I saw my first homeless person in December 1981, 35 years ago.
I shot this video on Thursday, December 15, 2016.
View at full screen, if you can.
Most people consider a sight an elderly man shoving a cart of wet
belongings in a drenching rain normal.
They want to live like this, we say.
The State Hospitals were so much worse, we say.
It’s too expensive to fix, we say.
Think of all the lies we have to tell ourselves
to make the daily sight of human suffering
Then remember that all of it is the result of our vote.
Tin can at my feet
Think I’ll kick it down the street
That’s the way to treat a friend
The video is made from photographs of San Francisco’s mentally ill
homeless between 2012 and 2015.
“I Think it’s Going to Rain Today”
Song by Judy Collins
Lyrics by Randy Newman
A year ago Linda Bethea and her Mother, Kathleen Swain, did two of the nicest things two strangers have ever done for me.
Linda sent me the gift of a hand designed bag and Kathleen sent me a drawing and a hand written note that claimed me as her Forever Son.
At the time I didn’t know what that term meant.
When I looked it up and saw the definition I was touched on so many levels of emotion that I hardly knew what to do.
A year later and I see how that gesture of compassion healed me in ways that I still don’t fully fathom.
What I do know is that it was an act that changed my life for the better.
When we help to make the lives of other people better we make life better for ourselves as well.
I never forget an act of kindness.
Thank you to Linda and to your wonderful Mother.
There is more grace in my life because of you.
Rob Goldstein 2016