Originally published on November 9, 2014, at NationofChange.org
In an act of compassion and civil disobedience, a 90-year-old man and two pastors in Fort Lauderdale openly defied a new city ordinance barring anyone from feeding homeless people in public. After police intervened and charged them with a crime, 90-year-old Arnold Abbott and Pastor Dwayne Black returned several days later to break the draconian law again. Although Abbott received another citation, police decided not to place him in custody.
Last Sunday, Arnold Abbott, Pastor Dwayne Black of The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, and Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs fed homeless people in a public park in South Florida two days after the city passed a new ordinance outlawing the provision of food to vagrants in public. After getting arrested, the two pastors and elderly homeless advocate each face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
“One of the police officers said, ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” recalled Abbott. “It’s man’s inhumanity to man is all it is.”