Each of us has a responsibility to help each other

Photo of a hiring sign attached to a building

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Hello Street Sense Media reading fans! And may I not forget my fellow staff members:  editors, vendors, volunteers, management, and founders.   

This organization is exempt from what I’m about to tell you, because it provides me and others the opportunity to work. But too many places of business in this area do the opposite. They deny motivated people opportunities and neglect or ignore the poverties that exist among our many homeless neighbors and our many more poor and working class fellow D.C. residents. 

At present I am working in a computer lab that is helping me learn skills I need. There are others working and learning in this class with.These are people with a positive outlook, with plans to learn and earn their way out of poverty and pass on what they have learned as they move into society, to enlighten and motivate the communities they will live in. While these homeless people are thinking about how they can strengthen and support their communities. I don’t see enough communities thinking about how they can strengthen and support these homeless people. 

As I write this, I consider both the news on television and what I’ve experienced firsthand.  

All the local business that we as minorities used to own are now shutting us out. I’m not afraid to name a few I know to have neglected minorities by denying opportunities to and others I know or have met. Nando’s restaurant, for one. I applied for a dishwashing position that was available at the time I walked through the door. I was given an interview on the spot and did some work with no pay to show and prove myself. Yet despite my persistence, I was given the runaround. The manager said he didn’t have time to ask the other employer about me and my performance after three different days. Now, if I don’t meet the qualifications or don’t do a good job, that’s on me. And we can be honest about it. But if you give me a patronizing chance of getting the job, and ask me to work for free to qualify for that job, only to make up excuses and never give me a straight answer, that’s cowardly.  

This was demoralizing, but still persisted. I suspect Nando’s hired a person of a different skin tone. The same has happened to me with McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Wendy’s.  

The United States is supposed to be the land of the free. And you have to respect us minorities, especially our past fathers and grandfathers who built this country. We do what it takes to survive here, whether it’s shining shoes, picking up groceries, selling, or whatever. As an African American, I know where I came from and I work hard to do the right thing and live right. 

I ask you all that read this newspaper… do you support restaurants that shy away from providing equal opportunities and deny support to people who want to work and help themselves? If you were hiring, would you respect men and women who are homeless that applied for your job? Life is very stressful and difficult to watch. It can be destroyed by nothing more than  neglect. So, just  making it from day to day, with the blessings of our Creator, is a gift of an opportunity to make the best of our time on this earth.  

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We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.