People for Public Toilets Coalition

Photo of Gary Minter in downtown D.C., wearing a "Street Sense" badge and vest, standing next to a sign that says "Call your Elected Official Today to Demand Investment in Public Toilets: 202-224-3121" and giving a thumbs up.

Bev and David Cochran

In our nation’s capital, the two public toilets that come to mind are located in the historic white stucco building on the north side of Lafayette Park and in the facility in Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X Park). Unfortunately, the District is not the only American city without these basic amenities.

Is this a form of discrimination against poor and homeless people? Should a disabled veteran who risked his life to protect our country have to endure urine-soaked underwear all day? Are we being dumped on by businesses and our government?
This is an outrage and a serious public health problem!

Just as important as the ability to “go” is the ability to wash your hands. Hand washing is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the best way to prevent the spread of communicable disease. With a second wave of influenza hitting hard this year; with the highly contagious and dangerous new strains of norovirus intestinal illness often striking cruise ships and patrons of soup kitchens; with the easily-spread hepatitis A on fruits and salads served at your local restaurant; with incurable strains of tuberculosis infecting many people; with the new deadly coronavirus that originated in camels in Saudi Arabia and is spreading among humans; and, with the possibility of SARS making a comeback, it is unacceptable to not supply these resources to everyone.

Please contact your local health department, your local government officials, your representatives in the U.S. Senate and House, and the White House. Tell them we want safety in our food and beverages. Tell them we want public restrooms available so people can wash their hands and we can all protect ourselves from these highly contagious, easily-spread diseases. As Bill Shatner says on those late-night TV ads, “tell them you mean business!”

Get behind this urgent issue, and please hurry: We can’t hold it much longer!


Issues |Health, Physical


Region |Washington DC

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