By Jessie Stracener
Whether this is your first time watching this video, or third time because it’s been circling around the social channels, I’ll bet it gives you goose bumps. The kind of goose bumps that make you want to reach out and hug each and every one of these people. Perhaps your mind went to a time when you spotted a homeless person while you were enjoying lunch with friends. Near the outdoor patio of the restaurant where you were having a great time, the stranger slowly walked by with a sign that said “wounded veteran looking for work.” He was a little dirty, not particularly well-dressed, and your eyes met momentarily. You don’t eat out a lot, but suddenly you felt guilty that you were.
For some reason, if we notice them at all, homeless people make us shift in our seats, or look away when we pass by them sitting in an alleyway. The idea of eating a nice meal and paying for drinks while someone else down the block is starving with a cup of change at her side makes us feel uncomfortable. We wonder how they shower, how often they change their clothes, where they use the bathroom, where they sleep at night, if they have families. We wonder how they could end up in such a sad situation, and how different they are than us, to the point that we may not even realize they’re human beings with individual stories. That’s why I love this video. It helps give these individuals an identity, it tells a big story about them in just a few words. And instead of feeling uncomfortable and looking away, we want to reach through and hug them and tell them we care.
What I fear most about the rising homeless population is that we are so wrapped up in our own lives, in our tech devices, and immediate gratification culture that we don’t even see those who are struggling. You can help by not looking down when passing someone who obviously doesn’t have a bed to sleep in, and instead flash a smile, human to human. Even if you can’t offer material items, you can give something more valuable: your compassion.
You can help by sharing the Rethink Homelessness video, to remind others that everyone in this world has a story and something to contribute to the greater good. Perhaps the first step to figuring out a solution to rampant homelessness is remembering that a homeless person is still a person.
Join the conversation and share how you can #RethinkHomelessness
I am a happily married 24-year-old woman living in the heart of the south. By day I work primarily with children or doing some sort of clerical work. I’m an ace with excel spreadsheets and bandaging “boo boos”. I’ve had nearly every job you could think of and I have enjoyed most of them, from working at a museum, library, Microbiology lab, and a Music studio to being a birthday clown, a tutor, and pretty much anything else you can think of. I love to sew, cross stitch, embroider, and work with beads and wire to make awesome trees. I will try crafting anything at least once. I also love to read. I will read nearly anything. I also like to cook when I have the time.