The Pilgrim is a magazine in Boston that publishes the voices of that city's large homeless population. I say, that city, but really, what city doesn't have a large homeless population? In Oregon it's not limited just to Portland. When I travel south on the interstate there are people at every freeway onramp and exit holding cardboard signs detailing their need and asking for help.
If you believe the handwritten pleas, these people are ex-military, moms and dads out of work for seven months, young people who can't find jobs. More and more frequently I roll down my car window and hand out dollar bills. When I scan their faces they look less methamphetamine ravaged and more like people who could use a good meal.
There's a lot to write about here.
The ability to voice your experience and have your voice be acknowledged is a crucial step toward changing the way we think about the homeless. Instead of viewing them as a seething mass of semi-humanity, it allows individuals to be named and reclaim their place in society.
Margaret Miranda is a homeless woman and a writer for The Pilgrim. This is an excerpt from one of the pieces she wrote for its December issue:
At a time when I wanted to blend into the earth in every sense you insisted I take a reversible winter jacket - hot pink on one side, electric blue on the other - so I could not escape your opinion that I was precious and wanted to be safe in traffic.Margaret Miranda is just one of many voices. If you have a minute stop by to read some of the others that so often go unheard and unrecognized. http://hereandnow.wbur.org/files/2012/12/1219_pilgrim-magazine.pdf