Saturday, January 31, 2009

On The Road: Destination-Birmingham Alabama revisited story by August H Mallory

It is now a new year and as I make a return visit to Birmingham Alabama I still remember my first visit there. I still recall when an elderly woman in her 70s approached me to tell me about the freedom riders who came through Birmingham enroute to Washington DC, as she recalled the ku klux klansmen who attacked the bus the riders were on and dragged them from their bus and beat them severely whie the Birmingham Police sat back and watched. I scheduled a tour to the Birmingham jail where Dr Martin Luther King was jailed for protesting a law that was unconstitutional. there were letters written by Dr King. that were discovered years after he was released from jail in Birmingham. Dr King fought for jobs, equal rights, poverty, womens rights, his sole purpose was to force the nation to share its bill of rights with all citizens. as I look around Birmingham today, much has changed but much still need to improve. I took another look at the sixteenth street baptist church again, in 1963 four little girls were preparing to attend church when ku klux klansmen fire bombed the church. a very grim reminder still remains on the side of that church, repairs have been made but the fenced off area will catch the view of all who visits it. I was standing in a park just directly across from the sixteenth street baptist church when a homeless man came up to me and gave me some details as to what happen on that dreadful day in 1963. as he explained it to me, he had mentioned that the entire area shook like an earthquake for four blocks. it was the worst bombing to ever happen to that city. he gave grave details as to how the Birmingham Police made wise cracks about the bombing. I was seven years old in 1963. but I do remember while growing up in Indiana I was watching the news one evening and I remember seeing this footage of a church being blown out somewhere down south. I remember seeing the horrified look on my parent's faces as they were watching. after I finished my conversation with this gentleman, we parted ways, I decided to take a closer look at the church. I stood about two feet away from the once bombed out area. and thought to myself how could anyone do this to a church. my parents raised me to respect the house of god.
and even though I don't always attend as much as I would like to I still remember what I was taught. these days things have gotten even worse, but though no one has bombed a church, there are things like using profane language in a church, drinking of alcohol in the church. flirting and sexual harassment in the church, all of these things are now common place in houses of worship. and even though we as individuals may laugh at this, I can assure you that god is not laughing. as I stood outside of the sixteenth street baptist church in Birmingham, I said a quiet prayer for those four girls who died in that bombing. and made my way to downtown birmingham, to talk with some of the local merchants and business owners in the area. my purpose in Birmingham was to get new ideas from merchants on what can be done about getting the homeless out of their situation. I got all sorts of comments some good some not so good. I was pushing more to see if merchants would be willing to hire the homeless as employees. so merchants were pretty compassionate to the idea, but it was just that their budget were maxed out to pay another person to work. or they just didn't have the work available. alot of businesses were laying off people at alarming rates so they as merchants knew that hiring someone would not work for them as an employer. however as we live in the united states. the many employers who are hiring are looking for more younger, less experienced people. and in many cities across the country the homeless are shut out of the mainstream.
homeless services can provide so much, but it the merchants who could do the job of hiring more people who are down and out and if we can reach that stage where we can accept people as they are our economy will roll alot better, our unemployment rate will not be so high. even small businesses can succeed. many of the homeless have tremendous marketing skills, I have seen this for myself. and if there is an employer out there who wants to find some good people to work for them. consider those who are homeless, not all homeless people are drug addicts, drunks and child molesters, rapist's and murderer's there are alot of good people who are willing to work and make a difference. and to the city of Birmingham, I encourage you to take this thought into consideration when you hire.

Monday, January 26, 2009

On The Road: Destination-Minneapolis Minnesota story by August H Mallory

This story originally dated september 16, 2008. as I arrive in this city I had to get through the loop of how minneapolis deals with its homeless, as I begin my trek through the city. I find out about a place called mary jo's a daily community kitchen plus social sevice office that also has a insider deal with minnesota state department of human services. the united way a well known organization throughout north america. had given me a referral to mary jo's, what I discovered was that this particular organization was known all over the twin cities including st. paul. I had to admit to myself if this was not well handed marketing then I don't know what was. as I spend a few days in minneapolis, I spend my nights at the salvation army in downtown minneapolis. but much like any city that I have traveled to, the situation is pretty much the same. many cities have very limited services for the poor and homeless. mary jo's takes on alot to be the small organization that it is. when I walked inside of mary jo's I was amazed at the size of the building, a rather large building for just a small organization, but there were medical staff on hand, veteran service reps available, state job service reps also. I thought to myself not bad, but as I had my lunch which was an excellent meal, as I left to explore more of the city. I noticed that homeless is far more rampant in northern cities that is was in the deep south. the sad thing about being homeless in any part of america, is that people are very desperate, destitute and determined to do what ever it takes to survive. even if it means to take down another homeless person in the process. many conflicts occur amongst the homeless, alot of violence exist within the ranks of the down and out. I been involved with the homeless for many years and I can say from experience that anything can trigger anger from a person. it is like walking amongst a walking time bomb. when I left the military in 1984. my curiosity begin to rise about the homeless, how do they live exactly. where do they sleep. how do they get food and where do they get their meals. but as I continued to mingle among the homeless, there was one thing that I learned about the homeless, they communicate in away that black slaves did during the days of slavery. and the majority of the homeless are african american. why is this. it is due to the result of slavery and the many problems of being denied rights that whites would get in a perfect world. since 1984 I have seen alot of changes with human service organizations. alot of budget cuts have been put in place and many services that would be available to the poor are placed on hold or have been eliminated. I musy give the organization known as mary jo's it props. they do an awesome job for an organization to be so small. as i watch the local homeless romp around town with no guidance or direction I wonder do they know about mary jo's. if there are outreach services available, may i encourage social service worker to go into the city parks and the doorways and the alleyways to find these people and direct them to mary jo's, well done mary jo's keep up the good work

Sunday, January 25, 2009

searching for the down and out story by August H Mallory

As I write this story I have the the continued compassion to continue to follow the plight of many homeless individuals in america. having to have lived amongst the homeless and being apart of the homeless community, I continue to search for the homeless and get their stories and find out what propelled them to the streets of america. it is sad though that the homeless would rather kick each other down than lift one another up. mainstream society is no more compassionate that the homeless show themselves. as I travel from state to state to get other city's prospective on how they deal with their homeless, I have to truly say that the cruelty and hatred aimed toward the homeless is nothing saddenning. across america the homeless are treated less than human even by the various nonprofit agencies that serve them. I have pointed this out many times in my past articles. as I search for the down and out. I have to think like a homeless person where would a homeless person sleep if he or she could not find a shelter to sleep in for the night. as I walk through dark alleyways and substationjs across america. I usually walk through dangerous territory. yes I do stand a chance of gettingt assaulted and killed. but to tell you the truth I am safer around homeless people than I am around the average neighborhood bullies who live in homes and work in gangs to rule their neighborhoods with fear and tyrancy. I stand a greater chance of being killed by a gang member than a homeless person. I have gotten things stolen from me by homeless people but the turnout would have been even worse if it had been a gang member. my things would not have only been stolen but I may have even been killed in the process. I go across america looking for people who are down and out. to get their stories and to tell me what could be done to better their situations. I have contacted many state representatives during my many travels. but for some reason they really don't seem to care. many times they are concerned but have no idea as to what the hell to do.
our nations police force are the worse students when being educated about homelessness, they do not want to hear why you are where you are, or even how you got to where you are they just want you to be gone from where you are or else go to jail. as if jail is going to solve the problem of you being where you are. does this make sense. as I travel the deep south, and this is where poverty is most visible.
I have never been approached by more beggars and panhandlers in my life. crime is very rampant in the south. and the most crimes are committed by people who are homeless and unemployed. I have seen so much unsightly poverty that most of the poor are barefoot, dirty and ragged and it is sad. that this is going on. especially in america where we claim to be the richest country in the world. where we claim that opportunity is available to everyone. I often wonder how true is that. when I look at all of the suffering that is going on in america. our military women and men who fought for our country are now facing the biggest challenges of their lives. and this is a slap in the faces of our veterans. I say shame on america. I have found this out as I search for the down and out in america. I have discovered people who are highly educated have now become homeless. people with college degrees, everything from an associates degree to a doctorate degree are now homeless. education is a good thing but be warned america that even education is not always the answer to a comfortable lifestyle. that safety net can always be be taken away at anytime. so what is the solution. we as americans are going to have to learn to live together and work together and end all of this racial division that separates us as a nation. and learn to accept each other as themselves. as I continue to search for the down and out. I do get responses as to how things can improve but the question is are our elected officials really listening to our concerns.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The voice of human rights and what this new presidency is up against story by August H Mallory

As Barack Obama takes the helm to the white house, he has now reversed all of the major orders that george bush has put in place. the first order to close guantanamo bay prison in cuba, that move gave the new president tremendous applause by many human rights groups. this move may have angered many in the military, but Mr Obama is determined to come through on his promises. so far he has been right on track about alot of things. I was once a member of the ACLU the american civil liberties union, but as much as I can appreciate what the ACLU does, I could not be apart of an organization that supports gay marriages. I grew up as a christian with christian values and morals. and even though I don't attend church as pften as I did when I was younger. I haven't forgotten what I was taught while growing up in the church. our new president faces many challenges, his courage is going to be tested. his leadership ability will be tested and his ability to communicate well will be tested. being an african american male our ability to do anything well is always tested. we as african american are always testing one another. we are naturally violent people. and where ever we go, we will react to the smallest thing that will set us off. we are always told never to take things personally but the very people who tell us that will fly off the handle when they are challenged on an issue.
this world we live in is forever changing and as people are born the rules of life and morality have changed. sometimes I have to take a hard look at the way many human rights organizations look at things. our world is both confusing and complex. but every nation throughout the world has a difference life style. many people in america says that the united states has the problem of sticking its nose in the business of other countries. well america has been involved in foriegn affairs since the revolutionary war. back then the U.S. was at war with great britain we were under the authority of the british during the revolutionary war. but when I think back on american history. and see where this new administaration is taking us. I can only that the obama administration will do the right thing and stay on track. and keep his agendas in tact. for the many human rights organizations, he will act in your favor, but you have to step up to the plate as well. many people wanted Mr Obama in well it now up to you to help keep him in office. if that's what you want. or it will be back to the same old run of the mill treachery like you seen before.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Our nations first African American President-the shifting change in american history story by August H Mallory

This is the year 2009, and the date is january 19, 2009 and on this day we celebrate the legacy of a brave and courageous man. who fought for the civil rights of every american. I am speaking of none other than the the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr. the Atlanta minister who led a campaign to force the nation to share its bill of rights with all citizens. and as we celebrate this day, we will also look forward to the next day as america swears in the 44th president of the united states. who by the way happens to be america's first african american. this is a day that many people thought that they would never ever see in their lifetime. and if Dr King could be here today. he would be very proud of his work. he fought for equal rights, and economic justice for the american people. former senator Barack Obama from Illinois decided to pick up the torch and run for president of the united states. his first endorsement made by TV celebrity Oprah Winfrey, and other political figures there after, Barack Obama ran neck and neck with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, but it was wasn't long before many people begin to realize that she just wasn't meant to be president of the united states. and so it narrowed down to Obama and John McCain of arizona. it was a long and vicious campaign for the white house. John McCain a decorated war hero who was taken prisoner during his service in vietnam, having his aircraft shot down over hanoi, vietnam and came home to later serve in the U.S.Senate Mr McCains dream was to serve as president of the united states, and even though he was in fact well qualified to be president it was changing times that set him back from the office of the presidency. the american people wanted a more younger and diverse presidency and they found that in Barack Obama. on January 20, 2009 president elect Barack Obama will become president Barack Obama at Noon in washington dc. Obama's chance to be come president became even greater when he was endorsed by former secretary of state colin powell former military general who was appointed as the head of the joint chiefs of staff during the reagan administration. and later appointed secretary of state by the bush administration. Mr powell's endorsement of Barack Obama pushed Obama far ahead of John McCain in the running. during the election Obama gained so many points ahead of McCain that McCain conceded and congratulated Obama on his win. it was the young people of america who placed Obama in the lead to become the 44th president of the united states. it is my hope and my prayer that Barack Obama will service the needs of the people and not for himself. far too many presidents have gotten far too involved in corruption and scandals that placed extreme damage to our country. Richard Nixon truly hurt the country by getting involved with watergate. I wish barack obama all the best, but I only ask Mr President that you keep your hands clean, the GOP is watching you. and they are waiting for you to make that one mistake. do not let them win.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

When the homeless mistreats the homeless a traumatic experience story by August H Mallory

As I return from my trip from Bellingham washington, I am soon hit by the bad news of another heart breaking event, career criminal and homeless man Reginald Karl Breaux who goes by the nick name "tex' was a client to the St Martins De Porres homeless shelter near downtown seattle' on june 8, 2008 reginald karl breaux approached a woman who was panhandling near airport way south and south spokane street. breaux told the woman he had no place to stay, the woman offered to lend him a blanket and a tent, according to documents filed in king county superior court. the woman says that while she was on her wat to her campsite,reginald breaux slammed her to the ground and sexually assaulted her. and breaux in his rage bit her on some part of her body and she feared for her life according to the seattle times newspaper. then two days later breaux attack another woman and beat her senseless, this incident happened at the intersection of third avenue south and south hanford street. this assault was interrupted by a motorist who happened to have witnessed breaux assaulting the woman. the motorist had confronted breaux. words were exchanged, and breaux fled. DNA taken from the first victim was the perfect match to arrest breaux and an ID match from a police photo book was enough to bring breaux in on criminal charges of rape. according to police records breaux has an extensive criminal history of robbery, burglary, and domestic violence. when I read stories like this I can now understand why it is so hard for the homeless who are trying to do what's right to get the cold shoulder. when I tried to get permanent housing I was asked all sorts of questions as to when did I get arrested. during the interviews I continued to bombarded with questions of criminal history. I continued to tell them that I had no criminal background. and that there is no record of me on file in any police station. but many people feel that they have nothing to loose so this is why they committ hardcore criminal offenses. and this type of behavior makes it hard for those who are trying to move ahead with their lives.
but since being here in seattle, I have been victim to all sorts of theft. I have had more things stolen from me than I can count. but I am around desperate people, and desperate people do desperate things. and stealing is not new amongst homeless people. drugs and alcohol play a big major factor in the behavior of poor and homeless people. they have to condone this type of behavior to support their drug habits and alcohol addictions. alot of times if they ask for money, they will not get it. so the next thing is to steal it. or assault someone. when I read these stories, it worries me, when I am the victim of theft, it worries me. when I have to witness a violent act it does bother me. in our society its do or die. and the rule of the street is, survive by any means neccessary, we have to reach people when they are young, otherwise we will be raising a world of violent and desperate criminals. the key is intervention, but will it work, experts say it will. and if it will then lets all give it a try.

On The Road: Destination-Bellingham Washington Story by August H Mallory

As I begin this story on saturday, January, 17, 2009 I arrive here on a tuesday and as I begin to check out this seaport city, I am amazed by the scenery of bellingham. I have heard much about this city. it was almost like seattle was a million miles away. as always, I am very curious as to how each city copes with its homeless problem. and I do this by talking to many nonprofit organizations that deal with the homeless and focus on issues of poverty. I made my way to a place called the light house mission ministries, a local gospel rescue mission that houses homeless men. I really wanted to know just how does this city deal with the poor and homeless. in my experience being homeless is a very traumatic experience. and dealing with other homeless people can be twice as nerve wrecking. you deal with issues of mental illness, and extreme violence, with homeless people. but as I make my way to the light house mission ministries. I arrive just in time to check in. as each man lines up to enter he is given a breatherlizer just see if he has been drinking alcohol. and there were a few that had been and as they were breatherlized they were immediately escorted back out the door. I can understand this to be a matter of safety but to throw a person out in the cold like that is a little harsh to me. a person could die in the cold. and I think this type of attitude should change amongst mission staff.
but moving on I am now checked in and I go through the normal worship service and so forth. and then we have dinner and it is off to bed, but it is not long before I hear a ruckus with the mission staff. two staff members are having it out with one another. and it gets to the point where they nearly come to blows with each other. immediately other staff members intervene and the two individuals are taken off the floor and escorted to the mission director's office. finally everybody is now in bed and I hear guys still talking. as people do in every shelter after lights are out.
the next morning I get up and head out the door to explore the city a little more. and as I walk around the seaport. I see homeless people pushing shopping carts along the streets of bellingham. I speak with staff at the local salvation army and ask them to give their opinion on how the homeless situation can be ended. well they do give me some quotes from the bible but we do get down to more earthly solutions. by talking with congress people, and other state representatives to provide money to get more services to aide the poor and homeless, I even went as far as talking to local employment agencies and getting their views on what to do about ending the homeless situation in their city, we even got in the problems of the economy and how things do effect the poor. alot more than well off people. I even spend a couple of days talking with the homeless. but there is this new attitude with the homeless than years past. most of the homeless have a more positive attitude. and many have no problem with being poor. and many have come to accept poverty as an everyday thing for them. and many have said that they were born poor, so why try to change anything now. well, in many ways I can understand that being born in poverty, things can look hopeless, but a person can come out if they truly put forth alittle effort. but I guess so many people have fallen through the cracks so far down, that they just see no way to pull themselves up. and even though I have been able to bring myself out of the gutter, I still wonder about the many other people who are still beaten down by the pressure of living in poverty. and as I spend my last few hours in bellingham, I hang out by the seaport, and watch all of the boats come in and go out. and as I look over the city from a distance, just about six feet from me is an old homeless man who looks to be about seventy years old and he is playing a flute and dancing to the tunes that he is playing. I am now fifty two years old and I often will ask myself, will I live long enough to see my seventies.