Cincinnati, OH (TFC) – When Anonymous typically makes headlines, it’s because they are on the front lines of a riot, they are protesting another police killing of unarmed people, they are staging a worldwide protest, there has been a major hack and leak of government information, or one of the activists associated with the collective has been brought up on charges by a federal grand jury. What are they doing when they aren’t fighting back against rampant government corruption? Helping to alleviate the symptoms of the corruption, of course.
Last weekend as part of an ongoing campaign to keep the less fortunate safe during bitter winter months, Anonymous activists in Cincinnati held an event to feed the homeless. The events take place all over the country and the campaign has been going on longer than anyone can really remember. It’s organized under the hashtags: #OpSafeWinter, #OpHelpingHands, #OpHumanAngels, and #OpFeedTheHomeless.
This particular event was put on by Awakened Cincinnatians, a local branch of the international collective. Representatives from several other activists groups lent a hand. The activists served the needy BBQ chicken, potatoes, veggies, and pizza. Hygiene products and warm clothing were also dispersed. The number of meals provided ranged anywhere from 200-300. My best personal guess would be about 250.
The atmosphere was certainly different than a typical soup kitchen, and those eating stayed in the area and chatted while listening to music.
Cincinnati Police Department did their part to make the event a success and were completely invisible. None of the activists were able to recall an incident when the cops caused much of a problem for the event. It appeared that the local cops were aware that police presence tends to scare off those that might need a meal and seemed to avoid the area entirely. In many areas of the country, local law enforcement is under orders by the city government to end events orchestrated to feed the homeless. In those areas, the events are still organized by Anonymous but are structured to be quick affairs with a van or sport utility vehicle pulling up and delivering food to the homeless before it disappears back into traffic.
Events like this or actions that include Anonymous activists targeting online child predators have helped to craft the Robin Hood image that is garnering the collective so much support. The collective isn’t made up of troublemakers that simply hate authority and want to fight cops, it’s made up of people that will stand outside for hours with snow on the ground to feed those in need. I recognized at least 3 of the activists present at the Cincinnati event from Ferguson. Another five or six participated in the shutdown of Washington, DC during the Million Mask March last November.
Like many of the collective’s activities, the event didn’t change the world. However, it might have stopped someone from freezing to death and it filled the bellies of hundreds that might have otherwise gone without.
Victims of sexual abuse, the homeless, victims of police brutality, and victims of government overreach know they can turn to Anonymous for help. Anonymous has shown that it will protect the least fortunate and most victimized members of society. The next time you sit on a jury and are asked by prosecutors to convict an activist affiliated with Anonymous for a cybercrime offense or for failure to comply with a law enforcement officer, remember that this week he or she may very well have refused to obey a cop or shut down a website. Next week, the defendant might be protecting your son or daughter from pedophiles, feeding the “black sheep” of your family, or stopping a police department from sweeping a rape under the rug.