This is the time of year when most of us are making last minute preparations to gather with friends and family to fellowship, exchange gifts, laughter, love and cheer. So much of the time has been spent taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts to get the best deals on creature comforts that in most cases are not necessities, but indulgences.
December 21 was National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. In 2016, in Washington, D.C. alone, 46 persons, ranging in age from 32 to 71 years old died homeless, without dignity, in the long shadow of The United States Capitol and White House. As part of the remembrance, several advocacy groups organized events which included an overnight “Save a Life’ vigil at Freedom Plaza, outreach of clothing and food to those on the streets, and action at the Wilson Building urging Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council Members to pass legislation for more funds to assist citizens without permanent housing in The District. Homeless persons and their supporters, including the interfaith community, marched through downtown with a wooden casket and placards with the names of those who passed this year. There was a Memorial held at The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church that included a solemn roll call of the deceased.
Please, as we feast, laugh and pray with our loved ones, let us take at least one moment to help someone that lives in our community without a permanent home and empty stomach.