I'm venturing far off the normal path for Thrifty Soul today to speak out against something I believe deeply. I ask that you all please take a moment to read this and add yourself to the voices that are speaking out.
Everyone loves the Olympics, right?? Everyone, regardless where you are from, has at least heard of the Olympics, right? And now, each of us need to stand up and do what is right regarding the Olympics. The Olympics in 2012 will be held in London. As a result, lawmakers are attempting to pass new laws in an attempt to give a false image of the area. For example, some of the laws state:
"No person shall lie down or sleep in or on any public place."
"No person shall distribute any free refreshment in or on any public place."
"No person shall knowingly permit any person to distribute any free refreshment in or on any public place."
The legislatures responsible for these laws are passing them under the pretenses of helping the homeless. At this point in time, homeless people in the area benefit from "soup runs" where they have much needed nourishment provided to them for free. The concept is, if you stop providing much needed nourishment to homeless people in one area, they'll all leave and move to another area. (segregation???) I mean seriously, who wants to see a bunch of homeless people laying around when you're there to watch the Olympics?
Yet, lets look at everyone this affects. Let's say you are walking down the street in the area where this is to be banned. You see a single mother with three children. She looks tired and worn, yet still manages to smile when she speaks to others and her children. You can tell that she hasn't much money and you decide to go get each of the children an ice cream cone and give it to them. Oh, but wait.....you can't do that. The laws clearly state:
“refreshments” includes food or drink"
"refreshments are “free” if they are distributed without charge to the persons to whom they are distributed."
Maybe a nice gentleman holds the door for you and then has a seat nearby. You decide to give him a cup of coffee.....but wait, can't do that either.
Maybe you, like me, have health problems. Walking puts you in pain, sometimes so much pain that you need to lie down a few moments before proceeding. You find a bench that is empty, and proceed to stretch out, getting a few minutes of relief from the pain throbbing in your back. Oh wait....you can't do that either, it's illegal!!!
How about you men? Here you are, and your wife is shopping. We all know how long some women can take shopping!! You sit down, stretch out your legs, pull your hat down over your eyes, and decide to nap until she finishes. Ohhhhh....you can't do that either!!! It's illegal!!
Let's put yourself in someone else's shoes now. You've worked hard your entire life. You have always been self sufficient and paid for everything yourself. You never got anything on credit, likeing the feeling you got when making your purchases in cash. You had a secure, happy, confident life. Then your company went under. Through no fault of your own, you ended up unemployed in an economy that has no jobs available. You did fine until your savings ran out. Then you started to sell your belongings. When all was gone, you had no choice but to sleep on the streets. Your friends were all from the same company and ended up in similar circumstances. Though some had family to move in with and help, others were like you.....with no family nearby. The first night you ended up with nowhere to sleep, you walked for hours in disbelief. How did you end up here? What were you going to do? Sleep finally overcame you after the 2nd night you walked for hours. You sat down in an alcove to be protected from the rain. You only planned to stop a few minutes and rest, but sleep overcame you and you fell asleep. Just a few hours and you could be back up and on your way.....looking for work.....looking for ways just to survive......trying to figure out how to feed your stomach that rumbled and hurt with hunger. But wait.......you can stop and rest here, it's illegal. And the people who used to come and reach out to the homeless by offering them a meal are no longer allowed to. You'll remain hungry. Chances are you'll get fined before someone comes to let you know where you can go for food..........if you can walk that far as hungry and weak as you are. You see, homeless people aren't allowed in this part of town. They've been segregated to other places. Homeless people can't get help here...........the Olympics are coming and we don't want people to see the likes of you.
The Olympics are coming to London. Tons of people and businesses will flood the area, bringing in money and resources to the area. How easy it would be for the legislatures to use the Olympics to heighten awareness of homelessness. How easy it would be for the legislatures to use this as an opportunity to encourage others to reach out to help the homeless. Yet, instead, Westminster wants to run all the homeless people out and pretend that there are no homeless in Westminster.
Yet, you know the truth now. When you purchase that Tshirt that says "Olympics 2012" on it, will you think about the homeless that are being run out? Will you think about how if you were there, you couldn't offer a hungry man a meal....or children of lesser means ice cream? When you pick up that "Olympic 2012" ball cap, will you think about how ludicrous it is that a man waiting on his husband to finish shopping will be fined if he naps while waiting?
What if it were you? Show your compassion. Speak your thoughts on the matter b:
Print and fill out the consultation letter at the link below and mail it to: Alastiar Reeves: Rough Sleeping Team, Westminster City Council, Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6PQ
You can send an email to Alastiar Reeves stating that you disagree and why at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can call and voice your opinion by phone at 020 7641 2254
Link to letter to print and mail:
Link to the Law:
I please with each of you, contact regarding this matter. People can make a difference. Don't tell me that it doesn't affect you because you live elsewhere. This happens everywhere, every day!! It happens here in America. Just ask anyone whose been homeless......ask me!! Christ came here to let us know it's not our place to judge......it's our place to love.