In speeches and in this space I have spoken and written about the issue of homelessness nationwide and here in San Francisco. I have repeatedly said that a new definition of what is considered to be morally and ethically "appropriate" is needed in our nation today. Otherwise, how does one explain that, in in richest country of the world (and here in Silicon Valley), homeless people, their children, and US military veterans are sleeping on the sidewalks of our streets?
I have questioned why the collective brilliance here is unable "to develop an App" to successfully address providing homes for our homeless?
A recent email from Kelley Cutler Human Rights Organizer, San Francisco Coalition On Homelessness reminded me yet again about this continuing "moral and ethical" issue.
Ms. Cutler wrote about the recent killing by our police of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, a homeless person.
She wrote that he had been "living in an apartment in the Mission, but was evicted and ended up on the street. He is one of many residents that was displaced due to gentrification."
"Lately the police harassment has been even worse. ...for 'quality of life' citations, such as sitting, sleeping, camping, etc. SFPD has been running names looking for folks with warrants. When they are taken to jail their tent and all of their belongings are trashed."
"Keep in mind that there still hasn't been a place where people can 'move along' to. The stress has really been getting to people. I often encounter people in tears who tell me they just can't handle it anymore. They are a constant target. They are being tortured."
"This morning I received a call from a woman who lives in a tent on the street... she was displace from Division and her tent and belongings were trashed. She's a senior with extremely serious health issues and requires a wheelchair to get around."
"This woman is amazing... she's leads bible studies with folks in encampments and she's always telling me how her faith is what gives her hope and keeps her going. once again... the police were harassing her and telling her she had to "move along" or they would confiscate her tent and belongings... again. I was on the phone with her and could hear them."
"It's important to know that there are a lot of sick seniors living on the street and when their belongings get trashed that usually means their medication gets dumped too. Imagine this happening to your parents or your grandparents. This is how elders in our community are treated. It's shameful."
How often do we need to read or hear about our homeless before we decide, like Howard Beale, the TV executive in the film "NETWORK"? Written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, Beale, out of anger and frustration, yells out of his office window "that we are "mad as hell, and we're not going to take this anymore'?
On the issue of our homeless, when are we going to publicly raise our voices like Howard Beale and collectively shout and act to let our friends, neighbors, and political leaders know, that we too are mad as hell and not going to be silent and inactive about the plight of our homeless?