March Against Excess.

Can I be real here for a second?

Of course I can, this is my blog, so you can’t really stop me.  Although you can stop reading, so feel free to… okay no, please don’t.

Anyway, a couple of months ago things in my brain started to get a little weird. A stirring started in my head and my heart that began to get me a bit angsty (I realize this is not a word, but I like so it stays). I started to really wrestle with the notion that I go to work every day with people who have very little, claiming that I love them and want to be a part of their lives, I call them brothers and sisters…and then at the end of the day I drive home to Santa Monica and enjoy luxuries, both physical and mental (ie; the fact that I can write this blog from the vantage point of privilege), that are unheard of in most parts of the world- including the place just outside of the doors where I’m sitting as I write.

I am not comfortable with this picture. Continue reading “March Against Excess.”

The Day I Met You.

This is not a love letter. Well, maybe it is, but not of the romantic variety. This is a letter to Lucy, to Andre, to Darryl and all of the other men and women I have met who have been forced to the margins and shown me that, that is exactly where my God lives.

The Day I Met You

I still hear the voices sometimes
The ones that tell me to quiet down
Sit up straight
And act like a lady
“Ladies are quiet,” they say, “subdued”
The don’t scream at the unjust
They don’t cause a scene
And they sure as hell don’t curse Continue reading “The Day I Met You.”

I Grew Up on Skid Row.

“I’d be in first grade,” I told my executive director. “Like, say I was born the day I started working on Skid Row, I would have gone through all these big phases; I’d have cut teeth, crawled, walked, said my first words, dressed myself and then gone off to school, carrying a lunch box and learning to play dodgeball all in the time I’ve been here. It kinda feels like I grew up on these streets, with these people.”

 “Rachel, you kinda did.”

Continue reading “I Grew Up on Skid Row.”

Living in the Tension and Getting Up.

Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.
–Brian Andreas

A couple of years ago I met a guy. His name is T.J.. At the risk of full disclosure and possibly confirming your suspicions that I really am a b****, I’ve got to confess, I 113% did not want to be friends with him. You see, T.J. is cool; girls dig him, guys look up to him and well, he wears a leather jacket. Plus he’s a musician and when you spend enough years at a Christian college that attribute usually conjures images of guys sitting in the quad singing worship music superficially to woo the passing ladies. Barf. He was clearly not company I’d want to keep – I am tottttally above that, am I right? Continue reading “Living in the Tension and Getting Up.”

Homeless Bill of Rights; Join the Movement

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

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1. Right to move freely, rest, sleep, & pray and be protected in public spaces without discrimination.
2. Right to occupy a legally parked vehicle.
3. Right to share food and eat in public.
4. Right to legal counsel if being prosecuted.
5. Right to 24-hour access to “hygiene facilities.”
6. Require judges to consider necessity defense in homeless related cases. Continue reading “Homeless Bill of Rights; Join the Movement”

I Give Up.

If I am being honest, the last couple months have been pretty rough. The holidays are usually challenging for many patrons of Skid Row, so that part did not come as a huge surprise, although this year was worse than most. Couple that with some personal difficulties going on outside of the Skid Row community, I found myself on the floor- several times- wondering what the heck I’m doing here…or there…or anywhere.

More than once I have thought about giving up, calling it a day and surrendering. These thoughts however, are usually followed by a long diatribe of self-chastising, because when the word surrender gets placed in front of me the first thing I often think of is weakness, loss of self and loss of the competition at hand. Whether in the physical or the metaphysical, waving the white flag is not an act I take pride in.

But what does it really mean to surrender? What does it really mean to lay down my sword and let go? Perhaps it is less and act of giving up and more of an act of will, stating respect in the entity you are giving yourself over to. Continue reading “I Give Up.”