When I first moved here, I was asking a girl I worked with (who had also recently moved from Southern California) how she liked living in San Francisco, preparing for her to say she loved it. She said she did like it, but she and her recently wedded husband of a year said they couldn't get over one thing: the homeless people. When I heard her say that I thought to myself...why would that bother you SO much? Enough for you to mention to me. I didn't get it. I mean, back home there are barely any homeless people unless you drift off to the slums of L.A. which I rarely did while living there. But today, I realized what she meant.
A proposition was passed a couple days ago. One that I honestly thought nobody would vote to pass. There were protests and news coverage all over the controversy by people who thought it was unfair. Proposition L would make it so the 7,000-10,000 homeless people in SF would be prohibited to sit/lay on the sidewalk. Well, not just homeless people, but they are the ones most affected. People say they are harassed by them on sidewalks, which in some cases are true. One street in particular you can't walk on without a guy saying something degrading and inappropriate as a way of hitting on you. But come on! This law is absolutely ridiculous. Where are these people supposed to go? They don't have a home, they don't have anything...and now we are taking the SIDEWALK away from them? Seriously...I still can't believe this was passed because everyone I know did not want it to which is saying a lot coming from people who deal with walking around them on a daily basis. I have yet to feel threatened by any. They literally just sit there and don't harm anyone and collect a few coins a day. It just makes me sad people are so selfish and don't like seeing people worse off than them obstructing their daily routes.
But anyway, today was the first day I saw how this law affected these people since I work downtown where a LOT of them were on the sidewalks since it is a very upper class street where rich people often give them money. It's funny because people passed it in hopes they would just disappear and not be bothered by them, when now they just ride muni (which we ALL take), and walk around sidewalks instead (which is more stalker-ish right?). But aside from that, these people have the saddest expressions I have ever seen on a face. Today was the first day I realized what my friend was warning me about when I first moved here. Usually, I just walk past them and try and ignore the looks of defeat because it really is depressing. But now, they just look empty. They look like they have nothing to live for and they are tired of trying and having everything taken away from them. You can just see the pain in their eyes. You can sense that they just want the day to be over, but is scared for a new one to begin. On my 40 minute bus ride, I just observed these faces. They had all of their belongings with them, some with an instrument, some with tents, and some with nothing. They all looked like they had nowhere to be. They were just on this bus because they have had everything stripped, including a freaking sidewalk. I literally can't explain the looks on their faces. One guy I was watching while we were at a light for awhile. He was walking on the sidewalk with his head down, no belongings at all, and he would just stop after every 20 steps. And do nothing. Just stop with his head down. And he'd do it again. He just looked SO sad I literally had to look away to not cry.
After today, I realized if I ever become rich, I want to help these people. I've always had the selfish attitude of "well, they are too lazy to get a job and get back on their feet, and they'll just buy drugs with the money...etc." And yes, some are/will. But honestly, if you had absolutely nothing, how would you get a job? You have no computer to type a resume let alone research who is hiring, no clean clothes, no transportation for the most part... no wonder they just look defeated. I couldn't help but wonder how they got to that place. Every person, I just tried to figure out their story. Were they tired of living by their parents rules and just moved out before they could think about it? Were they veterans? Did they lose their job due to the economy? I don't know, it just made me in a weird mood all day. You can't help but wonder what they could offer the world if they weren't in that position.
But this video is literally the most inspiring video for these people. It is one of the best music videos and lyrics I just wish I could show every person struggling because it makes you smile no matter what. Ryan Star made it especially for people who lost their jobs because of the economy. Please watch it, it will make your day.