Apesma’s Lament: The Seattle Crime of Standing While Black

Tim Harris writes in his blog, Apesma’s Lament:

Donald is one of those people who, not to put too fine a point on it, was f***ed from birth. Raised Black, male, and poor in the projects of New York, he took his best shot at success by joining the Army just in time for the first Gulf War. When he came back, Donald found that he was still Black and poor, and all his military experience counted for was a case of PTSD.

Since then, most of his time has been spent homeless or in prison. Given that our system seems to delight in nothing more than kicking people when they’re down, I find this sadly unsurprising, and admire him for each and every day that he’s woken up without hating the entire human race.

A couple of days ago I heard a speech by California Senator Barbara Boxer and in it she said something about helping people with the economic stimulus bill they are working on in the other Washington. She listed people it would help, and in her list she included “the working poor” – and while I thought her speech was a very good one, that phrase gave me pause.

What about the not-working poor? The unemployed, the physically-disabled-and-unable-to-work, the mentally-ill-and-unable-to-work, the youths who must run away from homes where they are not safe, and oh so many more.

We must not forget them. We must find ways to support those who may not be able to visibly “contribute to society” by some people’s terms – but who do very much so – each in their own way – part of us, our land and culture.

We must not forget people like Donald, struggling to thrive in a hostile world with the help of programs like Real Change in Seattle WA.

When we are looking at ‘economic stimulus’ we must include funds for programs that serve.

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