Mitch Snyder

Topics: Homelessness, President of the United States, Prison Pages: 3 (852 words) Published: April 6, 2010
Mitch Snyder (1943-1990) is known mostly for his work advocating for the rights of homeless people and specifically as a leader of the Community For Creative Non-Violence (CCNV). CCNV began in the early 1970s as an anti-war group and evolved into an organization that provides food, clothing, shelter, and educational programs for the poor and homeless. Towards his goal of improving the lives of homeless people, Snyder employed non-violent confrontational protest tactics aimed at shocking the public and drawing media attention to this cause. These protest tactics included building occupation, construction of a tent city in Lafayette Park, vandalism, and hunger strikes. During his time in prison, Snyder converted to Christianity and fully embrace a radical Catholic form of social protest. Snyder served two years in federal prison, 1970-1972, for violating the Dyer Act. While in prison at the Danbury Correctional facility in Danbury Connecticut, he met the radical anti-war Catholic Priest Daniel Berrigan and like Berrigan, Snyder became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and the treatment of prisoners in federal correctional facilities. His protest methods included prisoner work strikes and hunger strikes. The political and spiritual conversion he experienced in prison shaped his life.

Upon being released in 1973 Snyder came home to rejoin his family. Less than one year later he left his family again and joined the Community for Creative Non Violence (CCNV) in Washington, D.C. CCNV was at that time operating a medical clinic, a pretrial house, a soup kitchen, a thrift store and a halfway house. CCNV came out of a discussion group about the Vietnam War at George Washington University. CCNV was also very active in non-violent direct action in opposition to the Vietnam War. Snyder became the driving force of CCNV but worked with many deeply committed people including his life and professional partner, Carol Fennelly; Mary Ellen Hombs, with whom he co authored...
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