Would you take a moment to sign our petition at Change.org?
We, the undersigned, call on leaders across Greater Cincinnati – including both its elected leaders and its philanthropic base – to ensure that all people have 24-hour access to facilities addressing the most basic of human needs. As the famous children’s book proclaims, Everybody Poops, and everyone needs a safe and accessible place to do it.
Article 25 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being. A lack of public bathrooms not only impacts the health and well-being of citizens facing homelessness, but everyone who steps foot in Cincinnati. The 2017 Hepatitis A outbreak that killed 40 and hospitalized 2000 in Kentucky was traced back to a homeless camp with exposed feces. The same conditions have also led to a record-breaking outbreak in San Diego that could last decades and caused Philadelphia to declare a state of emergency. When a person has no other option but to go to the bathroom outside, it endangers all of our health and well-being.
Similar outbreaks of disease led New York City to implement street cleaning as a public service in 1893. It is time to provide accessible bathrooms as a public health service to keep Cincinnati residents safe from preventable diseases. Cincinnati can get ahead of this spreading health crisis with compassion and empathy by ensuring everyone has access to a bathroom when needed.
We want Cincinnati to be an international city, and as such we must be prepared to provide the most basic of services to our citizens. The elderly, the pregnant, children, people with gastrointestinal concerns – there are so many profiles who need such access (not to mention any of us at some point throughout every day).
Needing a bathroom should not be a crime and neither should it be predicated on buying things at a store. When the private sector is unfairly forced into the role of gatekeeper for public bathroom access, socio-economic factors and bias can determine who can and can not use the bathroom. We deserve universal access to toilets, and Cincinnati has a responsibility to provide this most basic need.