21
Mar
11

Please Help Us Help Them!

WE NEED HELP!

One of our friends, Kim Ahern, called the City of Seattle to deal with the constant bedbug problem plaguing her and her family (Jack, age 9 & Tom, age 19) after her landlord continually refused to address the issue.  The City came out and instead of dealing with the bed bugs, the City declared her residence an illegal unit since the landlord had no permission for the residence to be a multifamily home. Kim and her two children were homeless once again.

Since then, Kim has been living with her two sons in a flop-house motel and working odd jobs to scrape by.  Now, Kim wants to return back to California (where her family is) so she can have help with childcare and pursue full-time employment, and stable housing and education for her son Jack.  She has the money for the moving truck and money for rent, but needs money for gas and $599 for the deposit on an apartment.

Can you help us raise money for deposit, gas, and food?

Let me say this…We first met Kim and Jack at Nickelsville and they are awesome! Kim’s a good mom and Jack is a bundle of joy who brings a smile to everyone who interacts with him.

Here is Kim’s story in video and print as profiled by the Seattle Times.

At this link, you will find more of her story and their life in photo as depicted by the Times.

Please help us help them!  We’re already struggling financially this year and simply can’t afford to help them out, but maybe YOU can!

Donate at www.joinone4one.org or send us a check and designate Kim in the memo to:

One4One
14800 1st Ave NE
Shoreline, WA 98155

02
Mar
11

just another night

for those that don’t know…One4One goes out to downtown a few nights a week from 9pm til 3am.  i was writing this email to a team member to give them an update on last night so they’d be updated the next time we went out.  i thought you, the reader, might fit it interesting as well.

last night was awesome.  the first person we met under I5 went around with us person by person and introduced us to everyone.  there was lots of sitting and talking and hugs and handshakes.  one guy who seemed to be relatively new to sleeping outside and had what seemed to be mild retardation kept asking if we were angels and couldn’t believe that we were there sitting and talking to him and would bring all the stuff we brought.  he said he was praying for socks, food, and a bible.  his eyes watered as he asked if we would sign the presentation page of his bible.  i am still chewing as to why, but it is highly important to our friends outside, whether they be from Nickelsville or the streets, that we sing our names in their bible and the date.  maybe it’s handwritten proof that there’s people out there who see them as people and care about them.


scott (the first person we met friday night) was really really excited that we would stop back by again.  even though we assured him we would, it made his day.  he had told mike (the guy that was gone when we were there before) all about us and Mike was psyched to meet us and surprised that what Scott said was true…that we “really would sit down with us and talk with us like people”.

it was a good night…we laughed, we cried; but most importantly we saw people as people…as equals. and in that moment we loved them as best as we could.

30
Dec
10

Of Homelessness and Human Trafficking

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month begins January 1st as officially proclaimed by the President. You’ve probably even got an “Event” invite on Facebook about it. What bothers me is that the President never mentions homelessness.  Of course, why should he when most human trafficking organizations and nonprofits mostly focus on the victims of global sex trafficking, mainly featuring the stories of foreign children.

While that is a real definite need, there’s not a day/night that goes by when I’m out on the streets that I don’t run into someone homeless who is/has been a victim of trafficking.  For them, it’s a constant fear and a reality that looms around every corner.  Yet it’s looked over again and again. I wonder why that is?  Is it easier to focus on the victims whose pictures we see on the internet than it is to focus on the needs of those homeless outside we pass by everyday? We constantly want people to see and hear the stories of the survivors of human trafficking yet we fail to see and hear our neighbors who live on the streets of our city.

The President fails to realize that human slavery is a systemic issue, much like chronic homelessness.  Of course the US government has pledged to end by 2015 and end all other forms of homelessness by 2020.  What a joke.

No wonder he doesn’t talk about poverty and homelessness, after all the government is just gonna solve it all in a few years.
It must make everyone feel better.  This way no one has to worry about it or do anything or see anyone.  After all it’s just stories and statistics.

By the way, you can take my word on it, after all I’m an advocate now, I’ve posted a blog and made a tweet.  That means I really care.  I even bought a t-shirt once.

28
Dec
10

The Story of the Buffalo

For those that have asked why and for those that don’t even know: I’ve got a new tattoo.

As to the why, I leave that to following post from friend Ken Loyd and his awesome blog:

“The ancient buffalo lifted his scarred (metaphorically speaking in the sense of life lived on it’s own terms. Probably no real scars to speak of and besides they would be hidden under really really thick facial hair anyway so you wouldn’t be able to see them even if you wanted to) , grizzled, shaggy, white head and surveyed, through still clear, say, 25/20, eyes, the verdant plain that lolled languidly before him…”

I’m entering a contest to produce the worst first sentence for a book. How’s that one? How can I tweak it to make worse, I mean, reallybad?

There is a story here, though: I once saw a photo of a buffalo taken in the dead of winter in Yellowstone. He (she? How do you tell when the snow up is beyond…well, you know what I mean) had steam pouring from its nostrils, icicles dangling from its beard (beard? A guy! No, they all have beards) and a bad attitude. “I hate this shit,” as it put one foot in front of another. I knew, somehow, in that instant about thirty years ago, that I was that buffalo. Only recently did I discover that in Native American culture that buffalo symbolize safety, strength, spiritual wisdom and guidance.

About two weeks ago, I found myself in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina with a group of some of the most amazing and endearing people I’ve ever met. They were from all over the world and each had accomplished incredible things in the area of Christian ministry. Anytime, anywhere, they gather; I want to be there.

Late in the week, I had an appointment with the Great Leader of this accomplished bunch. It took all the courage I could muster just to show up, but show up I did. He was on the phone but acknowledged my presence with a nod and went into the house through the slider. I sat down in the warm sun on the porch and waited.

After several minutes it began to leak into my consciousness that he wasn’t coming back to be with me. So, mindful meditator that I am (actually, trying to be), eyes closed, I began to breathe in the Buffalo and breathe out the Forgotten Child who lives deep inside. Exhilaration…The Buffalo emerged into my being! Then, slowly, quietly at first, my breathing took on the gulps and gasps of a little boy trying desperately not to cry. Bug-eyed, tears streaming down my cheeks…the Forgotten Child resumed his rightful place in my life-shattered heart.

Was I wronged by a callous man/system with no regard for a little guy from Portland, Oregon? Nope. Scheduling error. We had our time together later. Gracious, kind, wise and warm would accurately describe him. Really tall, too. He showed up and met with the Forgotten Child who, by then, had completed the conquer of my soul.

Life lesson (for me): in that kind of setting the Forgotten Child will always emerge. My past, my brokenness, demand his presence. Will I go back to be with them or people like them? You bet I will! I had no issue with those wonderful people. The issue was mine alone. On the streets of downtown Portland, however, the Buffalo and the Forgotten Child in me walk together with our friends in The Land of Forgotten Children. That’s why it works for all of us.


My friends outside consider me their buffalo.  One of my friends who used to live outside (we’ve since gotten her into a co-housing group for people who were living outside that i helped start) said the following (sic): Well ya got the right tattoo then it suit you to tea……a match made in heaven….and here you are to watch us and be thair when we fall…and don’t know how to get going again…that why god has his angels here for all of us how are lost or not …Yes we have our BBUFFALO

My prayer is that I may live into this statement, and learn to hold the tension between being the buffalo and the Forgotten Child.  Whenever I struggle to keep going and not give up, my wife reminds me of this…of the strength and the love that too often lies hidden inside behind a wall of physical pain, emotional hurts, and spiritual struggles.  My wife sees the tension…she sees me…

This Christmas my wife surprised me with this:

Now if only I could convince myself…

18
Apr
10

POLICE HARASSMENT/BRUTALITY IN SEATTLE

I’m sick of it…

Tonight marked yet another instance of being harassed by police in Pioneer Square.  It is getting to the point where we at ONE4ONE cannot go downtown without being hassled by the police.

Tonight we ran across one of our friends who sleeps outside, Germiah, who is one of the kindest, gentlest men whom I have ever had the privilege of meeting.  Germiah told us that the cops had been hassling him.  No surprise there…  As we were speaking to him, the cops began to shine their mag-light in his face from about 12-15ft away.  Every time he tried to turn they would follow, going out of their way to shine and flash the light on and off in his eyes.  When Ben Curtis, and I gathered up to block the light here they came.  The butted up in between us and postured up, trying to intimidate as they stood with their arms at right angles and hands on their hips, puffing out the chest.  The one officer continued his bullying with the light, now shining it with blinding pinpoint accuracy in the eyes of my friend from only 3ft. away.  The officers confronted us and asked if WE had a problem!!!  “Who did we think we were to try and block the light!”  We informed them that the light was shining directly in our eyes so we turned our backs, blocking it off.  The officer responded that “well, you shouldn’t have done that.  It wasn’t shining in your eyes…just his (referring to Germiah).  We informed them that either way…there’s no reason to be shining the light.  The officers shouted to my friend that he wasn’t allowed to be there and we promptly stepped in insisting that they tell us what the issue was and why had to leave.  The cops seemed surprised, taken aback and finally responded that he had been leaning his back against a window and they had warned him before that he couldn’t do that (despite the numerous club patrons at Pioneer Square doing the same).  According to them since he was now touching the window (maybe 1/3 of his torso was touching the glass as the rest was against the outer lying brick) he had to leave.  We protested and the cops threatened Germiah that he was breaking the law and failing to comply.  Germiah leaned in and asked that we just “let it go” as he “had to sleep out here and fears for [his] safety”.  And then a strange thing happened…for the first time after several incidents, when we asked the cop gave us his name.  Officer Davenport.  Officer Davenport then popped off several snide comments which unfortunately I gave no heed to and do not remember or else you’d be reading them right now.

Being the concerned citizens that we are, we proceeded around the block and back to inform the officers that in front of Jimmy Johns and the Creole restaurant and by two of the clubs, non-homeless people were leaning against windows and “since it was such a high priority and so illegal we just thought they should know”.  They did not move and did not proceed after any of the other “law breakers”, but then again none of the other people were black homeless men.

I’m sick of it…

This is not the first instance.  We have previously been walking down the block only to have a white expedition run the red light on a left-handed turn and drive up the sidewalk.  From the vehicle proceeded 4 vice squad officers with their hands on their guns that ran up and then pinned Ben up against the wall and began dumping out our donations.  One of the officers began to get into face, bumping against me and almost knocking me over.  He was shouting at me to “Get the fuck off the block!  Get out of here motherfucker! Leave now!” I asked repeatedly why they were searching Ben and dumping out our stuff, but they refused to answer.  I asked them for names which they also refused. My only answer was the officer pushing me further and further back, screaming and cursing me.  Finally, the officer who was searching through his wallet came across his identification showing him to be the Dispatch Center Manager for Operation Nightwatch.  All of sudden their demeanor changed.  They picked up the socks and other donations that they had dumped out and then released Ben.  They informed us that they were sorry, but they still did not identify themselves.  The only information they would give is that we looked like drug dealers and they couldn’t understand why a minister would be out in Pioneer Square!  I mean…c’mon!!!  People deal openly in Pioneer Square constantly!  One can walk down the streets and be peddled drugs incessantly, but we look drug dealers?!?  Here I am, in clerical shirt and clerical collar, in a walking boot and on crutches and I look like a drug dealer?  Even if I did, does that give them the right to not identify themselves and to search and detain us without giving reason?!?!  As to cops not understanding why a minister would be downtown at night…that’s another story!

Our conclusion is that this was retribution as we’ve had previous run-ins with the police in Pioneer Square when they have repeatedly tried to run our friends who sleep outside off the square and keep them from sitting down while at the same time allowing the patrons of the clubs loiter around and sit on benches as they feel like.  “Officer we’ll be glad to leave, but unless you tell the other people on the benches and in the park to leave, we’ll be right back.”  Other times the police have come up and demanded to see our friends ID’s.  The look on the officer’s faces is quite the sight to see when we inform our friends outside that they have no legal obligation to show their ID’s and they don’t have to.  Other times the cops have just started searching our friends and going through their belongings without ever giving reason.

I’m sick of it…

Lately the cops have followed us around, and whenever we begin to talk to our friends who are sleeping outside, the cops do their best to interrupt it.  They walk up right next to us and ask “what are you talking about?”.  Or else they tell us that we’re “taking up too much space and blocking the side walk”.  C’mon!  There are three rows of people waiting to get into clubs and we’re on the edge of the sidewalk and n one has come within arm’s length!  The last time the cop stood directly in between us and our friend Edward from the streets and told us that he “wasn’t going to leave until [we] do”!  It was shocking that a cop would come up and wedge himself in the 2ft gap between us for not other reason but to hassle us!

I’m sick of it…

-I’m sick of seeing our friends have their tents and sleeping bags slashed.

-I’m sick of seeing the bumps and bruises from our friends outside who have caught a beating from the cops just because they didn’t hear the cop tell them to wake up and move along.  Or just because they had the audacity to question and talk back to a cop!  Or just because a they were homeless…  By the way…our friends are not arrested.  The cops just beat them and trash their stuff.  No arrests…after all, our friends have not broken the law, they are just homeless.

-I’m sick of hearing stories of police beating our friends and calling them “nigger”.

-I’m sick of police sweeping our friends outside from encampments and not posting any notice and not storing their stuff…just throwing it away.  I recently had one friend outside who was swept at 6th & Yesler whose new laptop was supposedly thrown away because the police deemed it “trash”.  I wonder if the officer is enjoying his new computer?

-I’m sick of police arresting someone who sleeps outside and keeping them sitting on the curb in handcuffs as they joke about “crazy homeless people” for an almost an HOUR with the girls in line for the clubs in attempt to flirt!

-I’m sick of watching police run off our homeless friends from Pioneer Square telling them that it’s illegal to panhandle and they’ll arrest them.

-I’m sick of watching the police in Pioneer Square targeting black homeless man or woman, demanding to see their ID’s and searching them illegally!

Just in the past 3 months we’ve gotten 13 people off the streets.  We are out there making sure people stay safe and dry.  Loving on them, caring about them, and making a difference.  We are out there helping folks get off drugs, helping folks get into treatment, connecting them with services, helping people get in housing, and helping people change their lives.  The police should be working with us, not against us! One4One is freaking social service NPO, and the biggest detriment to us not simply a lack of financing but the police, who are there to protect and serve the community…that is unless you’re homeless…and especially not if you’re black and homeless.

So rest assured that I’ve had my fill.  We will continue to stand for our friends even if no one else will.  In the next few months, I fully expect to be arrested.  I have no desire to go to jail; in fact, I dread it.  But unless people are willing to stand in the gap, unless people are willing to stand and say that this is wrong, our friends outside will continue to suffer.  Their lives are hard enough as it is…why should the police be making it any more difficult?!?  I fear with the new proposed anti “aggressive” panhandling law things will be worse.  More people on the streets will suffer.  I fear for my friends…

I’m sick of it, and I hope you are too.  This has to stop…and suggestions?

“The first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man. Unless he understands that he does not grasp the essential meaning of his life.” -Huey P Newton

19
Dec
09

an old post of my wife’s…get’s me in the Xmas Spirit

This is america

That land that blinds you

The land that lies to you

The country of the brave cooperate industries that make millions of dollars off the presumption that you will not think for yourself

that you will not investigate

that you will not care

that you will not see the beautiful reality of a Savior in your very midst

the american economy that feeds off the millions of “free” americans that stand long lines mindlessly swiping little plastic cards digging their own graves with a smile plastered on their faces

I say no to capitalism. The mindless greedy money hungry obsession of private ownership

I say yes to sharing, community, equality, collective ownership and responsibility. True biblical stewardship.

When will this country stand up and shake of the shackles of lower class, middle class, higher class

The land of money that divides, destroys and leaves its family on the street corners starving, freezing, alone.

As millions of americans allow the commercializing of hallmark to suck their provisions into neatly wrapped gifts under a dying tree. Thousands more sleep under overpasses, with no medical help, no roof, no hope of ever getting a job. Bankrupt, credit destroyed, family abandoned.

As church services suck money for new pianos, better carpet, hundred thousand dollar salaries for pastors. Do you question the sneers on the faces of the poor when you say you are a Christian?

Who is your Savior? Why should he care? His church left me here, where you see me, in my own filth.

I stand under the love of God and say stop. Stop now. Before your children grow up with same ideologies of your parents. Stop now. And make this county free, make our churches free, free our minds. Free our hands to loosen the hymnals of the past –to holding the broken hands of those in desperate need.

We are in a holocaust for souls. infant mortality rising, health care costs rising. america is not the country I read about in my fifth grade history text books.

I was lied to.

But I will not surrender the Jesus I read about in my bible. He is the truth and the salvation of a people, a world, a universe.

and He is here, among us, in our very midst

~j.cross

________________________________

oh yeah, just in case you didn’t know.  my wife is a f’n ROCKSTAR!!!!

24
Oct
09

I need some help…

I have a friend, named Y, who lives on the streets. There is no reason that Y should be living outside, unfortunately she does. I hope this blog will change that. Y has been here 6 months. She has been mostly living in the motels on Aurora or occasionally in a local tent city for the past 6 months.

She is a wonderful, intelligent, woman with a great personality that fills a room with smiles and laughter. She is 39 years old and works part-time at her new job she get this month as an on-call NAC in a nursing home and takes home a little over $1000 a month. She is currently looking for a full-time job or another part-time job that will allow her to get off the streets, but unfortunately her surroundings are serving as an anchor to her. The strip of flop-house motels on Aurora are known as the track…its where one can buy anything from drugs to guns to people. The constant sounds of police sirens and the screams of violence are extremely frightening to this small town southern gal and provide quite a disquieting environment which constantly interrupts her rest keeping her on edge, unable to find the respite that she needs from the odd hours of her on-call job.

Y has two needs:

1. She is looking for a stable room or place to rent with a kitchenette for up to $650 with all utilities included that will be willing to overlook her poor credit score and allow her small pet dog of 6 years to live with her. Y is totally drug-free and has no criminal record and has never been evicted.

2. She is looking for legal immigration help. Y is married to a man from Cameroon. He came here many years ago hoping for political asylum from the current government due to his work as a leader in the opposition party. He and Y spent everything they had on legal fees and lawyers, but after the money ran out they were unable to find anyone who would represent them pro-bono. Unable to find legal aid in their small town, he ended up deported in 2007. She needs someone who will take up her husbands case. She misses him dearly and talks to him daily…

Any suggestions/advice is greatly appreciated.




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