A pigeon waits placidly/ for some scraps of bread./ A homeless elder lady waits placidly/ for some scraps of coin./ In a world of uproar/ in which the sun still shines./ In a world of uproar/ in which flowers still show faces divine./ She smiles beatifically./ “God will make it right.”
The homeless situation in Nashville is far worse than city leaders pretend. Music City’s lack of affordable housing, and constant police harassment of homeless people, is a disgrace. There is literally nowhere for homeless people to sit, walk or go to the bathroom without fear of being arrested for trespassing.
The sisters find hungry people under bridges, behind buildings, in doorways and other places where the invisible poor exist. They offer hot plates of food and remind them that they are loved by someone, even though the person sleeping next to them the night before may have died from cold and neglect.
An estimated 140,000 households will lose housing vouchers because of sequestration. The budget cuts also will shred Meals on Wheels for senior citizens, homelessness programs, public housing, and AIDS and HIV services. Thousands of low-income renters now are threatened with higher rent increases, or the possible loss of their vouchers.
“No matter how many times the Department of Corrections tries to justify our suffering and dehumanization through character assassination and dirty political games, the whole world will watch and bear witness as we continue to show our unity by fighting for human rights in the most virtuous and honorable ways possible.”
So much sorrow, loneliness and compassion are contained in the homeless man’s words: “Watch my cart.” The illness of a lone man on the streets. The stark reality that a shopping cart holds a man’s sole possessions. The joy when other people begin to help, and the way their caring lessens loneliness.
So much depends upon the conscience of people like Grace and Urvashi. I see these two women — one at the beginning of her life, the other having spent 30 years working for social justice — as moral examples to all of us. It is a privilege to witness their lonely stand for justice.
Creative women and men have created a flourishing homestead dedicated to art, ecology and freedom at the Albany Bulb. The plants are wild, the art dotting every square inch of the peninsula is unsanctioned, and the residents embrace an alternative lifestyle. All these elements seem to be in harmony with one another.
The contradiction between increased equal rights under the law and increased inequality in the economic realm means that many members of the LGBT community are left out of the supposed progress being made by the movement.
Years ago, we could not have conceived of so many non-gay people standing up and being allies in this fight. It’s a shift from seeing us as sinful, immoral and dangerous, to seeing us as the people next door, as members of families, as somebody’s relatives.