Today, I believe I found my answer: raw, human need and desperation coupled with complete honesty, appreciation and love.
The number of men and women with whom I visited today overwhelmed me.
I noticed a common theme again in their requests of me:
"Where can I find work?"
"Where can I find a place to live?"
"May I have a bag of chips?"
"May I have a bottle of water?"
Two other almost universal observations:
Everyone took pride in their attire. One man apologized incessantly about how dirty his clothes were. And, he was careful to explain why. I mean, on the street and concerned for one's appearance. All of us want to do the best we can, don't we?
Everyone was glad to see me.
"Man, where you been?" was a common question, as I've been out of place the last two weeks.
"Man, the new place is lookin' good! When will it open?" people observed the Opportunity Center across the street.
I returned to my office for a meeting and a conference call wrung out with the emotion of the people, the people who call me to cut through the stupid, ill-informed barriers to a better way of responding to such overwhelming human need.
The touch, the words, the embraces, the smiles, the fist bumps of the people set me to dreaming about our next steps.
We need a business plan to start a company that employs these friends of mine. There is a wealth of ability, energy and resting capacity on this corner that needs to be unleashed in honest labor.
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Rising from Ashes
Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
Today and throughout 2013, we need your support to continue our life-changing work in inner-city Dallas. Every day hundreds of our wonderful neighbors arrive at our doors seeking our assistance, offering their help and prepared to pursue a better life. Frankly, the folks we "serve" make essential contributions to the scope, nature and soul of the work we attempt. At CitySquare we honor and recognize the amazing value and richness of our low-income neighbors. During 2012, almost 55,000 different people received the benefit of our wide-ranging services designed to assist in the process of building better lives. We need your help TODAY as we continue to respond to the needs of our community. Even more, we need you to become our PARTNER in the work of compassion and community renewal--work that continues day after day at CitySquare.