I’ve made a pact with myself early on to never bullshit you. You get so much disinformation and lies from every angle. Everyone has an agenda. Money and power are the gods of our time. The truth plays second fiddle to personal gain.
So I’m calling it for what it is. You, the homeless, are garbage people. You are trash in the eyes of our government and our societal system.
Our value in society is connected only to our net worth and productivity. Once you have no money and fall out of the capitalistic meat grinding machine you become garbage. We are all eligible to become garbage people. No one is above the measuring stick of American human worth. Not a veteran, not a child, not a pregnant woman, not a senior citizen. Everyone will be instantly labeled a garbage person once they have no monetary worth.
Homeless people are garbage people in the eyes of society. That’s the fact of the matter. You don’t matter to Dan Horrigan. You don’t matter to city council. You don’t matter to the home inspector. You don’t matter to anyone that matters.
You are garbage people.
But I’m here to tell you: OWN. THAT. SHIT.
You know what’s in the garbage. You know what fills our dumpsters. You know what’s in the scrap yards.
You know that society throws away incredible things all the time.
They are throwing you away without a second glance. You are worthless to them because they didn’t stop and take a second look.
But you are FAR from worthless.
You are masons, carpenters, mechanics, laborers, technicians, welders. You are the people that pick up the garbage that society has thrown out. You recycle our metal. You recycle endless items college students and rich people just throw in the trash.
Perhaps most importantly: YOU are the people that pick up and dust off the other garbage people more than anyone else. You become the recyclers of humanity. Your care and your protection of your fellow garbage people becomes your greatest asset. You become greatness.
You have become what we all should be. The greatest philosophers and prophets of humanity have told us over and over again: Love your neighbor. Let go of things and wealth. Things don’t matter. People matter.
You get it. You live it. You become the true leaders that we all should be learning from.
When society throws out the people who take care of the sick and the hungry and the poor and the wretched… it is not you that has failed us it is US that has failed YOU.
Do not believe that you are a failure. We failed you. The system failed you. Society failed you.
You are the victim caught in the teeth of a machine that has no place for you. You are the scrap that gets thrown on the floor.
You cannot bare the sole responsibility for your weaknesses when you come from generational poverty, generational addiction and generational broken families. You are a bobber bouncing around in a sea of hopelessness. It is easy to believe someone in a suit that has money when they tell you that you are worthless. But that is false. They have failed you. They lack the creativity and innovation and basic human compassion to help bring you back into society.
Blame THEM. Stop blaming yourself. The messaging that you are the failure is the great lie. They are the failure.
In Akron, our government is having a great cleansing of all major homeless camps on May 6, 2019. They are simultaneously taking down ALL major homeless camps in Akron on May 6, 2019.
Of course they have no other place for you to go. They don’t want you to go anywhere except: AWAY! If they could throw you in a dumpster they surely would. But that wouldn’t look good. So they are just hoping that you will get frustrated with Akron and go be someone else’s problem.
But no one wants you. Medina Ohio ships its homeless to Akron because we have “such great services.” Don’t pretend some other city doesn’t want to throw you away just like Akron wants to throw you away.
You know where all the food is. You know where all the mental health services are. You know where all the addiction treatment facilities are. And most importantly: The people that care about you know where YOU are. People come from all over Northeast Ohio to help you here in Akron.
If you leave, the city will have won and we won’t be able to stand with you.
DO NOT LEAVE AKRON.
Furthermore, if you have the mental fortitude: Do NOT go further back into the woods.
That’s their follow up hope. If you won’t leave Akron hopefully you will recede farther into the background so that they don’t have to look at you. That’s what society does with garbage. It hides it so it doesn’t have to look at it.
COME FORWARD. Don’t go backward.
Move your tents to the sidewalks. Move your tents to city property.
Do not let them win. Do not let them shirk their responsibilities.
Stand strong. You have done nothing wrong. You are not a criminal. You are not a waste. You are an American citizen that has every right to live in society.
The amount of money you possess is not a requirement to live in America if you are an American citizen.
This is a movement. This is a human rights issue.
We already know that the 9th Circuit Court has ruled that in western states Homeless Persons Cannot Be Punished for Sleeping in Absence of Alternatives.
Ohio is in the 6th Circuit. There are lawyers fighting for your rights in Ohio right now!
If you can’t go to the Haven of Rest in Akron, our only emergency shelter, you have the right to sleep on the streets. Sleep is not an optional activity for a human being. Eating, sleeping and breathing are required activities to stay alive. You have the right to sleep somewhere. You cannot be prosecuted for sleeping. It’s an insane concept.
Reasons you might not be able to stay at the Haven include:
- Religious differences.
- Not being able to stay with your spouse or partner.
- Not being able to stay with your pets.
- Not being able to stay with your teenage children.
- Men not being able to stay with any of their children.
- You have maxed out your number of days permitted each month.
- Or any other reason the Haven has kicked you out. There are MANY reasons.
If you choose to stand up and move forward instead of backward, this is what I ask you to do:
- Make sure people can walk by your tent. Other people have the right to enjoy public property as much as you.
- Keep your space neat and tidy. Clean up your trash.
- Be respectful to all people.
- Make a sign that says something like: I have nowhere else to sleep.
- Most importantly: be kind and respectful to the police. Do not lie to them. Tell them your real name.
- Police did not get into this line of work to hurt poor people. The number one reason a person becomes a police officer is to help people.
- You may encounter an aggressive officer. DO NOT become aggressive yourself. Stay calm and courteous.
- Nonviolent civil disobedience, which is what you are doing, works because you don’t react to aggression or attack. You must take the attacks if they come. The more you are attacked the stronger the movement becomes if you don’t attack back.
- I can’t say it enough: stay calm, courteous and respectful.
- I believe the police are on our side. They hate doing this work. You might be afraid of the police but make them your friend. We need them and they are helping us already.
- What you decide to do if and when someone tells you to move is your decision. You don’t have to move. You will likely be arrested and carried off. But you don’t have to leave just because someone tells you to leave.
There are great treasures to be found in the garbage.
The people I spend time with every single day are hard working, creative, funny, intelligent and have incredible potential. These are the people society sees as garbage. They are sadly and pathetically mistaken.
I stand with you. You are NOT garbage people!