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#TalkRadio – April 23: Dignity For All: Johnson v. Grants Pass Rally and Oral Arguments Recap and Updates on the Fight to Rename the Francis Scott Key Bridge

April 23 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

April 23, 2024: Dignity For All: Johnson v. Grants Pass Rally and Oral Arguments Recap and Updates on the Fight to Rename the Francis Scott Key Bridge

The nonpartisan “Igniting Change Radio Show with Barbara Arnwine, Esq. and Daryl Jones, Esq.” program will be aired from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on Radio One’s WOL 1450 AM in the Washington, DC metropolitan area as well as nationwide on WOLDCNEWS.COM and Barbaraarnwine.com.

Please note, during the show there are 3 hard stop commercial breaks at 12:13 PM Eastern Time, 12:28 PM ET and 12:43 PM ET.


Antonia Fasanelli,: 12:10 PM – 12:57 PM ET
Executive Director, National Homelessness Law Center; Personal Twitter: @AKFasanelli; Organization Twitter: @homeless_law

Donald Whitehead: 12:10 PM – 12:57 PM ET
Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless; Personal Twitter: @DWhitehead2020; Organization Twitter: @NationalHomeles

Caitlyn Arnwine: 12:10 PM – 12:57 PM ET
Speaker for the National Coalition for the Homeless and Organizer with the Transformative Justice Coalition; Twitter: @TheCaitlynBot


The Igniting Change Radio Show on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024, from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Eastern Time, entitled, “Dignity For All: Johnson v. Grants Pass Rally and Oral Arguments Recap and Updates on the Fight to Rename the Francis Scott Key Bridge”, will be live with Radio Show Co-Hosts and Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC) Co-Leaders Attorneys Barbara Arnwine, Esq. and Daryl Jones, Esq. and will feature special guests Antonia Fasanelli, Donald Whitehead, and Caitlyn Arnwine. Today’s show will begin with an update to last week’s show in the developments of the fight to rename the Francis Scott Key Bridge in honor of former Congressman Parren J. Mitchell. After the update, this show will recap the rally held before the Supreme Court of the United States on April 23rd as the Court heard oral arguments in the City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson.

Last week’s show which discussed the call by the Caucus of African American Leaders for the renaming of the Francis Scott Key Bridge to Parren J. Mitchell Bridge, named after the former Congressman, led to considerable feedback and new developments, such as creation of a much requested petition and media attention. Igniting Change urges all its listeners to please sign this petition to lend your voice to the movement to encourage Maryland officials to rename the bridge for a forward thinking bridge builder, rather than the racist slave owner, Francis Scott Key.  Join the Caucus of African American Leaders as they petition for the renaming of the demolished Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.  Once redeveloped, the bridge should bear the name of the late Congressman Parren J. Mitchell, the first African American Congressman in Maryland and the first African – American elected to Congress below the Mason Dixon Line since  Reconstruction following the Civil War. SIGN AND SHARE HERE: https://www.change.org/p/rename-the-francis-scott-key-bridge. See some of the media of this cause below:

“Daryl D. Jones: Key Bridge should be named to honor Parren J. Mitchell | COMMENTARY”, April 18th, 2024, Capital Gazette, by Daryl Jones, Esq.

“Civil rights groups push to rename Baltimore bridge because of namesake’s links to slavery”, April 10th, 2024, NBC News, by Emi Tuyetnhi Tran

Yesterday, Monday, April 22nd, 2024, The National Homelessness Law Center, the National Coalition for the Homeless, and a growing list of partners from around the country rallied in front of the Supreme Court of the United States as SCOTUS heard oral arguments in the case of Johnson v. Grants Pass, which is the most significant Supreme Court case about homelessness in 40 years. At its core, this case will decide whether cities can arrest and fine people for things like sleeping outside with a pillow or blanket, even when there are no safe shelter options. Johnson v. Grants Pass is a court case originally filed in 2018 that determined it is cruel and unusual punishment to arrest or ticket people for sleeping outside when they have no other safe place to go. The case started in Grants Pass, Oregon when the city began issuing tickets to people sleeping in public, even when there were not enough safe, accessible shelter beds.  The City of Grants Pass argues that since many cities arrest and fine people experiencing homelessness, Grants Pass is just following the trend. However, Grants Pass has taken the most extreme posture possible: there is literally nowhere, at no time, where people living outside can sleep with things like a blanket or pillow. Officials in Grants Pass want to make this case about encampments and encampment sweeps. It is not. It is about if cities and states can fine or arrest people for sleeping outside when there is nowhere else to go. Officials in Grants Pass are choosing the worst, most extreme approach to the homelessness crisis. After fighting against the construction of affordable housing, the city has embarked on a targeted campaign of harassment, intimidation, and criminal punishment for the simple act of sleeping outside in sub-freezing temperatures with a blanket or pillow when there is nowhere else to go. Billionaire-backed organizations are pushing policies and legislation across the country to make it easier to ticket and arrest people who have nowhere to live. This is especially true in Grants Pass, where people are issued $295 tickets simply for using a blanket to stay warm in sub-freezing temperatures. This case is not about clearing encampments, a harmful practice that many states already enforce and has only made homelessness worse. The case is about whether people can be arrested or fined for using blankets or pillows when they have nowhere else to go. Arresting or ticketing our neighbors who have no choice but to sleep outside pushes them further into poverty and makes it harder to secure work and housing. The central legal question is whether punishing people for sleeping outdoors on public property when they have nowhere else to go violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. It’s hard to imagine something crueler than arresting somebody with a blanket in the middle of a freezing winter. Every court that has heard this question, along with most Americans, agrees that Grants Pass’s actions are not only cruel and unusual but counterproductive.

Watch the Johnson v. Grants Pass Webinar, hosted by the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, the National Homelessness Law Center, Southern Poverty Law Center, and RESULTS Educational Fund, for further details about the case: https://youtu.be/-u4xQphv7B8. More resource on the case can be found at the website https://johnsonvgrantspass.com/.

The April 22nd rally featured over 700 people experiencing homelessness, affected individuals, homeless activists, organizers, faith leaders, members of the press, advocates for homeless rights, policymakers, members of Congress, community leaders, and the general public demonstrating, marching, chanting, and gathering together in Washington, D.C. Everyone in attendance all called for a historic shift in homelessness policy with one common message: We all need a safe place to sleep. But homelessness is increasing as too many of us struggle to afford a quality, stable place to live. Our leaders should focus on real solutions – access to housing that people can afford and the support services people need to get healthy and stable. Ticketing and arresting people living outside only makes it harder for them to get off the streets and secure a roof over their heads. Grants Pass, like many cities in America, is thousands of housing units short of what is needed. That shortfall will not be solved by putting more people in jail or issuing more tickets. The solution to homelessness is safe, decent, and affordable housing for everybody. Homelessness can happen to anyone. Today, more than 600,000 people experience homelessness, including 250,000 who sleep outside with no access to shelter. Studies show unhoused people have lower life expectancies and are four times more likely to have attempted suicide. Increased housing costs, not enough housing options, mental health crises and financial insecurity all contribute to increased rates of homelessness. There are proven ways to help and provide people with lifelines – shifting resources to programs that keep housing affordable, ensuring people have access to support services and funding shelters and transitional housing options. 

The Housing Not Handcuffs Rally in front of the steps of the Supreme Court during the landmark hearing of Johnson v. Grants Pass featured a “Die In” which was a visual display of solidarity with supporters laying on the ground holding blankets symbolizing collective support and keynote speeches at a press conference featuring the following speakers:

  • Ed Johnson, Director of Litigation at the Oregon Law Center and lead counsel for the respondents

  • Jesse Rabinowitz, Communications Director, National Homelessness Law Center

  • Caitlyn Arnwine, former Coordinator of Public Education for the National Coalition for the Homeless and former Social Media Director and Executive Assistant of the Transformative Justice Coalition, who spoke on her experiences being homeless while pregnant and 90% of the time she was in college where she had to make the choice between getting an education or staying in a shelter

  • Helen Cruz, experienced homelessness in Grants Pass, OR 

  • Donald Whitehead, CEO, National Coalition for the Homeless

  • Ann Oliva, CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness 

  • Diane Yentel,CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition 

  • Bobby Watts, CEO of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council

  • India Pungarcher, Outreach Specialist, Open Table Nashville

  • David Peery, Founder, Miami Coalition to Advance Racial Equity

  • Dr. Wendy Mahoney, CEO, National Network to End Domestic Violence 

  • Kathryn Monet, CEO, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans 

  • Antonia Fasanelli,Executive Director, National Homelessness Law Center

  • And others.


Watch the livestream of the press conference here: https://twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1BdxYropwMEKX

There was free breakfast and lunch served at the rally, as well as other events such as marches held throughout the day and sister rallies held in many other cities nationwide, such as Florida. The rallies demonstrated widespread support for the rights of homeless individuals and highlighted the urgent need for a shift from criminalization to compassionate, effective, housing-first solutions to solve homelessness. 


  • Last week’s show where we discussed the call by the Caucus of African American Leaders for the renaming of the Francis Scott Key Bridge to Parren J. Mitchell Bridge, named after the former Congressman, has led to considerable feedback and new developments. Let’s talk about some of those new developments. Since the show, what has happened in the last week regarding this call for the renaming of the bridge?
  • Let’s Zero in on one of the major developments which is the petition. Many people who listened to the show asked for a petition. There now is a petition. How can people sign onto it? ( https://www.change.org/p/rename-the-francis-scott-key-bridge ) 
  • Have there been any other racist calls, emails, letters, or other adverse reactions opposing this cause?
  • What are the next steps? (Parren J. Mitchell Dinner this coming Friday)

12:10 PM ET

  • Yesterday the Supreme Court held oral arguments in the case of Johnson v. Grants Pass. Antonia, please describe this case for our audience. Why is this an Eighth Amendment Case?
  • Outside the Court, there was a rigorous demonstration and rally attended by over 700 people. Donald, can you describe some of the highlights of these events?
  • All three of you spoke at the rally. What were your most salient points you want people to hear?
  • How did the Court arguments go, based on the reports from the litigators who were inside the Courtroom.
  • Antonia, tell us where some of the over 700 protesters came from yesterday, as I understand people traveled via buses to attend. Who were all the partners involved in the rally?
  • Many of the speakers and signs were calling for more affordable housing as the solution to the problem of homelessness. Donald, What does that mean practically? What should our listeners be advocating for?
  • Caitlyn, what are the misconceptions about why people are homeless and why people sleep on the streets? 
  • What are the serious health implications of people who are unhoused?
  • Antonia, how can people learn more about the case and watch the broadcast of the press rally? 
  • How do people become part of this movement? Rev. Barber spoke and has already called for a robust Poor Peoples’ Campaign focused on the 2024 elections, including a call for living wages, affordable housing, the end of food insecurity, and more. He electrified the audience yesterday, mentioning a June 29th mass poor peoples low wage workers assembly march on Washington and to the polls on June 29th, meeting at PA and 3rd at 10 AM in this 60th yr of Freedom Summer and how Poor wage workers now make up 30% of the electorate. 
  • Donald, the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Transformative Justice Coalition have now formed a partnership to get out the vote in 2024. Let’s talk about this partnership.
  • How can our listeners get involved?
  • What do you think is the most important grassroots organizing that you think needs to happen in order to ensure strong voter protection and engagement in November 2024?
  • What are your final thoughts to our listeners?
  • Thank you for all of your hard work. How do our listeners get in contact with you?


Transformative Justice Coalition


News Talk Radio 1450