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A Few Good Men: Portraits of Homelessness

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  • The man held a sign on a piece of used cardboard, the word “Hungry” scrawled with a black magic marker.  I stopped, and offered him a banana out of my lunch bag.  He said he didn’t eat them.  I dug into the bag.  I had some walnuts and raisins, which I offered.  He ate walnuts, and his partner, well, she ate raisins.
  • Related: Special Report | The Franklin Hiawatha Encampment

Daniel Lichtenstein-Boris,  LA Progressive

 


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October 3, 2018 | A Salute from the Sidewalk

One morning I went to take the train to work.  A man sat across from the entrance of the Hollywood/Western Red line station.  Scrawny, in his early 30’s, he held a sign that read, “Homeless Hungry Disabled Vet.”  I had no food or cash.  All I did was tell him sheepishly, “Sorry, I don’t have anything.”  Most commuters pretended he did not exist; they looked down at their feet, walking briskly past.  “Thank you for your service,” I gave him a sheepish salute as I walked by.

Exiting the train station at my stop, walking to work on sidewalks where homeless sleep on cardboard boxes wrapped in soiled blankets covered by clear plastic that sticks to garmentslikeshrink wrapped cellophane, I saw a man wearing a Vietnam Veterans ball cap—a white man with a full head of snow-white hair puffing out from beneath his hat.  His beard extended a foot beneath his chin, unkempt full of scraggly salt and peppered gristles growing in different directions.  The six-foot-five vet stood upright with perfect posture.  He looked destitute, and in no rush, as he meandered across the sidewalk like he had nothing to do but loiter all day.

Daniel Lichtenstein-Boris has been engaged in struggles for social justice for 20 years, including over 10 as a professional union and community organizer, researcher, and campaigner.

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Related:

Special Report | The Franklin Hiawatha Encampment, Week Ending September 22, 2018, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest


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Story 1: Franklin/Hiawatha Encampment * Story 2: Frequently Asked Questions * Story 3: How To Help * Story 4: ‘Wall Of Forgotten Natives’ Lays Bare Mpls. Housing Crisis * Story 5: ‘A blessing,’ ‘a family,’ and ‘a shame on Minneapolis’: Voices from the Hiawatha Avenue homeless encampment * Story 6: Minneapolis officials pledge action to help residentsofhomeless encampment


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