By Diana Robinson
I’ve been a vendor of the Cleveland Street Chronicle for about 2 years. I’ve been dealing with blindness for 29 years, and at one point in time, was homeless for about a year.
I recently went to the library and asked the librarian for information about celebrities who’d experienced homelessness, and was given the names of several celebrities who had experienced homelessness. Ella Jane Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer the called the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz and Lady Ella. She had a disrupted childhood, but had an amazing voice. After her mother’s death in 1932, Fitzgerald ended up moving in with an aunt. She started skipping school. According to her Wikipedia listing, Fitzgerald was then sent to a special reform school but didn’t stay there long. By 1934, Ella was trying to make it on her own and living on the streets in New York. She won a singing competition at the Apollo Theater. Fitzgerald had a great career after spending much of her youthbouncing around and living rough.
Christopher Gardner is best known through his autobiography “The Pursuit of Happyness, and the 2009 film of the same name. His mission in life, is to encourage people 50 and older to “pursue new challenges, search for fulfillment at any stage of life, or craft the legacy they want to leave behind.”
In addition to receiving awards for both the book and movie versions of The Pursuit of Happyness, his work has also been recognized by many organizations committed to combating violence against women, homelessness, and financial illiteracy.
At the Sight Center, they remind you that although you may not have your sight, you do still have your life. I believe that as long as you’re alive, there’s hope. Although he experienced homelessness, Chris Gardner remained hopeful. He didn’t lose sight of his desire to be a first-rate father and successful businessman. If Chris Gardner could succeed at overcoming homelessness, so can I.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle September 2015 in Cleveland Ohio All Rights Reserved