Homeless Memorial Day 1995

     On December 21, Cleveland's 9th annual Homeless Candlelight Vigil was held at noon in front of Tower City. The vigil was held as a means of drawing attention to the problem of homelessness in Cleveland and throughout the country. It also served as a reminder of those who have died living on the streets. The bitter cold gave the non-homeless participants a small taste of what the homeless must endure day after day.
     There were approximately sixty people in attendance as a diversified group of speakers took the stage to speak out against homelessness. Among the speakers were state representative Jane Campbell, Grapevine vendor and former homeless person Angelo Anderson and the Reverend Marvin McMickle who questioned the priorities of a city that is paying an excessive amount of attention to the Browns and Indians while there are currently people with no home. The last speaker was poet and activist Julia Brown who delivered an impassioned plea to reach out to the less fortunate and to remember that the reason we're in a more fortunate position is because we've had someone who cared about us.

 At the dawn of each day
I roam, I search, but opportunity has no entrance
My trials, bellows, and tribulations
so who cares?
By noon I wait nothing emerges
by night I lie in the still of the cold caressing the earth for warmth
they see, and know
  Do they even remember?
even my contribution
to this so-called humane world
when I was - I did,
when I could, I accomplished
It doesn't even matter now
it only had meaning then
Why, do they not come
Rushing to the aid
of an unknown land
   While right here in your view
I need, not desire
Why the blinded eyes?
Overlooking political truth
of How the Land of Free think
How the Home of the Brave
How do I respond to this neglect
of necessity ?
Opportunity where are you ?
Hope for tomorrow - will you arrive ?
  Yesterdays all behind me
And today I seek
A place like you
To lie my head and rest peacefully ,
in warmth, and in shelter.
Yet, Homeless, I remain

Julia A. Brown

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1996 Issue 13