Note from the author: I wrote this to elevate the conversation about homelessness in D.C. I want people to get angry over this issue and stop acting as if it is not going on.
Who’s on the front lines risking their life? Most people might think of doctors, nurses and delivery drivers but I think of people who are homeless. Most of them here are people of color. We are being hit hard. We didn’t ask to be on the front lines. We were volunteered. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is a fact. Homeward DC reports that D.C. used to be a “chocolate city.” If you don’t believe me check it out for yourself. In 1970, over 70% of D.C. residents were Black. By 2015 the number dropped to 48%. I’m thinking every Black person should get a medal of honor. Every day, we are fighting a war we don’t want to be in. I understand the anger a lot of people have, and I know love because of anger. I don’t want to be angry. But we’ve all been marked with the seven deadly sins of envy, lust, greed, sloth, gluttony, wrath and pride. My beautiful Black people are suffering with wrath. It’s okay, but it’s not okay.
You know you are on the ground and sleeping in corners! Never forget, you are people!
You are fighting for a cause you think you can win, all you’re doing is living, but it seems like you have no life or fight within.
Let me explain, I’m homeless. I’m not looking down on anyone. I want answers. I came though McPherson Square and was devastated. I just want to make you see there are different ways to look at this. Is it a political statement not to get help?
If you can, so is it a political statement to deny yourself a better way to live? You have the right to scream, so do it. You have the right to write, so do it.
I don’t understand how sleeping in that park was a happy place for anyone. I was so sad looking at tent city. It was not a place for my kings and queens. When did it become okay to have people outside with rats running around their heads? If you lived in a house that was condemned,you would be relocated by the city, so why is McPherson Square any different?
People in power should be ashamed. I’m not going to name names, but if you care so much about Washington, D.C. looking beautiful, why don’t you take care of the people who live here?
I feel as though a lot of politicians just don’t want Black people to grow. We are a strong race. I love my beautiful Black brethren. D.C. is not going to be beautiful until my beautiful people are off the streets.
This situation with the park didn’t happen overnight. Do you see where the park is located? Are there people at the White House pulling the curtains back every day saying “I just love this view, it’s beautiful”?
People lose their wits when they don’t interact with others. Keeping to yourself slows down your wits, and you tend to go in your own head. And that can be misconstrued as having a mental illness. People have the right to be in a healthy environment. When you read this article, I would like you to know these are my feelings and they come from my life experience. If you agree or disagree with me you can always contact me through the newspaper at [email protected].
Remember kindness is a good thing. We all can show it. Some of us choose not to. Watch out, one day you may be on the ground sleeping in front of your favorite store too, waiting for a blanket, food and toiletries.
Nikila Smith is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.