We joined together on Friday December 20 for a candlelight service to remember & honor our unhoused neighbors who have died this year. The rainy and cold weather prompted the move indoors at St. Paul's Lutheran Church to be kind to everyone.
Adam Kravitz's call to action:
What's the stages of grief denial,anger,yea that's where I am at. I'm in the anger stage of my grief and I have decided to stay there until something changes. It's not like it controls me and I'm outta control, but more like, it will fuel me to ignite something or someone, because I can't do this alone. I can't carry it all. I can only consume so much of another's pain.
I read everything that I wrote for each of the last 5 services that we have been a part of since i got off the streets myself. The almost 7 years that i was ok with digging in the trash, and sleeping in the dirt. No one asked, but I will tell you why I was ok with that. Because there was no HOPE. No one cared, there was very little help and if there was it had to be exactly the way someone else decided.
I took what life handed me and made the best of it, with the tools that I had at that time. I now know this is trauma and resilience. This is what many people do, the best they can, under adverse conditions and at the end of the day they are amazing to me.
The reason I had mentioned reading my previous writing was, to see where the system has come from. To see what I was talking about over the years. -- We have moved the needle from, all of us feeling as though we are here and can't make a change or even work together, to now we are all communicating, cooperating and effecting positive change. We have taken an apathetic system and providers, and held them accountable. We have fought for social justice, law enforcement accountability, and racial, sexual, and gender equity. The one consistent is that each year, we who do the real work and those that really support us, are becoming a family. So listen fam, I have to tell you that I have been holding in my hurt and pain. I am getting numb to this and that concerns me. This year like every year, but especially this year, there were some moments with some of these beautiful people that are no longer here that i will never forget. But more importantly lets ask this question.
Could we have provided something that might have been the difference between life and death? Could shelter have been the answer that saved someone's life this year in our community?
It’s not rocket science and yes they, the money people, will say housing is the answer.its part of the answer. But So is sanctioned camping areas and creating more shelter. Youth and family shelter, couples and women's shelter, pets and men's shelter humans need shelter. Those are forms of housing and stepping stones to wellness. And they must be part of the equation and they must happen in 2020. It will take bringing more of the faith community, it will take some out of the box thinking and it will take leaders from every sector. If a couple hundred thousand and a church with empty space could save lives, then we are complicit if we don't make this happen.
I challenge all of you to help make this happen, write letters and emails, talk to your church, ask a landlord with properties available. This community should say enough is enough, we can do this. People are dying, the numbers are growing, and still no new shelter space.
Imagine leaving here and having to pitch a tent in this weather.
Close to a thousand people are without a home in Clark County!
And 29 nine names are on our list tonight.
Yes I am in the angry stage of my grief and I plan to stay here until something changes.