A Message To American Tent City Creators


I thought I’d see if American Tent City creators would like to meet in a Facebook group to talk strategy and issues. If you manage or have created a tent city in America please come join this group: Operation: American Tent City. 
I have had the privilege of getting to meet, online, some of the other creators of tent cities in America.
I hope this message reaches any of you out there doing this important work.
Whether your tent city is secret, put up with or sanctioned I want you to know you are doing incredibly important work.
I know you know that to be true. But the pressures from city officials, your Continuum of Care, city residents and even the people you are helping can be intense.
You are being attacked from all sides.
But you must know: you are doing the right thing. I want this message to be a reminder that you are on the right path. You are doing the work no one else is willing to do.
You are helping those most in need. You are organizing those who have been cast aside. You are dealing with the great American tragedy of our time. All the while everyone else looks the other way and pretends there is nothing to see. There is no need to be addressed.
Every great prophet and revolutionary since the beginning of time has been vilified, and in earlier times, tortured and sentenced to death.
This is because you are making a difference.
You are causing ripples in the placid lake of the status quo.
Listen to none of them.
Your tent city is needed. Your work is great. You are walking the path of the greats in history such as Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi.
I felt compelled to write this today because of a discussion I had this weekend with another tent city creator. She asked: Do people you’ve tried to help in the past come back and attack you?
I laughed out loud when I read that message.
I had just been losing sleep over this very thing the night before.
There was a rumor going around our camp that I was now forcing people to roll cigarettes with Bible paper.
I am an idealist with a literature background. I have a thing against burning books.
But this is just the most recent of many accusations those we have tried to help have cast on me. I have been accused of being a drug dealer, a pimp, a money launderer… to name just a few.
These are the most painful accusations.
I have no interest in being thanked for this work. But I sometimes selfishly wish I would not be attacked by those that I’ve tried to help.
But my wife reminded me of the important Biblical story of Judas.
I can see so clearly how that all went down.
People, undoubtedly, came to Jesus saying: “Jesus! Look what Judas is doing!”
I know what Jesus was feeling.
I know he met it with an understanding calm. I know he was saying “let it come.”
It’s just like when Obi Wan lets Darth Vader kill him.

via Gfycat
This is how the story is supposed to go.
Try never to allow resentment to creep into your soul.
Forgive everyone. And forgive them over and over and over again.
Those that attack you come from a place of fear and resentment brought on by years of pain and suffering.
And those in authority that attack you come from a place of power that they don’t want to lose.
Change agents always put those in charge in a vulnerable position.
Forgive them too. They are protecting the only thing they know.
You are the leader of an underground movement that will one day become mainstream.
You can see it already happening in some states.
I am inspired to write this today because for the first time in 2 years I have come to realize that tents will be a permanent part of the American landscape for some time to come.
There are those whom a house is too confining. There are those whom a shelter is too dangerous. There are those that are so filled with anxiety and depression and extreme cases of anger issues and impulse control issues that a tent is all we can do for them now.
But they deserve love. They deserve protection. They deserve help.
Don’t quit.
If they close down one of your tent cities open another one. Understand your laws. Try to change your laws. Work in the gray areas of your laws.
Tell the stories of those you are helping.
The rest of America needs to see and hear these people. Because just as you know, they are American citizens that are just regular people. As you know, leaving them on the street is not motivating, it is not safe and it certainly doesn’t help get these people back into mainstream society. It just makes them more outside the system. It makes them vulnerable, angry and violent.
You see the complete irrational and immoral and cruel outcomes of society abandoning these people on the street. Even though those in charge and those who should be caring for homeless people don’t see it now, someday they will.
The more we can humanize “the homeless” the more we will win the hearts and minds of American citizens.
I believe we are in a decades long evolution where there are not enough services in America for the poorest of the poor.
If government doesn’t want to take responsibility for these people then we the people must do so.
You are doing the work all the great people you admire and follow through history want you to do.
Be strong. Be resilient. Be forgiving. Find peace.
I love you. You are doing the right thing.
I thought I’d see if American Tent City creators would like to meet in a Facebook group to talk strategy and issues. If you manage or have created a tent city in America please come join this group: Operation: American Tent City. 

One thought on “A Message To American Tent City Creators

  1. I find this appalling that anyone would start rumors against you. I try and do my best to help ALL of your residents there. Some do feel like they own you and you have to jump the minute they want something, they need to realize how much you are already doing for them and all your time you spend helping them. Sometimes I wonder how much they appreciate all you do do. They are very fortunate to have you and how you continually spend most of your time there finding ways to help them. They do not own your property, you do. Yes, my feelings for them is love but they also need to stop and think about you and your family and what you all are doing for them. This is something you don’t have to do, you do it because you know it is the right thing to do. Your vehicle can only do so much in a day and it is costly to run here and there. Your gas alone has to be horrible hit to your wallet. They all need to sit back and think about all you do and relax with the wants till you can get to it. You have no help keeping this place running but your heart tells you to keep going. We love you Sage and Rocky and may God continue to bless you both in many ways.

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