THINKING ABOUT HOMELESSNESS
HOW A PENNY MADE ME FEEL LIKE A MILLIONAIRE
So the first day we get to New York, my grandmother and I find a penny in the floor of the homeless shelter that my family's staying in. Only, we don't know that it's a homeless shelter. We think that it's a hotel, a hotel with lots of rats. So we find this penny kind of fossilized in the floor, and we think that a very wealthy man must have left it there because regular people don't just lose money. And I hold this penny in the palm of my hand, and it's sticky and rusty, but it feels like I'm holding a fortune. I decide that I'm going to get my very own piece of Bazooka bubble gum. And in that moment, I feel like a millionaire. About a year later, I get to feel that way again when we find a bag full of stuffed animals in the trash, and suddenly I have more toys than I've ever had in my whole life.
In this stirring and eye-opening talk, Rex Hohlbein shows how we can take our own small and meaningful steps to end homelessness and admit and respond to the inequality in our midst. If you can say "Hello" and have willingness to see people, you can take a step that can help address homelessness.
THE YEAR I WAS HOMELESS
I don't know when or how it happened, but the speed at which I went from being a talented writer and journalist to being a homeless woman, living in a van, took my breath away. I hadn't changed. My I.Q. hadn't dropped. My talent, my integrity, my values, everything about me remained the same. But I had changed somehow. I spiraled deeper and deeper into a depression.
And eventually someone referred me to a homeless health clinic. And I went. I hadn't bathed in three days. I was as smelly and as depressed as anyone in line. I just wasn't drunk or high. And when several of the homeless men realized that, including a former university professor, they said, "You aren't homeless. Why are you really here?" Other homeless people didn't see me as homeless, but I did.
Becky Blanton 2009
WHO BELONGS IN A CITY?
Before Nigeria became a country, fisherpeople from the inland creeks started to come down the Lagos lagoon and establish villages along the coast. About 60 years later, my grandfather, Oludotun Adekunle Kukoyi, also arrived in Lagos. Like me, he was an alumnus of the University of Ibadan, a young member of the educated elite in the independence era. Over time, he built an illustrious career as a land surveyor, mapping out now-bustling neighborhoods when they were just waist-high wild grass. He died when I was nine. And by that time, my family, like the families of those fisherpeople, knew Lagos as home.
OluTimehin Adegbeye 2017