Open Collective
Open Collective
Update: McPherson Square Eviction
Published on February 12, 2023 by Psi

Dear neighbors, 

Too long, didn’t read: Email and call officials; Show up on Monday, Feb 13, in Rawlings Park at 1.30pm to protest the eviction; Donate through Remora House’s Givebutter campaign; Get involved in your local mutual aid group. Read on for more details!

We have an urgent update to share with you. As many of you have heard, the National Parks Service, at the request of the DC government, has moved up the eviction of the McPherson Square encampment to Wednesday, February 15th — two months earlier than originally planned. 

Meanwhile, although staff have shown up since the announcement, the city has failed to provide promised intensive social services, and the already-unlikely timeline for getting the 70+ people in McPherson housed before April is now impossible. Those forced to leave will be disconnected not only from services, slowing down the housing process, but also from the networks of support they have built, pushing them into more dangerous situations. 

Will you stand in solidarity with our neighbors in McPherson? Here’s how you can help: 
  • Sign a community letter calling the NPS and DC government to cancel the eviction until residents have been moved into housing and provided with ongoing support.
  • Email and call Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto, Deputy Mayor Wayne Turnage, Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks Jeff Reinbold, and At-Large Councilmember Robert White.
  • Show up on Monday, February 13, in Rawlings Park to join Sunrise and other community groups in protesting the eviction.
  • Donate to Remora House’s Givebutter campaign or W2MA’s Open Collective page. 
  • Get involved in Ward 2 Mutual Aid’s efforts! Building long term community solidarity is the best way to fight evictions like this, and to support our neighbors.
  • Remember to always take the lead from our neighbors directly impacted by these evictions!
Please join us in standing with our unhoused neighbors! 

In solidarity,
Ward 2 Mutual Aid

PS. When emailing city officials you might get automated responses with half truths that have been carefully crafted to be true but not very meaningful. No one at McPherson is refusing housing services, but this process takes months or years. Many are logically choosing to avoid DC’s underfunded shelters, citing past experiences that make them feel unsafe. Many feel safer and more comfortable in a tent. Rather than labeling these people “service resistant,” we should invest more in housing and other services that are humane, accessible, and reliable. Evicting encampments is not only traumatic for unhoused people, but it decreases the trust required to get people into housing and other services. Many people at McPherson have been evicted from other parks across DC. Many have engaged with service providers only to be evicted from their encampments. Many have lost faith in the system that simultaneously promises them housing while also uprooting and displacing them.

This is a concerted plan by the National Park Service to clear all of its land of our unhoused neighbors by 2024. In the past year we have witnessed an escalating number of evictions happening across Ward 2; As a group we have witnessed and supported residents during evictions at Union Station, Scott Circle, 12th and I, 24th and K, Thomas Circle, and 9th and NY. This list doesn’t include the countless minor evictions that happen without much notice. These are violent and traumatic events for those being displaced.