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Showing posts from August, 2011

Murdered While Homeless!

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This morning I was saddened by the news of another, yes another, tragic homeless death! Another pointless murder, suffered at the hand of a blunt instrument. I'm guessing this cold case will remain unsolved, unexplained and unnoticed. This African American male, in his thirties, was discovered face down in the grass, just a few blocks from my home in a local park. The local blog (Uptown Update) and our alderman (James Cappleman) revealed the tragedy on their websites, noting that the victim's identity is unknown!  For whatever reason, they only know so much, but the detectives know more. They know the victim's name, they know that he was homeless and he stayed with us at Cornerstone. All this to say; we know him too, because they came around seeking information. I will not reveal his name, because for whatever reason, his name hasn't been made public.Maybe, they're trying to find or contact a relative first. There's a perception that homeless men …

Religious Gangsters

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In this piece, I am defining Religious Gangsters not as modern day gangsters who are religious (many gangsters are), but as religious folk who wander around in a mob, misusing their power, influence and status, intimidating and bullying the weak, fragile and revolutionaries. They often use physical, psychological and religious violence to make the "instigators" submit to their ways.... 

Religious gangsters chased down that humble carpenter Religious gangsters used power to pervert power  Religious gangsters violently controlled their territory Religious gangsters silenced the voice of truth Religious gangsters shed innocent blood
He hung weakly by those bloody nasty nails Unethically murdering the loving Instigator  Executed legally by the power hungry political machine Religious gangsters muttered deceitful slogans Power had triumphed over weakness 
...... For only three God-forsaken days ... 
Religious Gangsters change your thuggish behavior

Never-ever Ending Rhetoric

All I hear are words....  words....  words.... Peaceful words Violent words Discerning words  Foolish words Loving words Hateful words  Encouraging words Degrading words Truthful words Lying words
Yet these words are deep Drowning in an abyss  Seeking to be rescued Continually.... Unceasingly.... This never-ever ending rhetoric  Searching for a response  Trying to survive Seeking family  Hoping for compassion Praying for love 
.... and I must respond Right!

Plastic Bags, Homeless Veterans and My Sweet Lil' Wonderwoman.

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This actually happened in spring.....
One evening, Muriwai and I went outside for a wee little wander around the neighborhood. We bumped into Dan getting his regular spot ready for the night; laying his cardboard boxes out on the hard concrete, arranging his pile of blankets strategically and pulling important nighttime items out of his overly stuffed backpack. As we are chatting, he would disappear to his secret hiding place to get some more of his belongings.

Dan is a Vietnam veteran, he's been homeless for years, stayed at CCO a few times, struggles with PTSD and is on the brink of getting housed again (with the help of VASH funds). I've known him for years and he's a compassionate loving guy who struggles because of his war-time reality decades ago. He opens the novel he's reading and sits on his crate, knowing he doesn't have long to read before the sun vanishes for the night and all he has are the dull school and street lights.

His buddy arrives with his overl…

The Exception to The Rule!

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Jack came in griping about everything. By everything, I mean everything; his homelessness, his lack of work, his coma, his serious head injuries, his seizures, his bed bug bites, his having to wait on doctors and lawyers, his felony and how that makes him unemployable and unhouseable!  I could write pages on all his ranting and complaining, and most of it is justified, because Jack's recent life, since being incarcerated about 12 years ago, has been a living hell. Yet, if he actually stopped and observed, he'd see that his tumultuous life is somewhat similar with many of the folks that sleep on the blue mats next to him.

Jack says with his dreary monotone, "all this; because the police busted me with a small amount of marijuana. Marijuana! My life is ruined because I got caught with weed! I never hurt anybody".
I'm looking at and listening to this 40 year old using me as his sounding board. I'm fascinated! Sitting before me was "an exception …

the Trooper!

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A couple Thursday's ago, I went to visit a homeless friend in Thorek Hospital. I call him the Trooper, because that is what he is. He is 77, and over the past few years he has experienced both hip and knee replacements, a heart attack, and most recently, a stroke. Through all this, he has remained very positive and has stayed extremely active.

It was early one Tuesday morning, and Felipe felt this strange sensation on the right side of his head. Suddenly he found himself unable to see. He was quietly stuck upstairs, in our homeless shelter completely and utterly blind. All the residents at CCO love and know Felipe, so as he made contact with a couple other residents and gained a little blurry vision, they directed him to Sandy, who willingly drove him to a local Emergency Room. There he remained.

Admittedly, it took me over a week to go visit my elderly buddy. I felt guilty, so on the hottest day in years (101F), I walked down to Thorek hospital and was immediately denied the right…

Disillusioned Dreams and the President's Party.

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Yesterday was a day of shattered dreams, broken promises, obvious disillusionment and outright anger....

Yesterday, the big bossman (President Barack Obama) celebrated his 50th birthday at the Aragon Ballroom; just 2 blocks away from the homeless shelter where I work. Chicago and the new mayor (Rahm Emmanuel) loved the idea. Uptown and the new alderman (James Cappleman) loved the idea. The world's most powerful fella was coming to the diverse Uptown, hoping to promote renewed dreams of a premiere entertainment district, a flourishing economic entity and a tourist destination! It was obviously hyped up and the media loved it.

The elite maneuvered into the Ballroom to eat their $35,800 plates of food and consume their alcoholic beverages. Crowds gathered to witness this mere mortal, helicopters circled, tea party fanatics protested, the Secret Service rotated throughout the neighborhood, streets were blocked, camera crews tried to find exciting snippets, the "blue and white&quo…