ISSUE #8 Your donation directly benefits the vendor. Please only buy from badged vendors.
“I got dreams, and they’re bigger than this” John Mellencamp on Toledo, music, and progress, page 6
SE Michigan farmer Civil Rights Pioneer, page 3
10/10/10 is World Homeless Day, page 3
Poetry, page 5
Pantry receives grant, page 7
Streetvibes boycotts own award, page 4
Because 1Matters, page 4
Living Faith, page 9 Hoboscopes/Sudoku, page 11
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Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
John Mellencamp’s generosity and a few lessons on change Amanda F. Moore, Managing Editor We’d like to thank you for purchasing this copy of Toledo Streets. We hope you’re enjoying it and discovering a new facet of your community. Please continue to support our vendors when you get the chance. For other ways to support them and the paper, contact us or visit our website for more details. Toledo Streets is a monthly publication called a street paper. We are part of a worldwide movement of street papers that seeks to provide simple economic opportunities to homeless individuals and those experiencing poverty. Our vendors purchase each paper for 30¢, and ask for a dollar donation. In exchange for their time and effort in selling the paper, they keep the difference. They are asking for a handup, not a hand out. By purchasing this paper, you have helped someone struggling to make it. Not just in terms of money, but also in the dignity of doing something for themselves. Many thanks again! We are a non-profit organization operating under a 501(c)3 fiscal agent. This means that any donations made to us c/o 1Matters.org (our fiscal agent) are tax deductible - not to mention greatly appreciated. Our mission is to empower individuals struggling with extreme poverty to participate on a new level in the community through self-employment, job training, and contributorship.
www.toledostreets.org 419.825.NEWS (6397) facebook.com/toledostreets twitter.com/toledostreets Toledo Streets is a member of both the NASNA and INSP, organizations dedicated to developing and overseeing the best practices of street papers.
he volunteer team of Toledo Streets is freshly home from the 2010 North American Street Newspaper Association conference in Chicago, IL. Overall, the trip was invigorating – we learned a lot, and brought back some great ideas to improve the paper and the program (you may have noticed a small design change?). The experience also provided a couple lessons on the importance of communication and the mistake of underestimating community. Interesting how both those key words start out with the same seven letters. I mention this because, for this issue, we have been given a great gift: An exclusive interview with John Mellencamp, who is the inspiration for 1Matters, the fiscal agent and funding partner of Toledo Streets. Mellencamp’s 2007 visit to Tent City left a deep impression on John, Ken Leslie
(founder of 1Matters), and many of the unhoused guests of Tent City who were given tickets to Mellencamp’s concert, and spoken to by John from the stage during the concert. John was very open during his interview with Ken (page 6), and I think you’ll find the piece to be entertaining and full of the spirit of Mellencamp’s 25-year commitment to making a difference for everyone – because every one matters. Ken’s accompanying editorial, Because 1Matters (page 4), expounds on John’s, and our, hopes this interview and the other things Mellencamp has done for us (“Inaugural World Homeless Day is 10/10/10”, page 3) will aid us – 1Matters, Toledo Streets, other street papers around the world, and the Toledo area unhoused community – in our common mission to see each individual realize they matter. That they can change their own life, it just takes time, hard work, and support.
You’re now a part of a local, social microenterprise program. It’s simple...
We are deeply thankful for John and his team, who all share his compassion. While I think he’s right in that people in general “give up too early”, I’d have to say that Toledo has proven it has a lot of fight left, a lot of heart for its neighbor. While the aftermath of the tornadoes on June 5th and 6th brought with them extra heartbreak (“Living Faith: Spectators and tourists”, page 9), it also brought an opportunity for Toledo to show the world just how generous and strong our community is. When push comes to shove, we all know every one matters, and that… THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SMALL CHANGE.
Cover image: Todd Gagné
Vendor pays 30¢ for each paper, and profits 70¢ from your $1.
Vendor code of conduct
hile Toledo Streets is a non-profit, and paper vendors are considered contracted self-employers, we still have expectations of how vendors should conduct themselves while selling and representing the paper. The following list is our Vendor Code of Conduct, which every vendor reads through and signs before receiving a badge and papers. This Code is also printed on the back of each badge. We request that if you discover a vendor violating any tenents of the Code, please contact us and provide as many details as possible. Our paper and our vendors should be positively impacting the city. All vendors must agree to the following code of conduct: • Toledo Streets will be distributed for a voluntary donation of $1. I agree not to ask for more or less than
a dollar or solicit donations for Toledo Streets by any other means. • I will only purchase the paper from Toledo Streets staff and will not sell papers to other vendors (outside of the office volunteers). • I agree to treat all others— customers, staff, other vendors— respectfully, and I will not “hard sell,” threaten or pressure customers. • I agree to stay off private property when selling Toledo Streets. • I understand I am not a legal employee of Toledo Streets but a contracted worker responsible for my own well-being and income. • I agree to not sell any additional goods or products when selling the
paper. • I will not sell Toledo Streets under the influence of drugs or alcohol. • There are no territories among vendors. I will respect the space of other vendors, particularly the space of vendors who have been at a spot longer. • I understand my badge is the property of Toledo Streets and will not deface it. I will present my badge when purchasing the papers and display my badge when selling papers. • I understand Toledo Streets strives to be a paper that covers homelessness and poverty issues while providing a source of income for the homeless. I will try to help in this effort and spread the word.
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Inaugural World Homeless Day is 10/10/10 Dominic Mapstone
here seems to be an international day for this or that all the time. Sometimes even an entire week or month is devoted to focusing our attention on an issue or group of people in need. But there hasn’t been an international day focusing on homelessness... until now. World Homeless Day, a worldwide collaborative effort that has just been announced, will henceforth be held on the 10th day of October every year. This year it happens to fall on the date 10/10/10 which is a nice little hook for the media. So what should or could be done on this day? Seriously, I’m asking you, as the day is there for you to use as you see fit to affect change and make a difference in the lives of homeless people. To answer questions that might be springing to mind, the idea emerged during discussions amongst members of the World Homeless Forum, where I serve as an administrator. And don’t worry that it won’t catch on—already, groups in more than 50 countries are making plans for the day, barely a month after the idea was unveiled. We all know these international days of something or other come and go, but I’ve learned after talking to some of the organizers of other recognized days that, for groups that take advantage, the days can be very powerful in terms of fundraising, awareness-raising and garnering significant political power. There is no prescriptive call to action, like everyone light a candle and hold hands or some rubbish like
that. World Homeless Day is a gift to the homeless sector and everyone in it to use in any way they want locally, providing the opportunity to point to something larger internationally and draw strength from that. If you are part of a charity, considering taking advantage of this concept to gain connections with members of the community that you don’t have already. For example, World Homeless Day is the perfect excuse to contact a local school, church or service club like Rotary. Contact them, offer guest speaking opportunities and suggest partnering to raise money. Politicians can be encouraged to release new funds or proposals on the day or to acknowledge the good work already being done by people and organizations in their city or state. In some countries, 10/10 is already being planned as a benchmark day each year to note progress. It should be noted that, to date, current and formerly unhoused people have done more than anyone else housed or working in the sector to promote World Homeless Day and encourage charities to become involved. Editor’s Note: Toledo’s World Homeless Day is being coordinated by Amanda Moore, who is currently organizing area service providers and volunteers for a variety of events. See below for some specific activities planned for the greater Toledo area. Anyone wishing to volunteer or offer ideas on how to make Toledo’s World Homeless Day unique is encouraged to contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.1010toledo.org. ts
10/10/10 in Toledo Some of the ideas under development for World Homeless Day in the Toledo area are: • 10 Facts About Homelessness Sheet • 10 Myths About Homelessness Sheet • Video PSA’s - celebrities ( John Mellencamp, TBA, local) and more - for worldwide distribution and use • Speaker’s Bureau available for engagements, made up of current and formerly unhoused persons, staff and volunteers of service providers, etc. • Evening Service on 10/10/10 - details TBA To get involved and stay connected, visit
Farming in the city:
Southeast Michigan farmer was Civil Rights pioneer
William James O’Fahey
Image: Public Domain, frontispiece of Elizabeth Margarent Chandler, The Poetic Works (1836)
lizabeth Margaret Chandler was the first woman writer in America to make the abolition of slavery her chief theme. In her short life of twenty-six years (1807 – 1834), Chandler gained notoriety as a poet and was invited by publisher Benjamin Lundy to write for his journal, The Genius of Universal Emancipation. Lundy’s offer came after he read Chandler’s poem, “The Slave Ship”, a sympathetic and emotional portrayal of the nobility of the slave. Five years after Chandler’s death, the theme of the abolition of slavery became ubiquitous, after the trail of Africans from the schooner Amistad. The institutional roots of oppression were manifest in the saga of the Amistad (1839). After a revolt by kidnapped Africans who had been sold as slaves in Cuba, and a shipboard mutiny in which the ship’s captain and a cook were killed, the ship wandered the seas of the U.S. eastern seaboard for weeks until it was boarded and seized by the U.S. Navy. The subsequent trial of the fifty captives, which included four children, helped ignite the abolitionist movement in the U.S. The trial also revealed the matrix of control that existed from the Lomboko Harbor Slave Prison in the Mendi Country of
present-day Sierra Leona to Havana, Cuba’s slave markets and plantations, and throughout the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The hypocrisy of outlawing the importation of slaves from Africa while permitting the sale and continued enslavement of Africans already in America was coupled with the outright violation of the laws prohibiting the import of new African slaves (in the Amistad case). In the book, The Amistad Slave Revolt, author Karen Zeinert writes, “Abolitionists used the spirit of reform and religious zeal of the day to further their cause. They argued that slavery, besides being a sin, was one of the sources of hatred and violence in American society. Therefore until slavery was abolished, society could never really be improved, let alone pleasing in God’s sight.” Quaker Roots Chandler was born to a Quaker family in Delaware in 1807, and, after the deaths of both her parents, she and her brothers were raised by their grandmother in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended a Quaker school and there developed her antislavery sentiments. During Chandler’s lifetime she was, along with other Quakers and abolitionists, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness”. In 1830, Elizabeth moved with her brother and her aunt to the frontier territory of Michigan. Her brother, Thomas Chandler, purchased land near Tecumseh in Lenawee county, about sixty miles southwest of Detroit, in order to start a farm. They called the place “Hazelbank”. “…from this, her quiet and secluded retreat, emanated some of the choicest productions of her pen.” - Benjamin Lundy Elizabeth’s life was marked by a number of literary achievements that can only be described as impressive, given the virtual invisibility of women in the field at that time. In Michigan, she contributed regularly to Lundy’s journal as editor of the “Ladies’ Repository” section.
“Pioneer” continued on page 8
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
‘Streetvibes’ boycotts its own award Ken Leslie
Ken Leslie listens as John Mellencamp replies to a question. Photo: Todd Gagné
Oh, but ain’t this McMerica, you and me? Ain’t this McMerica, sidewalks to see, baby. ‘Cause ain’t this McMerica, home of the FEE… Little pink SHELTERS for you and me.
merica has become an insatiable nation of “more.” But “more” is never quite enough. How much money does a company need to make next quarter? More! Always “more!” Extrapolate that. Where will it end? McBusiness has abandoned all moral decency, ravaging the American Dream, all in the search for “more.” The mentality of McBusiness in the last two decades would have sounded something like this, if they had ever dared to say it out loud: “Hey boss, I have an idea. Let’s give the masses a ton of money they don’t need and probably cannot repay. We will just tell them to take our money and buy something really nice that they can’t afford with it. They will have to pay us a monthly fee to use the money. Check this part out, boss: then we can sell their loan that they cannot repay to some other sucker. We will make money both ways! Cha-freaking-ching!” Then the whole house of cards (housing) toppled over, and tens of thousands of American families got chewed up and spit out, losing their domestic autonomy and ending up on the streets and in the shelters. How many families are on the streets? More.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, because of foreclosures and job losses, the number of families on the streets and in shelters is up 30%. The unhoused of today is the same family who lived right next door to you yesterday. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, for the McMusic business, the pursuit of “more” goes on as usual. Committees come together to create “pop songs,” short for “popular songs,” which are then recorded and overdubbed on 100 plus audio tracks. “More cowbell!” Ignoring the critics (people who don’t like what you do with your time, your money, and your effort); there is a small cadre of musicians who don’t write those formulaic songs. John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Eddie Vetter, Crystal Bowersox, and a few others come quickly to mind. These musicians write about truth, and sometimes the truth about the other side of McMerica is really in darkness. Certainly, this dark truth is the last thing McBusiness wants the masses to hear, due to the risk of it becoming “popular.” These musicians don’t give crap about the popularity or the money! They will write about the truth they see, as it is. Throughout John Mellencamp’s entire career, he has written about the “injustice for all” wherever he saw it. But this man has not just written about injustice; no, he has “Because” continued on page 8
he Cincinnati Human Relations Commission announced it would present an award to Streetvibes on July 26 for giving job opportunities to people who have disabilities. But Streetvibes declined to attend the award presentation because it was on Fountain Square, where vendors are prohibited from distributing the newspaper. “If our vendors aren’t welcome on Fountain Square, the staff and volunteers don’t want to be there either,” said Gregory Flannery, Streetvibes’ editor. The Human Relations Commission held a four-celebration July 26 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The federal law forbids discrimination in hiring practices and requires public facilities to be accessible to people who have disabilities. Speakers included U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) and City Manager Milton Dohoney. Streetvibes is an employment system for homeless and other lowincome people. Vendors, some with physical or emotional disabilities, purchase copies of the paper for 25 cents each and offer them for a donation of $1. The Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) manages Fountain Square under a contract with the city. A city ordinance and 3CDC rules effectively forbid Streetvibes vendors from distributing the paper on Fountain Square, according to Kelly Leon, spokeswoman for 3CDC. Flannery says he questions the constitutionality of any ban on distributing a newspaper on public property. He also points to a 2002 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court throwing out an ordinance that banned religious displays on Fountain Square. Justice Paul Stevens cited “the square’s historic character as a public forum.” “I doubt that 3CDC’s rules trump a Supreme Court ruling or the First Amendment,” Flannery says. “Fountain Square is a public forum. How can the city of Cincinnati ban a newspaper from a public forum?” Flannery says efforts to get 3CDC and the city to allow Streetvibes vendors to work on the square have so far been fruitless. Leon directed him to call the city solicitor’s office, which didn’t answer phone calls or an e-mail, he said.
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Poetry The Great Earthquake of Toledo, Ohio, and the Ensuing Fire that Never Was, But May as Well Have Been, as Set in the Late 20th Century When I look at old pictures of downtown Toledo, listen to the stories, consider the memories, I become morose.
Streetvibes can’t be distributed on Fountain Square. Art by Anne Skove.
Last week, on the paper’s behalf, attorney William Gallagher wrote to the city solicitor. “I write this to you hoping you will take steps to remove a practice that strikes me as unfair and many as unconstitutional. … 3CDC permits corporations to make money on the square on a regular basis by selling food, drinks and products,” Gallagher wrote. “It permits CityBeat to distribute daily its newspaper on the square. The Enquirer is immediately accessible to someone on the square. However, members of our community who are struggling to find shelter, food and stability are denied an opportunity to sell a newspaper on public property by a private corporation allegedly working in the city’s interests.” Flannery says he hopes the matter can be resolved without the need for further litigation against the city. Streetvibes is published by the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, which filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the city last month. At issue in that case is a city regulation that requires homeless shelters to take action against residents who panhandle. If the Human Relations Commission presents the award to Streetvibes anywhere besides Fountain Square, the paper will be glad to receive it, according to Flannery. “The 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act is an occasion worthy of celebration,” he says. “But to offer an award for our work with vendors at a location where they are unwelcome - prohibited by law - is insensitive at best and hypocritical at worst.” Originally published by Streetvibes.
I think of the once vibrant life, the living, pulsating heart of a central crossroads of America, countered with the decaying official attitudes, the urban denial of the interstate highway system, the clear-cutting of our historical central business district, the saturated bombing of the very civilization our parents once knew. What we were able to avoid during WWII on this continent, has since been achieved by our short-sighted city fathers, on the back of the very citizens they were sworn to protect. Our heritage has filled out landfills. To cherish the lives of our ancestors we obliterate all notions that they ever existed and create sterile concrete bunkers without the soul of a lowly earthworm and predestine our succeeding generations to await the great eathquake and fire that they will never believe hadn’t already happened. Dennis Doblinger
For Dr. Brundage I. The black forged iron hearth is the chief object and space within a Michigan frontier cabin. And though a primitive, wood-burning appliance, this black iron stove makes possible any baking, clothes-washing, bathing, drying of linen or herb, and ambient warming that will ever occasion in such a wooden cabin. There is no pot or skillet, no washtub or clothesline, no barbed wire or swinging gate, no tumbler lock or sparking torch that hold such imperative and importance as a black forged iron wood-burning stove. William James O’Fahey
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
“I got dreams and they’re bigger than this”
Spectators and tourists
John Mellencamp talks to the streets
Ken Leslie I got dreams And they’re bigger than this - The West End -
table. He looked at me and he went like, “Really, Dad?” And I said, “What do you mean, ‘Really Dad’, I smoke all the time?” And he said, “Yeah but it’s Thanksgiving, I’m not done eating.” I said “OK, I’ll go somewhere else; it’s a big house.” So I went into another room. A couple hours later he walks up and said, ”Hey Dad, if I get a million people to sign up on Facebook would you stop smoking?” And I said, “Yeah, go ahead.” That was the end of the conversation. By the time the thing had started, ya know, a couple weeks into it, Larry King wanted him to come on, Good Morning America asked him, and of course I wouldn’t let him go on anywhere. First of all, I don’t want him talking about my bad habits; and second of all, ya know, I knew he’d reach his mark.
o most people the “homeless” are nothing more than vague faces of poverty reflected in the mirror of a society afraid to even look, much less help. Over a career spanning 25 albums John Mellencamp has written about who he is. Then, more importantly, John Mellencamp has always walked his talk. This is called integrity. Thrust into superstar status by the music machine in the 80’s, he got a taste of the soulless part of the music business. So he said “Whoa, screw that! That’s not who I am, ‘Cougar’ out!” Rejecting this money-making machine, his walk tells us he cares more about people than money. He has always worked for those without a voice. Everyone matters! That’s why John did this interview. There were no conditions for this interview, nor the pubic service announcements for 1Matters and World Homeless Day, October 10th. None. He literally said, “I will do what ever you need.” Complete unconditional trust. Why here instead of the mainstream press which would have garnered much more publicity? His single and absolute intent here is to talk to those in the middle of the struggle directly. His hope is vendors of street papers worldwide, having an exclusive interview no one else has, will achieve financial and domestic autonomy. His hope is each one of the 640,000 people on the streets of the United States and in its shelters on any given night never give up. He hopes they do whatever hard work necessary to overcome any and all obstacles between themselves and domestic autonomy. His hope is all reading this interview will support your local street paper with your time and dollars. If there are none in your city, you can direct your support to the North American Street Newspaper Association (NASNA). Your support today allows us, those currently and formerly on the streets, to encourage each other and share the hope of our
KL: And then what? JM: And then I’d have to stop smoking.
John Mellencamp, on stage in Windsor, ON, proving he still rocks a crowd. Photo: David Yonke
successes in one collective voice. These are his hopes. Why? Because every 1 Matters.
class. You are either really rich or you are really down and out. It’s hard times in this country right now.
Oh, but ain’t that America for you and me; Ain’t that America, somethin’ to see, baby; Ain’t that America, home of the free… Little pink houses for you and me. - Little Pink Houses -
KL: You brought your wife Elaine and son Speck with you to Tent City. When you had your private talk with some of the unhoused, at first Speck stood back, but by the end of your conversation he was in the circle listening to every word. Compassion is a pretty cool thing for a father to pass on to a son. Did he share his thoughts on the experience before and after? JM: I don’t remember exactly, but I will tell you he is a very activist type of kid. I found that out when he was pretty young. He did some research at school on some chocolate company and he wrote them a letter and it said, “You cheapskates, why don’t you hire and why don’t you pay fair, ya so-and-so.” And he almost got me into trouble last year, too.
Ken Leslie: On behalf of 1Matters, Toledo Streets and the street paper movement, and everyone who has lost domestic or financial autonomy in our country, thank you for your time today. We first met two years ago or so when you made an un-promoted stop at the annual Tent City, Project Homeless Connect in Toledo. You just wanted them to know they matter. Bob Merlis (Mellencamp’s publicist) told me you were touched by the experience. How so? John Mellencamp: When you see what progress can produce, and also what progress can discard, it makes a feller wonder if some of the progress, let me put it this way, calling it progress does not make it right. In this country right now there is no middle class, no place for middle
KL: How so? JM: He had a petition on Facebook to try to get me to stop smoking. He had, I think, about a half a million people sign up and he had to get a million. The whole conversation was just at Thanksgiving last year. We had completed our Thanksgiving dinner and I lit up a cigarette at the
KL: Would ya? Have you tried? How many times have you tried? JM: Listen, I have no desire to stop, so there’s no reason to even have that conversation. If I would have wanted to stop smoking I would have years go. KL: Took me like 32 times of quittin’ to finally do it. JM: Yeah, well, you wanted to stop. I’m confirmed. KL: And your other son Hud? JM: He’s 16 years old and he fights tomorrow night. KL: Boxer or Extreme? JM: Boxer. He holds five state championships right now. He just got back from Annapolis. They want him to be a boxer for them and he went up and trained for two weeks. KL: Was that nerve wracking to see him box? JM: No, I know how much Hud trains, he’s ready to fight. His record is 20-2. He’s a bad-ass, I can tell ya that. KL: Did you ever box? JM: No, I could fight in the street, but this is a sport to him, he’s very good at it. I’m proud of them both. “Mellencamp” continued on page 8
Pastor Rebecca Przybylski
n the wake of the recent tornado, I had the chance to join with a group of others who felt compelled to go to the destruction zone. On short notice we all piled into a bus and headed to Millbury. I don’t know much about the intricate details and plans of construction work, but I am physically strong and I knew I could do something. As we pulled up to the site of one former residence, I cannot even begin to explain the atmosphere. How do you stand in your driveway and look at the piles of wood, metal and other debris that once felt so safe and stable? How do you begin to understand that your place of refuge on life’s worst days is no longer standing on your worst day yet? What do you stand on when everything solid has been blown out from underneath you? In those moments, all I knew was that I could do something. At least, I could help sort through the rubble for pictures, beloved personal items, and other important papers. I could throw some bricks around and drag branches out of the way. I could gently carry sodden boxes of books to safety where the memories would begin to pour out. And here, where so little was recognizable, I encountered a sliver of beauty amid the ashes as the owners were carried back to days when their children sat for hours to read these very books. The books, that years ago seemed a weighty investment because money was so tight, were now priceless treasures evoking joy and stability when everything else had fallen around them. I did not know these people, but the common bond of our humanity led me there that night. I found loss and grief whirling out of control. The emotions were raw, front and center for all to see. The pairs of shaking hands revealed deep
anxiety and trauma even as they brought cigarettes to trembling lips. How does one stand in the midst of this? Then, I heard shouts and felt a tide of rage rushing through the air as dusk settled around us. I turned to see what was happening, and from a distance I could make out a young woman running wildly toward the road, and then down the road. Her speech was erratic as she tried to express the assault she just endured.
Some of the debris at the clean-up site a couple days after the tornadoes. Photo: Shawn Kellerbauer, tornado clean-up volunteer
“These are people. See people.” It had never occurred to me curious spectators would come out to view the destruction. I am not sure why it didn’t occur to me, because I see it almost daily on the road when there has been an accident or even a disabled vehicle. People slow down and gawk or “rubber-neck” to catch a glimpse of what‘s going on. Maybe it didn’t occur to me because at least those situations are incidents that one passes on the way to an intended destination. But to purposefully plan to go out as tourists of destruction and loss seemed so foreign. Isn’t that what the news is for anyway? Spectators and tourists did come, and they clogged the roads as if waiting to enter the stadium of some huge sporting event or concert. Sadly, it became difficult for electrical workers, construction vehicles, and the like to even penetrate to the places of deepest need. It was here that a young woman could hold back no longer. When a shiny
SUV slowly drove up to her former home with windows down and cameras aimed, something snapped in her fragile soul. The tourists were completely unaware of their violence. Yet, the reality remained they were assaulting and ravaging one freshly shattered life. From vehicles, these numb, detached tourists had isolated themselves, and it was as if their cameras were shooting bullets as they drove by. With each click she screamed and raged in pain from the horror of the assault. Indeed, destruction happens all the time. People endure loss, grief and pain as best they can. Hopefully they are graced with a community who rallies around them to bring support on every level. Unfortunately, what is shocking and horrific is when the victims of destruction, in the midst of their present chaos, have to endure further assaults from tourists and spectators who unknowingly heap
greater pain and suffering on already weak shaking bodies. Unaware. Unknowingly participating. Perpetuators of unintended acts of violence. Yet, violence is violence. Our inability to see is violent. Perhaps we should start with seeing people as people – living, breathing human beings who share most of your DNA. These are not objects. These are people. See people. It is not the coming into the destruction zone that is the problem. It is what you do when you get there. Maybe we just don’t know what to do. Maybe we aren’t sure there is anything we can do. Let me assure you, on the most basic human level, there is something you can do. It might not seem like much, but as you pause to look and really see the persons around you, new life can spring up in the midst of destruction. Unsure of what would unfold, I hopped on a colorful bus with a bunch of people one night. We might even have been mistaken as a tourist group, but we parked and got off the bus. Little did we know what that would mean to our new friends. No matter what road you are traveling, there is something you can do. ts
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continued from page 3
A medallion image similar to the one Chandler made popular. Image: Public Domain
In 1832, she founded The Logan Female Antislavery Society together with her friend and neighbor, Laura Smith Haviland. This organization eventually resulted in the establishment of one of the main links in the Underground Railroad system to Canada. Her antislavery association was one of the few organizations of her day to call for the total integration of blacks into American society. “It is hard to say how influential her writings were to the public-atlarge. However, many of her articles were copied and circulated in the most popular newspapers of the time. She introduced one of the most famous abolitionist images, the kneeling female slave with the slogan, ‘Am I not a woman and a sister?’ Two years later, William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator, adopted this symbol and slogan to head the ladies department of the paper, one of the most prominent abolitionist papers of the time. Sojourner Truth also adopted this slogan for her famous speech of 1851. Elizabeth Margaret Chandler died in Michigan from rheumatic fever on November 2, 1835, shortly before her 27th birthday. ts
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
worked to fight injustice. He has put his time, money and work toward helping those in need. He has been doing this since the beginning, from age 13 or 14 with his first band, to today. October 2nd will mark the 25th year of Farm Aid, in which he has long been a participant. I would call that commitment; wouldn’t you? For the cynical – I don’t know about you, but if I wanted publicity, I would have picked one of the established mainstream publications, rather than a small-but-growing movement of street papers with far less visibility. But Mellencamp isn’t about publicity. When he came to our Awareness Project Tent City in 2007, his visit was explicitly preconditioned on no advance publicity. Period. No, Mellencamp doesn’t give a rip about publicity; never has, never will. He chose this interview in this venue just so those selling this street paper would be able to make enough jingle in their front pocket to make some folding money for their back pocket. He did this here so just maybe people will find the fight inside of them to do the hard work necessary to get into financial and domestic autonomy. Yes, it’s hard work, very hard work; I know all too well. I was one of those who was living in my car because I was a “victim” of <insert your own reason here>, not because I used all my cash last night to buy some “whatever” I could get to escape. That may not be your reason, but no matter the reason, it is hard, hard work to achieve financial and domestic autonomy in McMerica for anyone, housed or unhoused. John Mellencamp did this interview here for vendors hoping it just might help them achieve both. He did this interview here because every 1 Matters. This is our country, because every 1 Matters, don’t they? ts
KL: When you were on stage at Tent City, you spontaneously decided to invite everybody there to your concert, all of the unhoused people. JM: Right.
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An all white jury hides the executioner’s face See how we are, me and you? …Oh, oh, oh Jena, Take your nooses down. - Jena KL: How’d you respond? JM: Well, there were times that there were fist fights. I remember in a little town in Indiana there was a fist fight in between one of our breaks because of his race. So, ya know. KL: And since then you’ve carried on standing up for farmers, for the people, I remember Jena, you stuck up for people there and actually put a lot of your work and effort into that. JM: Well I’m Sisyphus myself; I’m always the guy who’s rolling the rock up the hill. Ya know, and every time I get too close
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
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KL: 60 - 70 people went and I understand you talked to them from the stage about hope. As you know, one of the guests came back from the show and said “Ken, John talked to us from the stage – I guess I really do matter.” That was the founding moment of 1Matters and actually that’s why we’re here today. Your whole career, you’ve had the compassion for and worked for those with little or no voice. What is the root of that compassion in John Mellencamp, where does it come from? Was there something in your childhood maybe that started this feeling of compassion? JM: Well for me, it started with race. I was in a band when I was 13-14 years old and it was the mid-60’s and it was a racially mixed band. I was the lead singer and this black kid was a singer he was a couple years older than me, really good. We’d play every weekend at fraternities and in hotels and stuff like that. It was a soul band. And I saw the way people treated him. Ya know, it was like wow, really? Wait a minute, you loved him on stage, but now he’s gotta go wait outside? And so I think that made quite an impression on me as a young guy.
Local Food Pantry Awarded Andersons Fund Grant
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to the top I either let it roll back down on purpose or it just rolls back, catches on fire and rolls down at someone. So I know what it’s like to have to work at something. My struggle is obviously different than some folks’ struggle, but, nevertheless, we all have our problems. KL: How would you define your struggle? JM: Um, well I’ll answer it like this: A man writes to what he strives to be, not what he is. Out there somewhere You know there’s gotta be a place Where a man can live With a smile on his face And every day something New begins. - The West End KL: The crucible that caused me to get involved in this movement in 1990 was a result of performing in comedy clubs all across the country in the late 80’s and seeing more and more people on the streets. It was the statistic that 60% were families with children that forced me to act and do something. For you, with Farm Aid, tell me about that one moment that caused you to be a part 25 years ago and to maintain it even today. JM: I had written a song with a friend of mine called Rain on the Scarecrow and I had just made an album about what I had seen. Ya know, what prosperity had done to the small towns. How they had leveled them out and devastated small town America. So we made this record called Scarecrow and then when Willie called, there was like, it took me about a second to decide I wanted to be a part of Farm Aid. When Willie called up, he had like a vague notion of what Farm Aid was gonna be. It was no more than just a vague notion and we really had no idea it was gonna last. We have our 25th anniversary coming up October 2nd. Well there’s ninety-seven crosses planted in the courthouse yard— Ninety-seven families who lost ninetyseven farms. I think about my grandpa and my neighbors and my name, And some nights I feel like dyin’, like that scarecrow in the rain. - Rain on the Scarecrow -
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KL: What was Willie’s notion? JM: Ah, he didn’t really have much of a notion, it was a bunch of maybe’s and guesses and I don’t know’s, ya know. KL: Did that start because of Bob Dylan’s comment at Live Aid? JM: Ah, that’s what he said, you know, that Bob had said something about, you know, that we should try to take care of our own people. I think that inspired Willie. Save some time to dream, Save some time for yourself; Don’t let your time slip away Or be stolen by somebody else. - Save Some Time to Dream KL: One of the things that I’ve always admired about you is your courage in social justice. You take a huge pile of truth, dump it in front of them and say, “Smell this.” Based on your lifetime of fighting for the truth, has your position changed in the sense that does authority always win? JM: Oh, I’m a hypocrite, there’s no question about it. Don’t you know a hypocrite when ya see one? You’re looking right at him? Ah yeah, I’m in the wind all the time because ya have to be in the wind all the time. If you’re steadfast on your commitments… I have a new song, it’s called “Save Some Time to Dream”, and I address that and it says always keep your mind open and always question your faith. You can’t just say that this is my position and this is my position for life because, ya know, you discover new information, you see, you grow up. You see things through different eyes. So, you know, I suppose that in the world’s eyes, I’m a hypocrite because I’ll say one thing and do another, but I said one thing 25 years ago and being judged for an action that I did today. So, ya know, things change, man. KL: How so? I hear more respect for you and your work in fighting authorit,y and I see you winning over time in the things you’re taking on. Is that an illusion? JM: I guess that’s an illusion, ‘cause I don’t feel that way. KL: How do you feel? JM: I feel like you’re dammed if ya do
and damned if you don’t – so to hell with it. That’s what I feel about it. KL: Just go with your spirit then. JM: Yeah. KL: In the past few years there have been people talking about drafting you to become an authority, to get you involved with politics. I see you as too honest for that. JM: Oh, I couldn’t do that at all. My “c*ck-s*ckers” and “mother-f*ckers” would probably not fly very well in conversation in the congress, ya know. KL: I could see you on the floor: Your honorable son-of-a-bitch… JM: “Ya’ lying c*ck-sucker.” Yeah, I don’t think it would go very good.
ood For Thought, a local provider of food to the area’s impoverished, has been granted funding to support renovations for their pantry located in Oregon, Ohio. The grant, in the amount of $2,143, was awarded by the Andersons Fund Supporting Organization of The Toledo Community Foundation. The Andersons Fund Supporting Organization grant will be used to purchase materials to build shelving and reorganize the pantry’s storage area, allowing the organization to better arrange and distribute the large amounts of nonperishable food products processed on a monthly basis. Food For Thought serves over 1,000
families throughout Lucas County every month through their Oregon pantry and award-winning mobile pantry. The Toledo Community Foundation, Inc. is a public charitable organization created in 1973. The Foundation provides philanthropic services for individuals, families, businesses, and corporations to meet their charitable giving needs. Food For Thought is a local nonprofit serving Lucas County through multiple avenues. Their choice mobile food pantry allows them to serve hundreds of impoverished families per month by providing a variety of food and resources to those who may not otherwise have access to a pantry.
KL: Which is a real good segue to… JM: Besides, why was that job open? Cause the guy that was doing it couldn’t stand it any more. He wanted to quit because the hypocrisy was too great for him so he said, “I can’t do this anymore.” Not me. You know the devil, He thinks he’s got me. But he ain’t got me ... ... ... No.” - Right Behind Me KL: You’ve always fought convention in your work, your life, and your music. And “No Better Than This” is the perfect example of busting convention to shreds. It’s so not the McMusic they play on the McRadio today. This is a tasty CD. What was your inspiration for the whole premise? JM: Well I knew I was gonna go on tour, Bob [Dylan] and I did a tour last summer and I knew I was gonna come close to all these places. It was kind of a leisurely tour, so I thought, what the hell, I got the time, let’s make the most out of this - we’re gonna be in these places and that was just how it started. And then I wrote the songs and I wrote all those songs in about in about 10-15 days, I don’t’ know. It was just I’d get up every morning and I’d write. I’d write two or three songs in a day and I let the songs write themselves, as opposed to sometimes when you write songs you try to steer them a way that you would “Mellencamp” continued on page 10
The stock area which will be shelved and organized thanks to the grant. Photo: Food For Thought A pantry volunteer stocking the shelves. Photo: Food For Thought
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
KL: What about the idea of the recording process, recorded in Mono? JM: Well, of course, it was a rebellious act of, ya know. There is a song on the record called “The West End” and it says “it’s worse now, look what progress did.” So I decided that, you know, to go just as far away from the popular culture of music as I possibly could and just go back to where it began. The whole record was recorded on one channel and, ya know, one tape machine (a 1955 Ampex), and the whole band played it once and there was one microphone. KL: It is such a pure sound. JM: There are no over dubs, no echo, there’s no anything. It’s just what the room sounded like and it was fun because it was musicians actually playing music, as opposed to building a record or constructing a record. KL: How did you choose the locations? JM: By the way the tour was routed. I knew that I was gonna be close to Memphis, and I knew I was gonna start in Savannah and I have a house in right outside of Savannah on an island, so it gave me an opportunity to stay there and work a couple days, and then we went to Memphis. Then we tried to go to Texas to the building where Johnson also recorded, but it was condemned and they wouldn’t let us in. So we ended up having to go to San Antonio, which was kind of out of the way, but we were only there two days. KL: We absolutely love “Right Behind Me” – the sound, the feel. From the very start with Miriam Sterm’s attacking strings… JM: It’s that corner, that’s the same corner that Robert Johnson recorded “Hell Hound’s on My Trail” in San Antonio, Texas, Gunter Hotel. And like T-Bone [Burnett] said, that’s the best sounding corner I ever heard.
KL: Right, that is such a great song. And the hook, the hook is incredible you know, “You know the devil, he thinks he got me, he ain’t got me...” John and all in the room: “...No.” (Laughter) KL: Last question, I can tell you that from when I was unhoused and living in my car, you nailed the feeling of hopelessness in “Graceful Fall.” “It’s not a graceful fall from dreams to truth, there’s not a lot of hope if you got nothing to lose.”
Since 2007, foreclosures and job losses increased the number of families in shelters nearly 30%. Each night there are 640,000 unhoused Americans who have lost domestic autonomy and are living on the streets and in shelters, 15% are veterans. Some of those will be selling the very street papers which are carrying your words right now. As you did from the stage in Toledo, what are your words of hope to all of our brothers and sisters who are living on the streets of our country? JM: Wow, that’s a big question, that’s an awfully big question. I wish I had something that I could say that seemed to address that question, but I’m not sure I really do at this point in our country. So, I don’t know, you know. KL: You’ve always been a fighter, you’ve always had hope. JM: Well, I’ve always, ah, I’ve always had a bunch of dumb cliché things that my family taught me that I always passed on to my kids. My grandfather passed them on to me and they’ve always provided some sort of hope in my life. They’re not very eloquent, but the greatest advice I ever got in my life and, it’s not very eloquent, but “If you’re gonna’ hit a c*cks*cker, kill him.” And what my grandfather meant when he said that was if you’re actually going to do something, don’t talk about it, don’t brag about it, just go do it and do it to the best that you can possibly do. And that’s what he was saying,
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Mellencamp, continued from page 9 like them to go. But these songs, I just, they kind of wrote themselves really, I just let them go wherever they wanted to go and that’s how they ended up.
don’t be threatening, don’t be talking, don’t be bragging. I think that as un-eloquently as it was said, it was probably one of the most important things said to me in my life. KL: Which is a perfect thing to say to the people on the streets, because if you’re gonna get off the streets, you can. JM: You can, you need to! See the problem is most people give up too early and I’m not talking about just the people on the street, I’m just talking about people in general. They give up on relationships too early, they give up on themselves too early, they give up on life too early. I mean I’ve been writing that since I was a kid. In the song called “Jack and Diane” you know they were only 16 and already giving up. People just give up too early, they just quit, you know, “this is too hard,” or, “I don’t wanna do this anymore.” I think that’s a problem, and I think that’s a problem our country has. Over the decades it was allowed to happen by the work ethic and through capitalism, a lot of things that affect this country that allow people to think that way, that the Mellencamp’s August 17th release, “No Better Than This”. Image: Rounder Records
Photo: David Yonke
world owes them a living. And as soon as you start thinking that somebody owes you something, forget it man, you’re done. And as soon as you start thinking you’re right and everybody else is wrong... It’s like the guy who was married six or seven times, hell, I think it might be me – I think this could be me, I’m starting to think this is my problem. KL: Amen. Thank you, John. JM: Well, thank you. Save some time to dream, ’Cause your dream could save us all, Oh yeah, Your dream might save us all.” - Save Some Time to Dream Ken Leslie has been throwing starfish back in the ocean since 1990 and can be contacted at 1Matters.org. ts
s at the tips of their wings which they use like hands to climb until they are strong enough to fly. The hoatzin is rarely hunted and has few predators because of the foul rotten odor it constantly produces. This peculiarity has earned it the name “The Stinkbird.” This just goes to show, Cancer, that just because you are unique doesn’t mean people are going to like you. Leo | Just as Socrates instructed Plato and Miyagi trained Daniel, so did Bert teach Bo in the art of creating hobo nickels. Citizens have been altering officially minted coins for at least 3 centuries but none had turned it into such an art form as Bert and Bo did when they took to adding beards, hats, backpacks and more to the pictures found on standard American nickels. You’ve got talent. And there’s more that you may want to do, Leo, but you’ll only get so far on your own. Find someone who does it better than you and ask them to teach you everything hay know. You may find you’ll even surpass them. Virgo | Some say there are really only 7 basic plots in all of storytelling. If I recall correctly they are Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Self, Man vs. Fate, Man vs. Vampire, Vampire vs. Self and Man vs. Camera Man. Whether those are actually the 7 basic plots or just what I gather from flipping channels at 2:00 a.m. is really beside the point, Virgo. The point is that there are only so many stories to tell and you’re already in one of them. So, is this the story you were trying to tell or has it gotten away from you a bit? Are you internalizing all the conflict and letting the action roll past you? Or maybe you’re still waiting for the curtain to open on the first act when the story has been going on backstage longer than you could know. Whichever of the 7 plots you were going for, right now it’s just Virgo vs. The Story. Start telling it before it tells you. Libra | Turritopsis Nutricula isn’t just a great name for a smoothie bar, it’s also the name of a species of jellyfish which is the only animal on planet earth that could be considered immortal. Nutricula could theoretically live forever because it’s cells constantly cycle between the adult stage to the
Mr. Mysterio youthful polyp stage and then mature back again. So what would you do, Libra, if you could revert back to polyphood? Would you do things differently? Would you hope grow up to be a different kind of jellyfish than you are? One can’t help but wonder, but it’s all just theoretical. As it is, we move through life in only one direction. If you can’t go back to what you were and change what would have mattered then, you’d better be dangling your tentacles over what matters now and what matters next. Scorpio | Please put on your special glasses now, Scorpio because this month’s Hoboscope is coming to you in 3-D! That’s right, we’re adding a third dimension for Scorpios only. As usual, your Hoboscope will include height and width but it will also feature... (drumroll please)...time. (I know, you were probably hoping for depth, but we could’t afford that kind of technology.) Yes, time. It’s passing with every word you read. It’s moving on whether you keep reading or not. Perhaps this little blurb has taken away more of it than it has given, but when you’re done stop and give it a think. You’ve got enough of it, but only just. Sagittarius | As your thoughts drip like sap from the freshly-tapped maple of your mind, I have to wonder if you could do with a little less thinking and a little more making the donuts. Don’t get me wrong, if there has ever been a thicker, richer bottle of brainwave syrup, I’d like to pour it all over the blisteringly hot pancakes of my own unknowing. But at the rate you’re going, we’ll never make it through breakfast. Capricorn | In the autumn of 1965, German performance artist Joseph Beuys opened his first solo exhibition “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare.” The artist began by covering his face in honey and gold leaf and attaching a slab of iron to his boot. Beuys then carried a dead rabbit around an art gallery, stopping at various works of art to quietly explain them to the deceased bunny. Now that I think about it, I’m really not sure what all that was about. The Stars aren’t sure what you think you’re doing lately either, Capricorn, but you should
probably stop it. A q uar i us I’d give you your horoscope, Aquarius, but you still haven’t paid me back for the last two. Look, let me give you one on the house. You’ve been living on credit for too long. Borrowing against a future that just keeps not coming through. Cut up the cards, freeze the accounts, do whatever it’s going to take to get to a point where you’re spending only what you have and saving for what you need. And, when you get around to it, I accept cash, checks and warm peanut butter cookies. Pisces | I see you’ve been clipping coupons, Pisces, trying to save a little bit everywhere you can. But did you really need to buy 5 jumbo jars of sauerkraut just so you could get the 6th for free? You’re saving on what you get but you may not be getting the things you need. Tell you what. Sit down. Grab a pen and paper. Now make a list of what you’re missing (I’m not just talking about groceries here). Anything you feel like you ought to have but you don’t. You may not feel like you have what it takes to get everything you need, but the first step is to stop wasting your resources on all the things that you don’t. Aries | The new neighbors want to have you over for an early brunch. The new neighbors want to help you clean your gutters. The new neighbors want to teach you how to carve ice-sculptures. It sounds nice, Aries, but I can see why it leaves you a little stressed out. Wasn’t there already enough going on before the new neighbors offered to pay for you to take sky-diving classes? There’s a certain amount of guilt that comes with saying “no thanks” but I think it will free you up to say “yes” later. Find your niche. Carve out some space. You’ll be playing frisbee golf with the new neighbors any time you want.
Taurus | Welcome, Taurus. Thanks for reading your July Hoboscope. If you’d like to receive sage astrological advice please say or write the word “advice” now...I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that. If you’d like to receive astrological advice, please say or write the word “advice” now. If you have other questions or need to speak with an operator, please say “operator” now...I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that. If you need more time, please say “more time” now... You said “I’m lame.” is this correct? ...I’m sorry I didn’t understand that. Thanks for reading your July Hoboscope. Goodbye. Gemini | You know that guy you’ve been seeing everywhere, Gemini? No, not him, the other one. Yeah, the one with the hair and the thing. Well, he isn’t following you. He also isn’t convinced that you aren’t following him. If only he were a Gemini we could clear this up in no time. Tell you what, next time you see him out, why not break the ice. Yeah, I know he’s got that hair and that thing but I think you might be ending up in the same places for some of the same reasons. Mr. Mysterio is not a licensed astrologer, plumber or pyrotechnician. His column appears courtesy of The Contributor in Nashville, TN. Want more tufts of timely truth? Follow Mr. Mysterio on twitter at: http://twitter.com/mrmysterio
1Matters... Will You? Tent City is October 30 - November 1, 2010 Come be part of a team that Matters. We need volunteers to help organize and execute: gathering and sorting clothes, acquiring food donations, licensed hair stylists, podiatrists, and more! Visit our site for a list of meetings, and to register in our organizational forum. Please join us this year and Walk 2 Make 1 Mile Matter during Tent City.
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Published on Aug 14, 2010
Feature: Artist John Mellencamp reconnects with Toledo in an interview with Ken Leslie, talking about his sons, his music, and hard times in...