I am in Boston with my son and the light of my life, Andrew. We were sitting in the lobby of our hotel and chatting with a woman who works in the hotel shop that sells newspapers, toiletries, souvenirs, etc. We have developed so many special relationships with employees in this hotel after 16 years of monthly visits for medical.
This past year there have been more people living on the streets, and many with clear signs of a mental health crisis, that frequent the lobby both to rest and to ask for some assistance.
Earlier today there was a man who appeared to be in his fifties and clearly in a psychotic episode asking for money. One of the staff said that he has been in the lobby quite a bit over the past week and can get a bit loud. I gave him some money and he was surprised and smiled, and then left the hotel still talking to himself.
Just thirty minutes ago while sitting with this lovely woman, a man who appeared to be in his late forties (maybe early fifties) walked up very quietly and said that he had nowhere to stay with his two sons and needed $43.00 for two nights at the YMCA located close to this Westin. Before he finished I gave him the money and he started to cry. He left in tears.
Frankly, I wish I had given him more and wish I had the means to have a real and lasting impact on homelessness and poverty in America. I wish I had a voice that resonated and drove our populace to rise up in outrageous indignation and saying no more to destroying the lives of people suffering from mental illness (I prefer brain illness), and waging a war on poverty, homelessness and the working/not-wrking poor.
It breaks my heart. Leaves me worrying and frightened about where this man and his sons will be in two days, two months and two years, and knowing that this man and his sons are one of countless. Living in Michigan, I live in outrage mode every day and knowing that 1 in 5 children are living in abject poverty, with countless adults living on our streets.
I no longer know what to think but I will never stop using my voice, giving what I can and fighting for the torn and tattered fabric of our nation. Like President Obama and presidents before him, I believe that no one working should be living in poverty, and no one who can work should be without a job.