Monthly Archives: January 2015

Homeless & Jobless Americans: Breaking the Stereotypes

Quote symbolSomeone once said that we all, each and every one of us are at most only two tragedies from homelessness.   It could be a family illness coupled with a job loss or any number of similar situations, including fire, earthquake, storm, abandonment, death of loved one, mental illness, service in war, or simply a landlord deciding to use his property in a different manner as the Beamans found out.   Also we all know that foreclosure is forcing hundreds of thousands out of their homes.   Couple that with another unfortunate event and many of these will be homeless.  Unexpectedly and unwillingly homeless through no fault of their own.

Combinations of these unexpected events can push almost anyone into homelessness at any time.   Not drugs, not alcohol, not laziness, not gambling, not any of those things.  Think about it.  Many of the homeless in the woods near your neighborhood are just plain people like yourself that have hit a couple of speed bumps in their life too many.

Homelessness, and by association Joblessness, has become the biggest non-discriminatory segment within the American population.  While this group has always encompassed fringe members of our population, its reach has expanded considerably to include veterans, families, all ethnic & racial groups, spanning multiple generations and social spheres and as many slices of diversity in mainstream society as one can imagine. To further complicate the stereotypical profile, a full 25% of the homeless are actually employed, and 44% have done some sort of paid work during the past month.

In short – this ever-growing community encompasses: Everyday Americans…living a Third World existence in the land of freedom, opportunity and great wealth. Continue reading

Odds&Ends

churchill quoteToday I learned a new skill.  Using a layout design I created for a favorite quote, I transferred it from WORD to PDF to JPEG in order for it to be viewed in a blog post.  Yes, it takes that long-line of a process to get it from there to here. With those faithful Dummy Books by my side, I googled more info on how to do this and voilá! What you see is the end result of what I learned today!  Pretty cool, this inner geek of mine.  And, oh yes, the quote itself is very worthy of contemplation.

Obviously, this post has nothing to do with my current Giving Voice series. While I have several articles neatly tucked away waiting their turn to be presented, there are those that are incomplete, unfinished or just not quite ripe for public viewing.  Such is the case for the one next in line; surrounded by other completed articles, that one just isn’t up to snuff yet.

Plus, I realized that for all my concern about presenting potentially controversial topics in a balanced manner, I’d all but forgotten to address the fact that stereotypes are often steeped in some form of truth.  There are reasons why the average guy on the streets is avoided, looked upon with caution or treated as if he were invisible. Continue reading

Home Sweet Homeless People Wisdom

“After work on Friday, I gave some food to the homeless people who hang out by Civic Center Station.  With one sandwich and a croissant, I felt bad when I realized I didn’t have enough to feed everyone.  But a kind, older man told me that seeing me happy was enough to brighten his day.

As I ran down the stairs, he called after me.  I stopped midway and braced myself for the insult I was sure he’d spit out.  He’d changed his mind; I was inconsiderate, lazy, privileged – or worse, he’d call me something derogatory, sexual.

But instead he said, ‘Young lady, don’t let nobody take your joy.’

Meredith Jaeger, a San Francisco writer in love with women’s fiction, 9/1/13

Giving Voice: NCIS and Homeless Veterans

Yes, I admit, NCIS is my favorite TV show to date.  Quite often this Navy based television series tackles real world military topics.   Indeed, “Shooter” takes a look into the troubling subject of homeless veterans.

Hardly the poster boys and girls for public perception of what it means to be homeless in America, this episode strives to break the stereotypes of homelessness and joblessness.  And while examples given in this article are pulled from the television show, there are countless stories of real vets in real situations clamoring to be heard.

This NCIS episode gives voice to the problem in a way that is easily assimilated into the mindset of our mainstream population; offering entertainment with thought provoking moments written within the scripted dialogue. Continue reading

Intro: Giving Voice (an ongoing series)

On the wall overlooking the sewing table in a far corner of my studio hangs my latest cut & paste collage.

These collages come and go. Serving as conduits of expression, they bring to light brewing intangibles. Those yearnings, thoughts, and insights within the inner self find their way and ‘voice’ through spontaneously selected images and words gathered from a myriad of sources.

This one emerged late in the year 2014, after more than five years of silence.

The lower left corner of the poster board backing reveals a magnificent tiger walking amidst snowy territory.  His eyes speak – Survival, Determination; his body encompasses – Beauty, Dignity.  The text reads – Be the voice for those who have no voice.

While this visual encompasses the overall view of this newly launched blog category regardless of actual topic, I can’t help but put a human face to that tiger.  Walking amidst cold and snowy circumstances, I see human eyes speaking the same message; a human body reflecting unexpected grace while journeying a similar path.

When confronted with a potentially volatile subject matter, I tend to err on the side of documenting sources to support my findings.  Unfortunately, that often kills the very (he)art and passionate force behind one’s need to Be the voice when done to the extreme.  In that respect, the debut of this ‘ongoing series’ reflects my own attempts at balanced writing.  Admittedly, the first subjects I have slated for exploration I find difficult to keep an objective tone.  Yet that splash of subjectivity or personal investment is the very life blood of why I’ve been trying so hard to put this long promised ‘serious series’ together in the first place.

My sincere hope is that each Giving Voice post will be thoughtfully considered by the readers of this blog.  Giving Voice in no way assumes to be an exhaustive reporting of issues.  Balancing experience and exposé, feeling and facts, I am but one voice, with a very small reach.

As always, I welcome any genuine comments you may have to share, either in the comments area below, in an e-mail via the contact button or message via personal e-mail.

Agreement is not the goal; engagement/awareness is…one voice at a time.