The Vote Created Change! And the Homeless Sunrise Service

Posted on November 12, 2006 by Sara Hickman. | 1 Comment

It’s really sad when we humans start to forget to see the God in others. When we single someone out for ridicule, or ignore them altogether, we are becoming this worst sort of human…We deny someone their existence, their possibilities. I know, at some level, we are all capable of creating conflict, inflicting sorrow and of being selfish.
But I like to think most of us are being the best we can be, at any given time….

Yes, I know… we live in such a mean spirited time. But, if anything, I hope the change in the world can continue to grow towards a maturity, with a group of intelligent, caring, spirited people leading the way, trying to make these times better for one another, not worse. Because when we rise up, truly rise up in humility and love, then there will be no need for war, for belittling those different from us, for bitter, unending comparisons.

I have been shocked by this administration’s policies, especially those decisions based on torture and greed, but even still, I must believe that
good can overcome evil, and this is done through the strength of love and by standing strong against wrong-doing, not by calling names, but by doing exactly what Americans did this week: voting for change and speaking out for what is right.

Having the Democrats charge into offices this week (through the voice of the people demanding change!) has strengthened me. I think it sends resounding currents of
enthusiasm through us all. This is a change of determination, of diligence, of wanting to know that we are not alone in saving this world from pollutants, from ignorance, from bribery, from affluence run amuck. It’s like the class valedictorian stepped forward to the podium and caused the class bullies to take a seat, just through the use of her words. It means America’s beating heart for justice, mercy and liberty is still beating, and the pulse has just quickened! It means so many things; I’m elated and ready and willing to keep volunteering and singing and speaking out on behalf of the dream that can become a reality….peace for all.

And that is what I experienced this morning under a tree, next to a lake covered in swirling will-o-wisps. As the sun was rising, a bell tolled 7 am, and all the will-o-wisps seemed to be drawn to it’s ancient sound…ghosts of those who passed away on the streets this year, the homeless spirits slowly dancing toward the heavens.
It was an awesome sight.

The tree was planted many years ago by Richard Troxell (founder of House the Homeless/Universal Living Wage Campaign) and it is now a mighty oak (?), it’s branches extending out, overhead, the hand of nature reminding us to play in her limbs, to cuddle under her leaves, to remember the embrace of all things possible…simply by the planting of a seed, symbolic of an idea, that has grown into the fruition of the annual Homeless Sunrise Service.

Richard shared a story of a homeless woman whose car was impounded by a police officer, even though she was parked legally in the Salvation Army’s parking lot, and the director of the SA had come out to intercede on behalf of the woman. All she had was her car. She had fled Arizona, fleeing an abusive husband, and come to Austin to stay with a girlfriend. Who had moved. And, so, the woman was living out of her car and on the streets.

To free her car would have cost $1000, due to the fact it took her several weeks to find help, and it was through Richard that the two of them went before city council, pleading her case. As they were leaving, Interim Police Chief Cathy Ellison, on her very first day, came over and asked Richard and the woman to repeat the story they had just told. Chief Ellison secured the release of the car in THREE hours, and not a penny was spent in procuring it.

This is the example of how one person can make a tremedous difference in the life of another. As Richard says, they didn’t have to wade through the muck and mire of administrative paperwork, not wait for assistance. Assistance came immediately because Ms. Ellison stepped forward and called the incident ludicrous.

We had a council member speak to the crowd, we sang songs, we heard prayers, and the names of those who died on the streets were read. Flowers were laid on the plaque of the tree I mentioned, and the river flowed on as tears were falling from the homeless, and those with homes, gathered together. I saw one man, a homeless man, standing alone, and as the names were starting to be read, I quietly walked over and laid my arm across his shoulder, and his head fell forward and he began to cry. And I could only think of all the lonely moments, all the terror and chill and hunger, that I could never truly know…and my heart wrapped around his form and I held him as the names went on and on.

One response to “The Vote Created Change! And the Homeless Sunrise Service”

  1. Scott says:

    You may have changed a heart and soul by walking up to that person at the Homeless Sunrise service.

    Smiles, a friendly wave, 2 minutes of warm converstion may give those of us who are homeless a starting point to begin a new a fresher life. They also may be the only kind jesture given to us for days or weeks.

    Turning It Over

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