Tag Archives: Diaries of the Disenfranchised

Diaries of the Disenfranchised: When death comes to call

The last few weeks have been taking a relatively huge toll in the lives of my friends — literally. I recently found out about two of them passing away. Death comes to us all whether we are housed or not. Just the facts, Jack.

What doesn’t happen all the time and what came as a shock to me was the kindness and generosity of spirit that I witnessed from the Native American Youth and Family Center, also known as NAYA, an organization we all should be familiar with because they rock the house.

Let me explain. One of the friends that I just mentioned was half Cherokee, not enrolled and unhoused — a combination that is often grounds for a really good brush off:  the I-don’t-know-them-and-don’t-want-to-be-bothered conversation. I was therefore not prepared for the warm respect and genuine concern I was met with on the phone with NAYA. Frankly it came as a shock. Continue reading

Cries of solidarity leave this marcher speechless

By Julie McCurdy
Contributing Writer

I was asked the other day by a very well-intentioned woman about the “face” of homelessness. She asked if I could describe a “typical” homeless person. I looked at her and said there’s no such thing, but if I must, then look in the mirror. With her slightly offended look, I touched her hand and smiled, saying, “I wasn’t trying to be unkind, But I am the face of homelessness. That man to your left, sleeping in the doorway, and potentially you, me, we are all the face of homelessness.”

After the conversation, we were both a bit more at ease with each other, relaxed. Which was a good thing, since I didn’t want to be a bitch about it.

The reason I bring this up is because I just finished, not three hours ago, marching in San Francisco for homelessness and housing rights as part of the Western Regional Advocacy Project. You know those experiences in your life that are so powerful and moving, that they render you speechless? This was the WRAP protest for me. It’s certainly a turning point in my life, because now I know that we are the only ones that are going to bring about real change. I know this because I got to see this up close and personal. At one point in the march I was just standing there, tears running down my face, thinking to myself that this is what the people in the Civil Rights movement might have felt during their long march to equality. This very moment, as I write this in a church in Oakland, Calif., with my friends who just marched right alongside me, I am overcome with emotion. What can I say? The majesty of this moment. Continue reading