Through the Lens of Privilege
April 16, 2018
Today's thoughts...I am privileged.
Today, like every day, I will have a bed to sleep in, a meal that fills me, clothes to cover me, and shoes to protect my feet. For me, these things are a given, and I haven’t spent a ton of time thinking about what life would be like without them. I’m fortunate to have never faced a situation that caused me to go without these basic necessities.
I sit here writing humbled, and frankly embarrassed, that I’ve been blind to this problem right here in my own community for so long. I never really thought about what it would be like to not have a place to live, to not know where my next meal was coming from, or to have the flu and be sleeping under a bridge. I’ve stereotyped people facing hard times to feel better about ignoring them, because it’s easier to pretend the problem doesn’t exist.
Now, I can tell you I think differently.
Now I know that many of the people who rely on homeless shelters for a safe place to sleep at night and a warm meal have a job. Homeless does not equal jobless.
Now I know that over 70% of homeless have some sort of mental or psychological challenge.
Now I know that 25% are under the age of 27, and that homelessness happens to whole families.
Now I know that roughly 20% of people seeking shelter are victims of domestic violence.
These are real people who deserve dignity and respect.
Through this process I've realized two things. First, I need to remember to be grateful for all I have. Second, I should be more aware of the problems facing my own community. I don’t have to donate money or time (although it would help), but helping to create awareness is a step in the right direction.