Don’t Just Walk Past Us

Content warning: The stories throughout this issue may be especially activating for some readers. Many of these pieces involve descriptions of traumatic experiences including sexual violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, queer/transphobic violence, in addition to the violence of states and false borders.

The forgotten hungry and homeless nowadays are found everywhere. There are thousands of them in San Francisco and maybe millions in the U.S. Denied shelter in a world in which everyone is supposed to be equal; after all, we breathe the same air. But the poor, the homeless and the hungry immigrants cannot feel that life is very fair when the minority—those who are too wealthy—hoard too much of everything. Everyone should have a home to live in and nobody should go hungry or have to wear ragged clothes. Immigrants remain undocumented, the poor become poorer and the rich become richer.  That is a very sad thing to say in this country at this time. I feel for them, for I am one of them!

They forget that we are homeless, not harmful; jobless, but hopeful; penniless, not dangerous. We will work, not steal. We are looking for compassion, not violence; seeking employment, not harassment; gaining hope, not property. Life is so free, yet so restricted. With all the joy in this earth, I am evicted. The earth is so full, yet we go hungry. We sit in silence as all passing eyes watch us. All their children go to school, learn, play and have fun together while our children have no homes, no schools, no play and no hope. They are made fun of and sadness slowly creeps in. Every day we see them, very well fed and dressed children with expensive toys to play with, yet our kids live in abject squalor.  It’s not their fault—they’re just victims of bad luck!

On the streets, I have been hit and hurt, sexually assaulted and sexually discriminated against. It has got to a point where I can no longer feel pain.  I know tomorrow they will do it again, laugh about it and call me names, but with a good heart and clear conscience I will still pray for them. I know the sun will shine for me, for us all, the homeless. We wake up every day praying and hoping that soon all this will change, and we’ll be seen as human beings again. The cold nights, people walking past, not caring at all, no food, no shelter, no blankets at night — all this will come to pass. I wake up at night crying and asking myself if I really deserve this, but honestly, no one does!

From the deep down in our hearts, we ask for your compassion. Please do not just walk past us with noses raised and eyes filled with hatred, while we look down silently weeping. Feel pity for us as we have a lot to endure—the harshest of winters and the scorching heat of the summers. Please show a bit of respect because we are also part of this city. We might be in the poorest of slums, but we are still part of it. 

Don’t just walk past, look at us please. 

Thank you to those who show mercy and visit us despite our poor health or poverty. You make our days better and our nights shorter. We are people, but few can tell that we are human and should be treated well. Just be nice — it costs nothing and goes a long way!

To the San Francisco community members who go out of their way to provide us with food, water and health care no matter how little: may you be blessed and never tire nor forsake us as if we are a burden to the majority. To the Government: please put in place better options that are safer for homeless folks — not just in San Francisco, but all over the USA — for protection from the harsh weather, sexual predators and much more of whatever we go through out here. Please consider coming up with supportive housing for us. We need it!