Commentary by Brian Davis
We often look past the guys sitting at the bus stops or we fail to see the humanity in those tying to stay out of the heat downtown because they have become part of the landscape. These are men and women with families and children and moms and nieces and nephews. It is not obvious that those individual’s walking down the street carrying their bags containing all their belongings have hidden talents and skills. We have ignored the Neil Youngs, or Langston Hughes or Check Closes, Flannery O’Conners or Albert Aylers walking around the streets of Cleveland, and their talents are being wasted while they wait for stable housing. Even for those who work in the homeless community, it is difficult to see the families, artists, or skilled craftspeople in the shelter. Case workers see the faces as more work and feel more exhaustion with every new face they see. Even those working with homeless people every day do not see the wealth of their talents until attending their memorial services.
I attended Anthony Water’s memorial service in the first week of July 2008 to learn more about the talents lost with his beating death. No one brought up the circumstances of his death at the service so we will not dwell.
Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #85 in July-August 2008 Cleveland Ohio.