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Empathy

Homelessness in the Bay Area is both a growing problem and a very divisive issue. Every time any kind of facility to help the unhoused in any way is proposed, there is a lot of very ugly rhetoric around what will happen if we do it.

The narrative is always something like, "Sure it's good to help people with no homes, but we shouldn't do it HERE, we should do it THERE. The needles! Our children! The drugs!" etc.

In the spring, I volunteered for a local measure that would allow a wellness and respite center for the unhoused. The center had the audacity to be near the beach! (sarcasm) which apparently would ruint he beach for everyone else, etc. etc. The opposition ran a very ugly campaign, with tons of fearmongering and lies.

My nephew came to visit and asked me about my Measure A sign. I explained to him, and he immediately said, "but in kindergarten, we learned that you have to help people. Why don't people want to help people who don't have houses?"

We went to see the facility and he said it would be good. He wanted me to let everyone know that "measure A is good and the other one is BAD."

The center is happening and is in the design phase. I went to the meeting where they had input and I thought I'd get my nephew's input since he had felt so strongly.

He and his little sister thought really hard and listed their top three things the center needed:

1. Vegetable garden
2. Showers
3. Couches

They explained each:

Vegetable garden so it looks pretty and the people can have vegetables and be healthy. ("But they need treats too!")

Showers because it's fun to get dirty but then you have to get clean and if you're homeless it's hard to get clean.

Couches because you need to rest.

The kids get it. Why don't the adults?


Comments

dkzody said…
Exactly. The kids get it. They understand. What can't the rest of the population?
Bronwyn said…
100%. We need to listen to them.

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