All New Yorkers Need Bathrooms.
Everybody pees. We might not like to talk about it, but every human being has to go to the bathroom. And New York City has made that hard for everyone, closing hundreds of public restrooms over the last three decades. Any New Yorker – or tourist – who’s had to use the bathroom while they’re out and about knows how stressful that can be. That’s especially hard for people of color, when – as the April incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks showed – access to a bathroom often depends on business employees who can be biased.
And for homeless people, a little thing like needing to go to the bathroom can cause big problems. Buying a four dollar coffee to use a bathroom in a cafe is not always an option. Many homeless people have had medical emergencies or police interactions as a result. Homeless people experience urinary tract issues and related health problems at a rate 300% higher than the general population, and many suffer from extreme dehydration because they never drink water to minimize trips to the bathroom.
So we’re doing something about it. The Civil Rights campaign at Picture the Homeless has embarked upon a major campaign to make bathroom access easier for ALL New Yorkers, housed and homeless alike.
Check out the press coverage for our kick-off protest rally, on August 28th:
- New York Daily News: New Yorkers demand city install safe, clean restrooms for city’s 8.5 million residents: “Floyd Parks, 63, described the treatment of homeless people who are just trying to go to the bathroom as “dehumanizing.” “I’m homeless, I have nowhere to live, I’m struggling. I do have a kidney problem; I’m 63 years old. I’m trying to find a decent place to go to the bathroom without getting hassled.”
- AM New York: Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, Homeless Advocates Urge City to Install Public Restrooms: “This is not just a homeless issue,” said Monique George, executive director of Picture the Homeless. “This is a New Yorker issue. This is a tourist issue. This is a women’s issue. This is an everybody that’s gotta pee issue.”
- Pix 11: Lawmaker calls on city to install 15 bathrooms sitting in storage for more than 10 years “As a member of the progressive caucus, we’re starting a campaign to site these,” City Council Member Antonio Reynoso said. “I’m already saying to the city of New York that they can come to my district and site a public bathroom. I want it in my district. I want it to be free.”
- Gothamist: A Decade After Their Debut, 15 Public Toilets are Still Sitting in a Warehouse in Queens. “They need to release those bathrooms. We have nowhere else to go. Restaurants won’t let us. Subway toilets are all closed,” said “Unc” Bobbitt, a member of Picture the Homeless who is currently experiencing street homelessness. “Everybody goes to the bathroom, so these automated public toilets will benefit everyone, not just homeless people.”
But we still need your help! Use the hashtag #FreeToPee to continue the conversation on social media – see below for sample tweets and graphics ready for sharing on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook!
- Everybody pees. But NYC has made that hard for everyone, closing hundreds of public restrooms over the last three decades. In fact, 15 self-cleaning bathrooms have been sitting in a warehouse in Queens for 12 years. #FreeToPee picturethehomeless.org/
- As the April #Starbucks bathroom incident showed, Black & brown folks have a harder time using restaurant bathrooms. Employee discretion = discrimination. Public restrooms will benefit everyone, but especially people of color. It should be #FreeToPee! picturethehomeless.org/freetopee
- Want to cut down on public urination? It’s easy: open free public bathrooms. Tell @NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio he can start with the the 15 self-cleaning toilets the city’s got sitting in a warehouse in Queens. #FreeToPee picturethehomeless.org/
- For homeless folks, a little thing like needing to use the bathroom can cause big problems. Spending $ to use a cafe bathroom isn’t always possible. Many have medical emergencies or police interactions as a result. Tell @NYCMayor: it should be #FreeToPee! picturethehomeless.org/
- Homeless people should not have to choose between a trip to the precinct or a trip to the hospital when it’s time to use the bathroom. NYC has 15 self-cleaning toilets sitting in a warehouse in Queens. Tell @NYCMayor: release the toilets! #FreeToPee picturethehomeless.org/
- Homeless people experience urinary tract issues & related health problems 300% more than housed folks. Many suffer extreme dehydration because they never drink water to minimize trips to the bathroom. WE’RE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. #FreeToPee picturethehomeless.org/
GRAPHICS FOR USE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: