By Jhumpa Bhattacharya | Ms. Magazine

In an act of civil disobedience—and out of the need to secure a safe space for their children to live—members of Moms 4 Housing, a collective of unhoused mothers in Oakland advocating for housing to be seen as a human right, had settled into a two-year vacant home in West Oakland in November of 2019 with the goal of raising national awareness of the no-end-in-sight housing and homeless epidemic in California. Last week, armed police from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office came in the dark hours before dawn to evict and consequently arrest the single Black mothers.

The optics were chilling: men in riot gear with AK47s drawn stormed into a home where homeless Black women and their children were seeking shelter in the cold, wet winter months. The images from the scene challenge us to examine how race and gender inequality are embedded in the DNA of our homelessness epidemic.

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