Alexander Kumar FRSA is a musician and political campaigner based in the United Kingdom.
Kumar read History & Politics at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, where he hosted regular sessions to help the homeless. He publicly rejected a nomination for the Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Award due to "moral questions".
From 2013 to 2016, Kumar worked as a musician and singer-songwriter based in Miami and the southwest of England, playing folk, blues, and latin music. He performed largely on community radio stations. He released a self-titled album in 2013.
Kumar has campaigned around the issues of homelessness and rough sleeping in the UK. He has been a frequent commentator in the UK press on social responsibility and the treatment of homeless people. In June 2018, he argued in The Guardian that homelessness in the UK must not be viewed "as detached from the housing crisis – a crisis exaggerated, even driven, by speculation on the housing market".
Kumar is also known for his legal reform campaigning. In November 2017, Kumar launched a campaign for the repeal or reform of the Vagrancy Act 1824, which makes it an offence to sleep rough or beg in England and Wales. The campaign gained initial support in the liberal press, and from Christian groups. In February 2018, the Home Office responded to Kumar's campaign to say that the Government had no plans to make changes to the law. The campaign's demands were then raised in Parliament by Layla Moran at Prime Minister's Questions and by a cross-party group of MPs. A private member's bill for the repeal of the Vagrancy Act was introduced to the House of Commons, but its second reading was rescheduled for 2019 in what Kumar called, in an interview with Cherwell, a "procedural ploy". In August 2018, the British Government announced a ministerial review of the Vagrancy Act 1824.
Kumar caused controversy by heckling and walking out of an address by political commentator Ann Coulter to the Oxford Union in 2018, after which he wrote an op-ed in Cherwell claiming that the "responsibilities" of freedom of speech entail people challenging speech that they deem "evil".
- "Fellow: Alexander Fraser Nehru Kumar". Royal Society of the Arts. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- "The campaign to end homelessness: interview with Alex Kumar". St Edmund Hall. 10 September 2018.
- Tulloch, Joseph (4 May 2018). "On Your Doorstep chair rejects prize". The Oxford Student.
- "Alex Kumar - Not Going Home Anymore". BalconyTV. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- "BBC Radio: Live from Darts Farm". BBC Radio Devon. 7 September 2013.
- "Phonic FM". Phonic FM. Archived from the original on 2 December 2018. Retrieved 24 November 2018. Unknown parameter
- "Alex Kumar - Alex Kumar". Discogs. 15 November 2013.
- "City Council to host all-stakeholder City Conversation on rough sleeping and homelessness". Oxford City Council. 23 November 2017.
- "Alex Kumar, Chair of On Your Doorstep". City Conversation. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
- Briant, Nathan (15 January 2018). "30,000 people back call for winter homeless hostel rules to be relaxed". Oxford Mail.
- Busby, Eleanor (13 June 2018). "Oxford University criticised for suggesting students' generosity has led to more homeless people in city". The Independent.
- Bennett, Rosemary (13 June 2018). "Homeless 'lured to Oxford by generosity of students'". The Times.
- Weaver, Matthew (13 June 2018). "Oxford University official links rough sleeping to students' generosity". The Guardian.
- Kinder, Emily (25 June 2018). "Oxford University criticised for claiming student generosity exacerbates homelessness". The Boar.
- Zagoria, Thomas (23 January 2018). "The politicians resurrecting a Dickensian law to make homeless people into criminals". New Statesman.
- Fletcher, Sam (18 April 2018). "Rebelling Against Authority". Tearfund.
- "Layla Moran: Homeless people need us to find the money to put a roof over their heads". Liberal Democrat Voice. 28 February 2018.
- Smith, Mikey (7 February 2018). "Theresa May refuses to back bid to scrap Dickensian law that criminalises rough sleepers". Daily Mirror.
- "Early day motion 903: REPEAL OF THE VAGRANCY ACT 1824". www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- "Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill 2017-19". www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- Baker, Oscar (23 March 2018). "Government blocks Oxford MP's bill for rough sleepers". Cherwell.
- Jones, Nye (25 March 2018). "The government has blocked a bill that would return some dignity to homeless people". The Canary.
- Association, Press (11 August 2018). "£100m drive to end rough sleeping in England by 2027". The Guardian.
- Kumar, Alex (4 May 2018). "The rights and responsibilities of fighting 'evil speeches'". Cherwell.
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