages persist, there will continue to be people who have no choice but to live on the streets throughout Michigan.”

In December, the ACLU of Michigan filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf Caleb Poirier, a member of Camp Take Notice who was arrested for trespassing after admitting to police that he lived in the camp. Charges against Caleb were later dismissed.  In its brief, the ACLU of Michigan explained that when a city does not provide sufficient shelter to house the homeless, it cannot then punish the homeless for not having anywhere else to go. According to homeless advocates in Washtenaw County, between 2007 and 2008, there was a 30 percent increase in homelessness amongst families and individuals.

In addition, the ACLU warned that punishing harmless life-sustaining conduct, such as sleeping in public, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. and Michigan Constitutions.

E-mail from Brian

Yesterday I received this e-mail from Brian Nord, a volunteer for Camp Take Notice.

Good evening,
As some of the journalists that I've been in close contact with about Camp Take Notice, I wanted to keep you up-to-date on its activities.
I received a call this morning from Lt. Sturtivandt of the Michigan State Police.  She informed me that within 24 hours, the 20 residents of Camp Take Notice will be displaced from their current location at Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. near Applebee's.  They've threaten to confiscate all property and arrest any trespassers.
You know the issue, you know the need.  Some people arrived there just a few days ago, seeking and finding refuge from a crisis -- that of housing, joblessness, or a consistent personal one.  The camp has consistently fulfilled a need for housing and community since its inception.
Unfortunately, just as Washtenaw and Ann Arbor are making difficult cuts, another challenge has been placed in front of the camp citizens--- individuals who already vulnerable and fighting to start again.
As MISSION continues its search for more stable footing for camp,  hope that our community can keep working together so that someday a Camp Take Notice won't be necessary.
Until that time, please keep your eyes open for more updates and the news of camp's eviction and exodus: many of the campers have agreed to move to a new spot, but we are not sure where.  Some will stay until forced to move.
If you're aware of available property or a willing sponsor, Camp Take Notice's growing population can use your ideas.

Brian Nord on behalf of MISSION

PS, a new camper just called to let me know that notices of trespass have been posted, indicating the veracity of the MSP's intent. Campers are packing, and MISSION will be assisting in a move within the next 36 hours.  Camp and MISSION can use any help and assistance you might be able to lend over the next few days.  Feel free to call or email at any time.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Unforgettable Weekend

Opening weekend was amazing. There was a great turnout and all of the work looked great. Joseph Gill came for two hours and loved the final result. Here are images of my gallery space in Work: Ann Arbor. 

I was unsure if people would listen to the sound piece on opening night- but to my surprise, many people listened! It was great to have the two headphones and a splitter so that people could listen at the same time and talk about it afterwards.

Overall, a weekend I will never forget!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sound at Gallery

At the gallery, I am going to have 6 of the images blown up, the book on a stand, and the iPod. The iPod will include the "Doorknobs" sound piece, as well as the two voicemails Joe left me, on February 17 and February 20, in the midst of winter:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sound Piece- I think it's complete.

This past week Stephanie and I went into the V-room so that I could rerecord the intro. The goal was to sound more natural and less stiff than the previous recorded introduction.

I am going to have a slide that says "Doorknobs", followed by a slide that says "an audio story from a homeless tent community on the edge of Ann Arbor."

Any last comments/suggestions before I burn to a DVD for Monday?