I Need You To Start Caring

I+Need+You+To+Start+Caring

Leonard Blachly-Preston, Staff Writer

I think that there is one category of people that is constantly misunderstood by society, in very inhumane ways. In the United States, we are proud of most of our progress. We are proud of our economy, before the pandemic, but I think that overall, we have to be more true to respecting others than we are to money. I write this to tell you about homeless people, and how we treat them in our society.

I cannot tell you how many times I have walked down a city street, and seen people abuse these innocent people. Homeless people suffer more than enough before we are even able to step in and cause more harm! They might have lost everything. Sometimes they have only a bag of items to live off. They need money, they need food, and yet we do not provide it. Instead, we decide to make laws that limit the safe places that they can sleep in. It is no longer legal for them to sleep in subway stations, nor is it legal for them to sleep on subways. These are both places where they can sleep safely, without the danger of cold, or storms. Here they are safer than they are on the streets in terms of crime too!

They suffer because they are robbed, and no one stands up for them, because they might be breaking a law to live! The police are more interested in finding them, and taking them to shelters than they are with finding the people who assault them. I am passionate about helping them because I know that I might not be rich, but to them, my life might be heaven. And you might think, but we have shelters! No. Half of the time, those shelters are more than poorly run, they are overcrowded, and they are so understaffed because so few people respect the homeless people and those who do work other jobs.

Now, they are not only misunderstood by the police or the government. No. People who could offer them real help, not a go-to-jail card, ignore them. I have heard countless people on the subway talk about the homeless person in the back, saying how bad they smell, and how they make the city so much worse! These people might not have access to hygiene products, or a safe place to take showers! Get with it! People! You have talked so much about how much you care, and how charitable you are, and then when the cameras aren’t rolling, this is what you do?

And one of the worst parts of this sort of lifestyle is that they can hear you! You are insulting a person in five different ways, and you don’t even think about the fact that they can hear you! It is insulting to pretend they cannot hear. It is insulting to say that they smell, even if they do. It is insulting to say that they should get off the subway. The most insulting thing that you can do is not even own up to it! They can hear you, and you’ll claim you didn’t say that. They might as well have recorded you and you’ll still say no!

Listen. Half of the people who you insult are on the streets because of YOU. Half of those people who I have met on the streets are veterans who lost everything because they went to fight in a war to protect you and they weren’t paid enough. Have you ever stopped to read the signs? They literally say that they are veterans! We have charities that help veterans, and yet the homeless people I speak to tell me that they are not eligible to receive those funds! Our charities are wonderful, but we should not give to people based on how long they served! There are some conditions that get you kicked out of the army, but does that make them ineligible for money if they wind up like this? No! And many have lost their families, some have lost all of their belongings in a fire! And you do nothing! 

HOW DARE YOU!

These people are treated like the rats of society because you never stopped to hear their story! These people are misunderstood in part because of you. You went around and talked about how much they stink! You did not share their story. You were not compassionate to them. And worst of all, you did not even thank the veterans for protecting you! If it goes like this, you should take all your money, and give it away, and go join the marines! See how it feels when you come home to nothing! These people do care! They fought for us, they helped our economy through the jobs they had and this is how you treat them?

So why do you even think about money over humanity? Because you literally do not care! And this is why I ask every single person out there to start caring. I implore you, to start caring, We could be far better off than them! We are the ones who help them since they have helped us. That is what matters. Not money, in this case, but compassion. Even if you just talk to them, it will give them hope. That will make them less misunderstood.

When I tell you that I care, I want you to LISTEN.

Why do you think that I sell my old things to raise money for homeless people? Why do you think that I give up my lunch money to people on the street? Because they may not have had lunch in days!

Tyler Perry once said, “You feeling entitled?” Well, why? Because you have had much better fortune than they have? How does that not make them entitled to food, to money? They deserve it. 

But if you go to other places, even other parts of NYC, you might stumble upon a scene like this: Children, sitting with their parents, on the sidewalk. There are 2.5 million homeless children in the United States! That is literally close to 1/200 of the entire population, and 1 in every 30 children! 1 in 10 children in the New York City Public schools are homeless or have been at one point in their lives

I do not write this to look like a better person. Because I cannot tell you how many times I unconsciously moved away from homeless people, changed subway cars, took the next bus, walked to the next train station! I know I can do better. And I hope that you will too. Because I think we all know that we are better off than the people who have a few bags of stuff, and have to sleep on the dirty floors and sidewalks of NYC subways and subway stations. There are people who only have a pet for company, or those who struggle with addiction, but have no one to get them help! 

So now is the time to act. Now, when they suffer most. Now when they have an even bigger risk insight: the pandemic. They cannot afford masks, because that could be a day’s worth of meals. Dropped masks are no better. They have germs from other people, and there is no way for them to be washed well enough. They have been kicked off the subways! They have been crowded into shelters that can create superspreader events. And yet why do we not hear about this all? Because we talk about politics, social media, or video games. We listen to whatever you think that screaming match between the two candidates for President was. So get it together. We could have spent an hour and a half passing out masks, food, and jackets to homeless people, and yet we would rather watch an ugly shouting match on TV? 

I thought we were better than that.

Turns out we’re not yet.

When the pandemic first hit us, we were crippled, New York, a huge city with thousands of people who have to endure living on the streets had nowhere to put any of them. Shelters were beyond full, and the city could not leave them on the street! They could get COVID and then die! So we found a great solution! Since NYC was hit so hard, we closed hotels, until we figured that they could be temporary homes for people living in overcrowded shelters! Except apparently, people decided that homeless people will ruin their neighborhood. How would you feel if you had over 1,000 protesters outside your door, saying that you were a disgrace? Well, somehow, the city began to think so too.

Because we took them out of the hotels!

We sit in the silence,

Of the morning air

We mourn those who we heard

Their scream of protest flew like birds

To the top of the sky, and higher and higher,

As those who lived there did conspire.

We left those people to do what they want,

Yell and scream,

It seemed like a dream,

From fortune right back to where they came from.

They had it all,

This plan was appalling, said one.

And yet it saved lives, until that very day,

That everyone rose up,

Forces of evil clashing on the darkest day.

The longest day dragged on even longer, 

as we sat there,

Suffering,

Crying,

And mourning. 

That day, you’d have felt it in the air. Something was about to go down.