ISSUE #19 Your donation directly benefits the vendor. Please only buy from badged vendors.
A History of Hope:
Celebrating years of service from the Cherry Street Mission
Because 1Matters: Happy Anniversary! FARMING IN THE CITY: A SEED WAS SOWN SIX YEARS AGO Food stamps focus of U.S. deficit debate POETRY, featuring Paul Thompson Americaâ€™s homeless households
We are a 501(c)3 non-profit under fiscal agent
NOAM CHOMSKY: THE FATHER OF OCCUPY Rhode Island passes bill to guarantee rights of homeless DOCUMENTING THE ROW OVER DEATH Living Faith: Just Christian HOBOSCOPES
You can find us online:
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Welcome to the jungle A little help changes the landscape
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 25¢, 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.
o here it is: I’m terrible at yardwork. Allergies, bugs, and a general lack of clue about what I’m doing had me procrastinating taking care of the yard at my former home, now in the last stages of foreclosure. The backyard in particular had become a jungle of junk trees and weeds, and the front looked only marginally better. The city did not like this, and gave my disabled former housemate and I a cheery letter of warning before fining us. Unfortunately, the yard had become too much for one person with multiple other responsibilities to tackle in just a couple of days. Enter my friends. A team of seven joined me on a Saturday afternoon and we transformed the lot from an overgrown wasteland into the yard of a compliant citizen again in under three hours. Threat removed. I couldn’t help thinking of our vendors, most of whom are lost in a
jungle of homelessness and poverty, with no tools to cut their way through and little direction for which way to go even if they could. Regardless of whether it was bad luck or bad choices —or both—that dropped them in their present circumstances, it takes hard work to fight through to a better life. It also takes a lot of help. Enter you, the reader and presumably the purchaser of this edition. You recognized that the vendor you purchased this paper from is trying to work to change their life. Thank you. Enter Cherry Street Mission Ministries, now celebrating 65 years of giving those who’ve lost their way some shelter, some food, some clothes, but most importantly, some tools to make the hard work effective. That’s restoring hope in action. And, yes, enter Toledo Streets. If someone is willing to do the work, then selling the paper can mark out the path for them. Street papers like ours
You’re now part of a local, social microenterprise program. It’s simple...
all over the world are fruitful in helping those wanting to help themselves, and it’s an idea working here, too. Enter as well our advertisers and supporters. Without you, we couldn’t be here to produce the papers, get the word out, recruit and train the vendors. Thank you. We’re busy chopping away at the local jungle of poverty with tools supplied by our community, and a direction marked out by stories of changed lives. It’s hard work, but it’s exciting. We look forward to the day when we can pause—maybe even stop—and see how all that work we’ve done together has transformed our city. Until then, we keep on believing... THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SMALL CHANGE.
Vendor pays 25¢ for each paper, and profits 75¢ 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 tenets 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 not sell Toledo Streets under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
• I will only purchase the paper from Toledo Streets staff and will not sell papers to other vendors.
• 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 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 or 1Matters, but a contracted worker responsible for my own well-being, income, and taxes. • I agree to not sell any additional goods or products when selling the paper.
• 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 the badge and lanyard costs $1.50 to replace if lost, stolen or damaged. • I understand Toledo Streets strives to be a paper that covers homelessness and poverty issues while providing a source of income for the unhoused. I will try to help in this effort and spread the word.
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Farming in the city
A seed was sown six years ago... Ken Leslie
years ago Jessie and Bertha Fleck founded Cherry Street Mission. Since then it has gone through many transformations in the application of its mission to save lives. There is cause for a huge anniversary celebration and that is exactly what our community is staging. This weekend will be the 65th Anniversary Celebration for Cherry Street Mission Ministries. Also as part of that community recognition, WGTE Television produced a half hour Toledo Stories episode about the mission’s history....”Cherry Street’s Mission.” You can order it from WGTE or watch it online. We have worked with Cherry Street Mission in its various iterations and managements since 1990. At no time since then have we ever seen it more powerful at transforming lives and bringing people to God than the past six-plus years under the leadership of Dan Rogers. His magic is an uncompromising focus on the people served. An uncompromising focus he demands from every employee as well. I see the major difference from past directors as the organization’s attitude seems to now be “Don’t thump the Bible, live the Bible.” To me, in the past Cherry Street Mission was isolated and focused on one thing: Making sure men prayed in Chapel before the meal. Being honest I can tell you the overnight facilities were run more like a prison. The guests had to march in straight lines to meals or the shower, were ordered to kneel at their beds before lights out. It was degrading. One of the most telling differences now is the focus on dignity. Quick example: When a guest did not return to Sparrow’s Nest, any abandoned belongings were packed up and put in the basement for safekeeping until the guest returned. This was called “Bag and Tag.” Our good friend, Cherry Street advocate Shawn Kellerbauer, noticed this and they changed it to “Secure and Store.” When Dan Rogers took over Cherry Street Mission it was just a
men’s and women’s shelter. Today it is a thriving environment with job training, education, medical care, three meals a day, housing for seniors, a Baby University in the south end, a clothing and furniture bank, and advocates who help the guests make their own short- and long-term goals. The advocates help them get connected, and check with the guest daily for progress for THEIR goals. How did it grow so fast to provide so many services needed to the unhoused? Because the focus is on what the GUEST needs. I have often said, and firmly believe, that Dan Rogers is a prophet. I believe this not because of his capacity as a true CEO in his management of the fiscal aspects and managed growth, but I believe this because of his discipleship. For those who have not had the privilege of attending, Dan has created a powerful, life changing “Biblical Rescue” class, which empowers you to TRULY help people. In short, most of us always focus on where the person is now and try to solve that problem. For example, if someone comes running to you needing rent, what is the person’s real problem? Hint: It is NOT the lack of rent. It is the problem that is causing the individual to not have the rent. Un- or under- employment? Addiction? Bad choices? Does giving the individual rent solve those problems? The Biblical Rescue class trains you to go back far enough to find THAT source and insert Jesus Christ. Powerful. So let us all help Cherry Street Mission celebrate 65 years of saving and changing lives. Whether you give them some hours of your time, or some dollars from your wallet, know it will be the same as giving your gifts directly to those in need, those you desire to help find themselves, and find God. There is no better example than the letter our good friend Steve North shared with us during his time as Director of Men’s Ministries for CSM: “Dear Mr. Roecker, “Anniversary” continued on page 6
William James O’Fahey
n a recent atticcleaning adventure, I came across a program written by Toledo’s own Susan Searles for a “Dialogue on Sustainability.” The date on the program was August 25, 2006, and the venue was the Toledo Mennonite Church on Nebraska Avenue. I remember that the dialogue began with Native American flutes and comments by Sandra Stutzenstein, then the outreach coordinator for the University of Toledo’s Stranahan Arboretum. Sandy spoke about a book called The Machine in the Garden by Leo Marx, which is a sort of literary analysis of the American pastoral ideal – a conception of democracy often credited to Thomas Jefferson. This American pastoral ideal is a kind of agrarian utopia, and it has been populated by the likes of Huckleberry Finn, Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, and Sheriff Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show. The American pastoral ideal must somehow coexist with an American urban reality: industrialization. Industrialization is the “machine,” as in “the machine in the garden,” and this machine symbolizes crowded cities with giant smokestacks from coal-fired factories which pour ton after flaming ton of molten steel. This steel is then hammered and plied into railroad tracks and locomotives, the ultimate symbol of a machine trampling over a garden – the American heartland. The Dialogue on Sustainability continued with Matt Lehnert reading aloud an advertisement for an Amish egg and chicken farm collective called Sunrise Poultry. Spencer Cunningham sang a song by the name of “Green Trees,” and Dennis Doblinger and Susan Searles both read nature poems. One unusual offering was a particularly long-winded lecture on permaculture by yours truly and my friend Damian Mason, who is a bona fide San Fransisco hippie. Robin Ford-Parker talked about the possibility of bringing “community-supported agriculture”
(CSA’s) to Toledo, Antoine Kabwasa told a story about medicinal herbs, Amy and James Bennet did a skit called “Cattle Country,” and Steve Elzinga talked about fruit orchards. The Dialogue ended with a presentation by Nathan Wihrmeister and Brandon Wilson called “People Against Poverty And Apathy” (PAPA). The final hymn sung was “Healer of Our Every Ill,” number 377 in the Mennonite hymnal. Looking back, a great many things that we talked about doing in our Dialogue on Sustainability have actually been done. Many of the folks who spoke at Toledo Mennonite almost six years ago are today active in urban agriculture, with organizations such as Toledo Grows, and increasingly as folks from Toledo Mennonite partner with the urban farm at 4747 Hill Avenue, where the University Church can also be found. This urban farm at University Church is managed by two AmeriCorps Vista volunteers, Allie Denham and Peter Meineke, and was birthed by another Vista volunteer, Jacqueline Cobb. Allie and Peter have overseen the installation of greenhouses, storage barns, a chicken coop, beehives, and crop irrigation systems, among other farm initiatives. Recently, Allie received and installed three pieces of sculpture designed by Toledo artist Emily Lee, which she crafted at George Carruth Studio and personally donated to the farm. Fruit tree saplings have been donated by Steve Elzinga from Toledo Mennonite, and Susan Searles herself has written extensively on possible links between herbicide use and “colony collapse disorder” which threatens honey bees and may have played a role in the dissolution of a beehive at the farm last year. There is a vertical garden at the farm as well, and plans to partner with Sunshine Children’s Home to use the vertical garden to make food growing available to folks with physical disabilities. Says the pastor of University Church, the Reverend Dr. Julian Davies, “Many people think of “Farming” continued on page 4
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Food stamps focus of U.S. deficit debate
continued from page 3
Suzanne Hanney, StreetWise discipleship as something hazy, as though ‘spiritual’ meant ‘ethereal’; that is, as though discipleship is only a relationship between you and God… But this places discipleship very high on [Maslow’s] hierarchy of human needs, not really necessary to human survival.” Dr. Davies continues, “But solving hunger is a discipleship imperative… We relate to God not only through individual prayer, but through our interaction with
every human person and without exception. Therefore, discipleship, that is, obedience to God, extends through even the most basic of human needs. Humanity needs air and water, and true discipleship demands that we work to provide humanity with food.” William James O’Fahey can be reached on Facebook as Amish Country Doctors, or at toledoshipyardmonster. com, amishcountrydoctors.com and toledomichigan.com. ts
WANT TO REACH THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO REACH OUT TO OTHERS? WANT TO REACH THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO SHOP LOCAL? WANT TO REACH THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO LEVERAGE COMPASSION? WANT TO REACH THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN CHANGE? Call today for ad rates! 419.825.6397
nce they s t a r t chipping a w a y at the program and try to reduce SNAP [Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program] funding or restrict eligibility or reduce the benefits, it’s sort of a slippery slope,” said Diane Doherty, executive director of the Illinois Hunger Coalition. “Kids can’t learn when they’re hungry so if we cut benefits, it’s a current crisis but a dark march into the future when we have an unhealthy workforce and unhealthy children because they don’t have access to healthy food.” “Without SNAP, over 180,000 low-income Cook County seniors would be left in the cold when it comes to their ability to access food,” said Amy Terpstra, associate director of the Social IMPACT Research Center at Heartland Alliance and author of a report that showed food stamps provide 89 percent of federal food assistance to older adults in Chicago. When federal funding is considered, there is an average of 406 meals per older adult annually in the city, according to the study. The average SNAP household has income at just over half the federal poverty guidelines, Doherty said. A family of four with before-tax income of $2,422 could qualify for a maximum benefit of $668 -- which not many receive. In the five years since December 2006, the number of Illinois recipients has grown 49.4 percent, to 1.82 million people. Their $254.3 million in benefits is “free federal money that goes to feed people.” Each of their benefit dollars creates $1.80 in the local economy in the form of grocery store jobs, she said. SNAP recipients who have seen the headlines about program cuts of $4 billion to $33 billion are worried their food will go away, said Bob Dolgan, spokesperson for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “This is while they are facing incredible challenges: unemployment, cutbacks in wages, and all the other economic effects we’ve seen in the past few years.” The Senate Agriculture Committee passed a plan that would cut
A sign in the front window of a Brooklyn deli. Photo: Clementine Gallot
direct payments to farmers on unplanted acreage by $23 million over the next decade and food stamps by $4 billion. Farmers would be paid for a “shallow loss” when crop yields or prices on planted land fall before their historic average, according to the Associated Press. More serious losses would be insured. The House version leaves subsidies intact but takes all its $33 billion in cuts from the food stamp program; it would eliminate three million people of the 46 million people receiving them, according to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) web site. But if left unchanged, SNAP costs for the next five years would be $400 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office via AP. Both committee versions must pass their full chamber and be reconciled before passage and the larger cuts are unlikely to survive the Democrat-controlled Senate, Reuters’ Emily Stephenson noted in April. “But the vote by voice underscored Republicans’ preference for domestic spending cuts over defense cuts or tax hikes as they try to avoid automatic cuts that take effect in January.” These across-the-board, “automatic cuts” of $98 billion come from the failure of the deficit reduction super-committee to reach consensus last fall. Agriculture bore the biggest share of six committees since directed by House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (RWI) to cut $261 billion through 2022, according to Reuters. www.street-papers.org / StreetWise Chicago, IL ts
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Poetry Loneliness is a Contradiction It’s tangible but it’s void A form without color or shape An absence in a crowded room Darkness in the midst of light A giant vacuum whose sting is felt in the empty pit of one’s soul Paul Thompson
Capitalism is a Harlot Cannibal I see your mouthful of fangs and dollar bills, as you greedily siphon away my life’s savings Fervor and glee fill your eyes while my blood fills your bank account I gave until it hurt – now I’m exhausted Sucked dry, but you keep your tap in my wallet Entrepreneurs are pimps and their girls are independent contractors But then we all prostitute ourselves to live From company CEO’s and presidents to laborers and janitors We’re all turning tricks, some of us just have more impressive regulars War profiteers keep the White House on speed-dial Can you think of a decade when we weren’t fighting somebody? We only want peace if we can profit from it Our negotiating teams MUST contains the CEO’s of Armalite and Bell Helicopter After all, they bought the chairs, tables and Congress Is the good life just in the good ole US of A, where freedom is king? Where you can be anything you want, except poor Paul Thompson
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
America’s homeless households
The rise of family homelessness
continued from page 3 Chelsea Apple, The Contributor
retty Davis” and her four children spent a week living in an abandoned house before someone called the cops. She watched from a distance as the officers piled her family’s belongings-including her daughter’s asthma medication-by the trashcan, knowing that if she tried to retrieve anything she could be identified as homeless and her worst fear realized: her children would be taken from her. For two-and-a-half years, Davis and her kids-all under the age of 12-moved again and again, searching for permanent residency. Their struggle reflects a nationwide epidemic: the National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) estimates that there are now over 1.6 million homeless children in the U.S. in the wake of the recession, a 38 percent increase since 2007. Even though the number is growing, researchers say that the exact figure is hard to determine, since homeless families may remain invisible by “doubling up” or staying intentionally under the radar. Davis and her family lived for seven years in a Nashville housing development, but they were evicted in 2009 after Davis got into a fight with another resident. Even though the court ruled that it was selfdefense, the family was given 30 days to move. She and her kids moved in with different family members nearly a dozen times, but she says they made her feel unwelcome if she couldn’t pay them enough. Davis tried another apartment, but she couldn’t afford it. She started selling drugs to pay the rent, saying she needed “some way for us to live instead of just being on the street and going from house to house.” After four months, she moved out, sent her children to stay with their respective fathers, and started living in a tent. “Tracy,” also a formerly homeless mother of four, tried living in a Texas shelter with her children but says the experience was “just awful.” The shelter’s advertised daycare was perpetually
“Tracy,” a formerly homeless mother of four, outside her Nashville apartment. Tracy and her kids bounced between friends’ houses and homeless shelters for years before finally obtaining an apartment of their own. Photo: Erika Chambers
closed and, at one point, all of her personal belongings-suitcases, birth certificates and social security cards-were stolen. Tracy suspects the shelter staff, explaining that the administration was trying to punish her for not following their program. After moving out of the shelter, Tracy sent her kids to live with her mother in a “rooming house” while she stayed on the streets. Because her mother had no income and her children’s father was in jail, she had to work in a strip club to support her family. “I’d do anything for my babies,” she says. “If it comes to my kids got to eat, I will pick up a pack in a minute and sell it. I will go back dancing and do all that, you understand what I’m saying, to feed my kids.” Tracy says that the sexual abuse she experienced as a child influenced her spiral into homelessness. From ages eight to 12, she was habitually raped by an older cousin who lived in the same house that she did, resulting in her pregnancy at age 13. Her baby died three months after birth. She says that instead of supporting her, many family members didn’t believe her about the rapes, or blamed her outright. “It made me have a different outcome in life,” she says. Tracy is not alone: the NCFH estimates that over 92 percent of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse in their lifetimes, 63 percent by an
intimate partner. Forty-three percent were sexually molested as children, possibly by multiple perpetrators. Statistics also state that 63 percent of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical assault by an intimate male partnersomething Davis was very familiar with. The father of one of her children routinely abused her, going so far as to make her play Russian roulette, tying her up, and once, pulling her through a first-story window while she was pregnant. Davis jokes that domestic violence was so frequent at her house that, whenever she called the cops, the ambulance came by default. Both Tracy and Davis ultimately decided that living at the Family Life Center (FLC) of the Nashville Rescue Mission would make life easier. But Davis says that living in a shelter with young children “was like hell.” Both families immediately struggled to cope with the FLC’s strict daily schedule, mandatory programs and the seemingly uncompromising rules governing all aspects of shelter life. Some of the 20-25 women their families shared shelter space with had serious mental and emotional illnesses, making them fear for their children’s safety. “They shouldn’t even be in a shelter or in the same room as mothers and children,” Davis asserts. Jean Lazenby, assistant director of Women’s Guest Services “Family” continued on page 11
“Thanks for taking me into the CSM on Saturday, March 19th. I had just been released from prison the day before with nothing but a bus ticket and a kick in the ass. I had never been to Toledo in my life except to be sentenced in federal court for counterfeit checks. As a result of that sentence I served six years in the US penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. When I was released I had to return to Toledo to serve a three-year term of supervised release. When I found the CSM I was more desperate than I’ve ever been in my life, but thanks to you I had food and shelter. While I was there I learned a few things, and a few things I’m still trying to figure out. I’m trying to figure out how you and your entire staff, without exception, can be so truly kind to all the lost souls who snarl at the hands that feed them—that amazes me, that you can love such people, including myself, except that I’m truly grateful and will always remember your kindness. I don’t believe in God or Jesus or anything else. My cell partner in prison was a Christian. He had much to do with turning me against religious people. He was so pious, always arguing with the other Christians about the tiniest interpretations of passages from the bible—except, here in the most unlikely places on the planet, in the heart of an abandoned city, lies the Cherry Street Mission, where I may have discovered a group of real Christians who practice what other preachers preach about, love with no strings attached, no collection plate—no tricks. I’ll remember you, Corey, Steve and Mike and all the others whose names I can’t remember. But I’ll remember they are all wonderful people and out of all of it, I think I’ve discovered what real Christianity is—thanks.” All of us at 1Matters are extremely grateful for the support and partnership of Cherry Street Mission. Thank you, brothers and sisters! Having founded Tent City over 20 years ago with partners like Cherry Street, Ken Leslie is continuing the vision for sustainable solutions to end homelessness. He likes sushi and wearing hats. He’s also pretty fond of his wife Norma. Email him at email@example.com. ts
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Noam Chomsky: The father of Occupy Seth Kershner, Spare Change News
oam Chomsky’s new book, Occupy, published as part of the Occupied Media Pamphlet Series, lays out many arguments first articulated at student meetings and in front of gatherings of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) activists. Professor Chomsky’s interest in Occupy is consistent with his support of previous grassroots movements for change and stems from some of his better-known views on American culture and politics. He has said that “it’s only when people get together that they become dangerous” because then “they begin to enter that arena where they don’t belong, namely influencing public affairs.” Hence the usefulness of what is known as “the entertainment industry” for those who don’t wish to relinquish their hold on power. Television (“You are alone watching the tube. That is very advantageous for the control of people”) and sports (“a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority”) are both useful as they succeed in keeping people isolated and outside of the political arena. It is because they overcome these strategies of alienation and estrangement that movements like Occupy Wall Street will always be opposed by police wielding pepper spray and teargas. Seth Kershner: You’re listed as a New York Times syndicated columnist— ironic, considering your history of leveling criticism at the Times ... How long have you held this distinction? Noam Chomsky: I was invited by the editor, who seems to operate more or less independently of the journal. I don’t know the details. The op-eds distributed by the syndicate, though distributed here, don’t appear in the New York Time, or in the US press generally (except for In These Times, occasionally some other small newspaper, or websites). The book “Interventions” is a collection of them (updated), and another collection is appearing. SK: We’ve all seen the video of police pepper-spraying protesters, but few know that City of London police recently listed the OWS activists among “terrorist groups” like alQaida of Pakistan in an advisory
notice. According to the New York Times, the police operation to clear Zuccotti Park was preceded by weeks of counterterrorism training. And Michael Greenberg writes in the New York Review of Books about how a police satellite truck was for weeks parked in front of the apartment building where one of the “core organizers” for OWS lived; the police were “apparently monitoring people who came in to see her.” NC: It was never in doubt that the authorities would act to terminate the occupations. The only question was when and how. It appeared to be a nationally coordinated effort, implemented in different ways throughout the country. As for the effect, it depends how the OWS movements and their supporters respond. Of course, the repression, however predictable, should be protested, and the victims defended. But we should all realize that the best defense against repression is to carry the struggle forward. That’s the task in hand. SK: But what do you think is the best way to carry the struggle forward? Some Occupy groups have hinted that— come springtime—they’ll set up new encampments in city centers and get back to doing the very visible kinds of actions that they began last October. Are traditional community organizing efforts (e.g., coalition-building with labor) not being fully exploited by the OWS movement? NC: I don’t regard my own tactical advice as very significant. For example, if asked I would have opposed the Occupy tactic, assuming that it wouldn’t work, and I’d have been spectacularly wrong. For what it’s worth, my guess is that this particular tactic has probably outlived its usefulness, at least as playing a central role in the movement, and that it is necessary to reach out to engage much broader constituencies, with careful attention and sympathetic concern for their own priorities, and efforts to integrate these into a broader movement of mutual support. Like the kinds of efforts you mention. SK: Last month you went to Harvard to address a gathering of Boston-area OWS activists. Don’t you find it odd that the 99 percent movement gathered
Professor Noam Chomsky is a highly regarded American intellectual and political activist. His new book ‘Occupy’ offers a vivid portrait if the now global Occupy movement and a guide to intelligent activism. Photo: REUTERS/Majed Jaber
at the university of the 1 percent? NC: In most countries meetings can be held at union halls—like when I talked in London a few months ago. Not here. The main functioning institutions are churches and universities, so meetings are commonly held there. I agree with you that there could have been a better venue. I suppose there were reasons for selecting that one. SK: In the 1980s Harvard was seen as a sort of scholarly refuge by Indonesian and Guatemalan generals. More recently, Georgetown gave a faculty position— Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership—to former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, despite his horrendous human rights record. What do universities stand to gain—or lose—from such alliances? NC: It was a refuge, as you say, and that gave an opportunity to activists. I was involved in both the Indonesian and Guatemalan cases (Lumintang, Gramajo). Harvard was keeping it secret, but I learned about it from activists on Indonesia and Guatemala, and groups here were able to organize very effective protests that drove Lumintang out of the country (one of my favorite ever Boston Globe headlines was “Indonesian general flees Boston”) and properly shamed Harvard. Alan Nairn, a wonderful person with a flair for the dramatic, waited for the Harvard commencement, and when Gramajo came up for his diploma, raced down the aisle in front of the TV cameras and handed him a subpoena—the State Department quickly got him out of the
country. I was part of the Uribe protest too, but that time the protest didn’t prevent the appointment, though it had its effects. The US supported all of these gangsters, handsomely. So not surprising that Harvard joins in to reward them in its own way. SK: Lawrence Woods, a political scientist, conducted a survey a few years ago to see how often your writings are cited in undergraduate International Relations textbooks. From 1992 to 1999 only 8 percent of the texts contained citations of your work (and that’s including one extended footnote). A follow-up study looking at texts published between 2001 and 2004 didn’t turn up a single citation. How does this square with your reputation as the “most-cited living author”? NC: I’m amazed there it was even 8 percent. And I suspect if you checked you’d find it was mostly condemnations. What else would you expect? How often do you think Howard Zinn, or other critics of US foreign policy, are mentioned? Sometimes, it’s truly scandalous. Gabriel Kolko’s pioneering work on the early Cold War is almost never cited in scholarly journals, though plenty of scholars crib from his insights. The “reputation” is based on some survey of social science literature put out by the MIT PR office. Maybe accurate, maybe not, but not of the slightest significance. www.street-papers.org / Spare Change News - Boston, MA ts
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
A History of Hope: 65 Years of Cherry Street
Amanda Faith Moore
hen Toledoans are asked to list the places our city can be proud of, hot spots like the Toledo Zoo, the Mud Hens and Fifth-Third Field, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Old West End, our extensive Metroparks system, and Tony Packo’s are rapid-fire responses – and rightfully so. These and other historic, cultural or entertaining destinations are pillars of pride for our community; not only do they keep us coming back for great experiences year after year, they draw visitors from around the world. There is another local landmark that draws both Toledoans and those passing through, a place our community can be as proud of as any other. For those who enter through its doors, it provides shelter, food, clothing, and a whole host of services to wrap around the entire person – physical, mental, and spiritual – beginning with rescue, continuing with restoration, and finishing with releasing the individual back into the community, whole and healthy. This place has a 65-year history of hope, with hundreds of fruitful legacies networked all over our region, and there are few who haven’t heard the name of the Cherry Street Mission. Since its simple start as a faith-fueled response to a growing need to its present collection of ministries and services carrying on the original spirit, Cherry Street has grown by leaps and bounds, changed location twice, and continues to innovate in stemming the tide of homelessness. At the head of this innovation is the organization’s president and CEO, the Reverend Dan Rogers, who joined Cherry Street in March of 2006. Rogers has started numerous programs and instigated major changes in the training of employees and operational directions. One of these ground-breaking programs is a threeday intensive course that plunges attendees, who vary from Cherry Street employees to volunteers to pastors to social workers, into a philosophy called Biblical Rescue. This philosophy, which is structured by six core principles, forms the bedrock of Cherry Street Mission Ministries and can be seen at work throughout the organization, and even back into its history.
Please support us to keep Toledo Streets on Toledo’s streets! Please write your tax-deductible check donation to “1Matters. org” with “Toledo Streets” in the memo line and mail to: 1Matters 3450 W. Central Avenue Suite 108 Toledo, OH 43606 Donations can also be made securely online at www. toledostreets.org, and put “Toledo Streets” in the special instructions line when processing. Donate: $25 $50 $100 $250 $500 Other: _________ Name Address Apartment or Suite
A newsletter published two years after the organization began—Jesse Fleck is in the bottom photo Photo courtesy of Cherry Street Mission Ministries
A REALLY GOOD CRISIS It was June 14, 1947 that the official start of Cherry Street began as a soup kitchen run three nights a week by Jesse and Bertha Fleck and a few friends. Men were returning from the Second World War with scars deeper than anything on their skin, scars that hindered them returning to normal life. A crisis was forming on the streets, and the Flecks felt the time had come that they start serving God by serving the need that was becoming obvious. Within a year, the mission of feeding the hungry had expanded into serving meals every night and trying to get the men off the streets by putting them up in a nearby motel. Within two years it was apparent that the Mission needed to grow further, and in June of 1949 cots were set up in the back of the kitchen
on Cherry Street. Already operating on a tight budget, guests placed cardboard over the cot springs, in place of the mattresses the little ministry couldn’t afford. Cherry Street Mission was now in the shelter “business,” with the guiding principle to never turn anyone away. This doctrine stands today, and has ensured the Mission’s transformations as it has responded to the growing and changing crisis of homelessness in Toledo. The crisis of homelessness allows Cherry Street to meet the underlying need of each life that comes to the organization for help. THE PAIN OF CHANGE Often the underlying need is more than a shelter bed or a hot meal; many things fuel the journey into homelessness, “Hope” continued on page 11
I would like a non-taxdeductible one-year subscription for $30. Mail
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Our thanks to these advertisers and others in the paper for their support!
Rhode Island passes bill to guarantee rights of homeless
Jason McLure, Reuters
Advocates prepare to march with a banner “We Can End Homelessness in Rhode Island” in 2011. Rhode Island’s governor has now signed into law the first “Homeless Bill of Rights” in the United States, formally banning discrimination against homeless people and affirming their equal access to jobs, housing and services. Photo: Bryant L. Berganza/Street Sights
Discover what these advertisers did: An ad in Toledo Streets is VERY afforadable! Call 419.825.6397 for rates!
hode Island’s governor signed into law the first “Homeless Bill of Rights” in the United States on June 21, formally banning discrimination against homeless people and affirming their equal access to jobs, housing and services. The legislation, which won final approval by the state Senate on June 13, bucks a national trend among municipalities toward outlawing behaviors associated with homelessness such as eating, sleeping and panhandling in public spaces. Among other steps, the Rhode Island law would guarantee homeless people the right to use public sidewalks, parks and transportation as well as public buildings, like anyone else “without discrimination on the basis of his or her housing status.” It guarantees a “reasonable expectation of privacy” with respect to personal belongings similar to that of people who have homes. While other laws already guarantee many of the rights specified in this legislation, supporters say it was necessary due to widespread discrimination. “I think we’ve set the bar high in the U.S. for homeless people, and I’m very proud of that,” said Senator
John Tassoni, a sponsor of the bill. Rhode Island is the smallest of the 50 U.S. states. Tassoni and other homeless advocates said Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee would likely sign the bill in coming days. Chafee’s office said it could not comment until the bill was formally presented to the governor for signing. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS ARE HOMELESS Roughly 643,000 people are homeless on any given night in the United States, experts say. “It’s important as a standalone piece of legislation but also as it’s juxtaposed with other communities that are in the process of criminalizing homelessness,” said Neil Donovan, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. “This just affirms the rights and existence of the unhoused in America.” Cities including Philadelphia, San Francisco and St. Louis recently passed ordinances targeting the homeless or have stepped up enforcement of existing regulations. A report in April from the White House’s Interagency “Rights” continued on page 12
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Documenting the row over death An interview with photographer Scott Langley
hat do China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and the United States have in common? (Hint: it’s not the axis of evil.) If you guessed that these are the countries that carried out the most executions last year, you’re better informed than most. The United States remains the only nation in NATO that has a death penalty. There are rational arguments against the death penalty: it’s not a deterrent; it’s expensive and time-consuming; and there are many cases in which innocent people are convicted and sentenced to die. Photographer Scott Langley has taken a different tack: he shows the death penalty’s effect on people, particularly the families and supporters of those on death row. Mike Wold: How did you start taking photos about the death penalty? Scott Langley: My senior year at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex., I took a history class about human rights. Part of the class assignment was to pick a human rights topic and use art to represent it. Texas was the infamous capital of the death penalty world. I went to Huntsville to take photos around the prison during an execution. The execution was low-profile. The media didn’t give it any attention. There were six people outside; one of them was a professor from Sam Houston State University, just a few blocks from the death house. Then there were three women from Ireland who just happened to be visiting. So, really, there were three locals who were there. When I show the photos from protests and vigils, I always joke that I lived in Texas for 25 years and there were never opportunities to go to protests of this sort, because where’s the base of activism? I stayed in Texas for one year after graduation and then moved north. I lived in Boston in a community that worked for the homeless. The people started it the way that Dorothy Day would’ve. They opened up their apartment and let people sleep on the floor and in the halls. That got formalized into a soup kitchen environment when they got more space. I did some other Catholic Worker community living after that. In North Carolina we had a hospitality house next
Mike Wold, RealChange to death row, so we opened up this house to the families of prisoners. They could spend the night at the house and get a free meal. On nights of executions visits end at 11 p.m. but the executions are at 2 a.m., so there was this three-hour gap in the middle of the night and people needed a place to go and stay warm. The prison gave them one tiny depressing room if they wanted to be there. There was one execution where there were over forty family members. They came out to support their loved one before the execution and the prison turned them all away, because they can’t allow forty people to visit or witness the execution even if they wanted to. MW: Your pictures of people who are waiting outside the death house tell a very emotional story. SL: From outside of the prison, it’s very emotional, because sometimes there are people who know the person who’s being executed; when it’s really a tragic experience is when the family of the prisoner is there, because either they’re not allowed to witness the execution or they’ve chosen not to. To be just within arm’s length of a mother at the time that her son’s being executed, the time that a brother’s being executed, it’s heartwrenching. There’s always the hope that there’ll be a Supreme Court decision that’ll stop it. Maybe the governor will decide to grant clemency. Maybe there’s going to be this last decision from the Board of Pardons and Paroles to stop the execution. There’s always hope until you get the final word where all the appeals have been exhausted, everyone has denied clemency. Often they wait until the very last minute to do that, so it’s this torturous experience just waiting and checking the news, checking the clock, and hoping that this isn’t really going to happen. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. But for the most part it’s tragic and you’re there next to family members as they grieve, knowing what’s going on inside. I’ve felt uncomfortable taking some of the pictures I have, like family members crying during an execution, because it’s really an invasion of privacy, but I want people to empathize with what people are experiencing, to understand that there’s another set of victims brought forth because of an execution. MW: It must feel unbelievable that
The crowd reacts to reports of a delay in the execution of Troy Davis because of a U.S. Supreme Court Review. However, the Court chose not to stay the execution. Davis was put to death on Sept. 21, 2011 for the 1989 police officer in Savannah. Davis always maintained his innocence. Photo: Scott Langley
Shortly before the execution of Troy Davis, armed SWAT team members blocked protestors from entering the main driveway to the prison. Photo: Scott Langley
somebody’s killed just like that … SL: When I went for that first time just to take pictures, I knew the death penalty was racist. I knew it was expensive. I knew it’s not a deterrent. But I hadn’t really felt anything. There’s a huge clock over the prison. Executions happen at six o’clock in the evening and you can just see that minute hand getting closer to six. When it struck six, I felt the reality of the death penalty. I could pinpoint the exact time, the exact place, the exact manner in which someone was going to die across the street from where I was standing. There was nothing I could do to stop it. It was legal. There was this sense of social tragedy - ‘Is this normal? No one’s stopping it? No one’s doing anything?’ You’re just completely overwhelmed and completely helpless. In the case of Troy Davis, there’s doubt in the conviction and doubt that this is the right person. For it to happen magnifies the tragedy and the injustice.
MW: Although you’re not just saying that it’s not okay when someone might be innocent? SL: Right. That’s been my experience with the people I’ve met and talked to on this journey. It doesn’t matter what the crime was. It doesn’t matter how horrible and horrendous a situation was. Taking human life is never okay, no matter who does it. And when you think about it, the countries that don’t have the death penalty have a lower murder rate than we do. So it’s not like the death penalty is keeping people from murdering. If you look at the crime statistics for a state that has the death penalty versus a state that doesn’t, it’s the states that have the death penalty that have the higher crime rates. MW: What is the justification? SL: It’s this tradition of Wild West justice part of this country’s history. Our country “Document” continued on page 12
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
continued from page 6
at the Family Life Center, says that they try to keep the mothers and children in their own rooms. However, she acknowledges that mothers and singles will mix if there is overflow. Storing luggage was another issue, according to the women. Mothers had to participate in a special program to keep their families’ belongings on their bunks during the day. If they didn’t participate, Tracy and Davis say they were forced to carry their luggage until evening. They add that day classes, carrying luggage and the lack of childcare limited their ability to look for outside employment and housing opportunities during the day. Shelter policy states that luggage left in any undesignated area (such as the bunk of a nonparticipant in the program) is subject to be thrown into a dumpster, which is compacted several times a day. Twice, Davis returned to find that her family’s belongings had been lost to the trash. “Those are my things,” she stresses. “Why would
they throw it away just because they have certain rules?” Lazenby says that the FLC has 240 lockers for residents to store their things, and that “with all rules you get a warning before you are asked to leave.” Davis maintains that she never received a locker, or a warning. Tracy and Davis agree that one of the hardest parts about living in the shelter was feeling like they had no control over their own lives. “They treated you like you crazy and you need somebody,” Tracy explains. “They make you feel worthless.” Davis says that being forced to discipline her children according to shelter rules and in front of a shelter staff member undermined her authority as a parent and gave her daughter behavioral problems at school. “[My daughter] said a lot of her behavior was because ‘they wouldn’t let my momma do nothing to me,’” Davis recalls. Children who have experienced homelessness are three times more likely to exhibit emotional and behavioral problems, the NCFH says. A recent
Huffington Post article reports that young children who experience the persistent stress of homelessness, poverty and other traumas are also more likely to develop a condition called “toxic stress.” According to Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, toxic stress “can disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years.” If impoverished children can’t develop the skills they need to compete with their peers, it is more likely that they will stay trapped in a cycle of poverty-something neither mother wants to see. “I just say, ‘Go back to school, finish school. Don’t be like momma,’” Tracy says, though she acknowledges that education is not always a “guarantee that you won’t be homeless.” Metro Nashville Public Schools reports 2,477 homeless children were enrolled in their schools during the 2011-2012 school year, an increase of over 400 students from the previous year. Catherine
Knowles, supervisor for the HERO program (Homeless Education Resources and Outreach), says the troubled economy is partly to blame. Tracy’s daughter is one year behind due to the family’s lack of stable housing. “There’s a lot of stuff that she’s got to catch up on,” Tracy says. Davis says that receiving free clothes and school supplies through the HERO program made it easier to keep her children enrolled while homeless. Tracy and Davis both say that the biggest help in their struggle with homelessness came through their relationships with Open Table outreach workers Jennifer Ward and Ingrid McIntyre. Open Table is a Nashville nonprofit that offers transitional housing, outreach and education to aid un-housed or precariously housed individuals. McIntyre, the organization’s co-founder and executive director, describes their approach as “relational,” with a focus on “building relationships and building community with people on
illness, medical or financial issues, even grief, the work to regain stable housing begins with the rescue of the person. There is much pain involved, and Cherry Street believes that it’s only when “the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change [that] change will occur.” But the guest must decide for themselves it’s what they want.
created three different tracks in which a guest could choose to participate. For those who only want a bed, a meal or clothes, the Mission still never turns them away. These guests become part of Basic Services. If they stay the night, they pack up and find other places to be during the day. If they come for a meal, they are invited to come at mealtimes to Cherry Street’s Madison “Eatery” at 20th and Madison. If they want clothing, they are accommodated by LifeBridge, the organization’s clothing and furniture bank in the old Banner Mattress store on Monroe. Some guests are ready to commit to more. They want a bed of their own, a place for their belongings, and something to structure their day. But they also may not be ready to take
a fully different direction with their life, or they may already be employed but do not earn enough to live independently. For these guests, Cherry Street identified around 90 different jobs within the scope of the Mission’s operation and created the LINK program. Guests who choose LINK are assigned one of these jobs for 21 hours a week and receive both handson and classroom training. Other services of support are determined through case management and provided. The guests can stay in the program for up to a year, after which the guest must reevaluate their program choice. The Ready For Life program is the third and most intensive level of programming a guest can choose. This is a minimum of a three-week
“Family” continued on page 12
continued from page 8 which Rogers claims is takes six years on average. “Homelessness has to be worked on,” claims Rogers in Cherry Street’s Mission, a recent Toledo Stories broadcast on WGTE. “This is the most important thing to remember about becoming homeless.” He says this is because of the network of people the typical person has in their life that try to prevent a person from becoming unhoused, and that it would take about six years to alienate all those people. “In order for you to become homeless, you’re going to have to disenfranchise every single person you know.” If this is true, that takes some serious work to get there. Whether the underlying need is addiction, mental
WANTING MORE It’s this conviction, that a guest must “want” for themselves more than Cherry Street does, that led to the organization restructuring its programs to provide for guests’ different levels of wants. The Mission realized that some guests were more ready than others to choose the pain of change, so it took a look at all its programs and services and
“Hope” continued on page 14
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
continued from page 10
was founded through violence and genocide. It’s systemic. The death penalty is just another extension of this and also part of our failure to deal with conflict in a sensible way- if we don’t like what people say, we bomb them. Those things are hard to change, to say the least. MW: Your other main work is wedding photography. Is there any connection? SL: It works out perfectly because people tend to get married from May to October. As soon as that season ends, there are Amnesty International conferences and students are back in school. The weddings are fun, everyone’s happy, and then when you look at the death penalty it’s this intense sadness. When I do presentations I retell stories that I know or that I’ve experienced. It’s depressing and hard. I would get burned out if I didn’t have a break. I can have a respite at least part of the year, move into this extremely exciting and beautiful ritual of love. MW: What is it like to go into a prison and photograph it? SL: I’ve never been on death row to see prisoners. It’s difficult to get access. In North Carolina I went to the execution facility and documented the different components the witness room, the visitation room, the execution room. When you actually see it, it’s numbing. There are no videos, no photos on execution days; there’s a reporter who’s allowed with a pen and paper, but never any visual media allowed, never have been, never will be. MW: Why do you think that is? SL: The government doesn’t want us to see it. I’m even surprised they let a reporter in; because they can write about what they’ve seen, talk about how the prisoner responded to being put on a gurney or what they did when the drug started flowing. When I went on inside the prison to take photos, the warden was narrating what would be happening if it was an execution night. It was just shocking to think that there was an execution happening three days after I went in to take the photos. What the warden was saying was what was going to be happening right there. The way the warden presents it is very “professional,” very dry, very sanitized. MW: You have a photo of a warden
the margins.” McIntyre emphasizes that homelessness can result from “a million different things,” but it poses the biggest threat to those who have “no back up.” “We all know people who have addiction issues, we all know people who have mental illnesses, we all know people who have health problems. That’s not what makes somebody homeless,” she says. “A lack of community is what makes somebody homeless.” Building community can include everything from advocacy, outreach and education to childcare, sharing meals or helping with laundry - what anyone would do for friends or family, “because theyare our family,” Ward says. Ward and McIntyre helped both women apply for the public housing they currently live in, and helped furnish their new apartments through donations. “We look at people like strangers and we dehumanize them, and we criminalize them, and then we don’t know how to treat them,” McIntyre says. “[If we look at our family] then we know what to do, and the answer is so clear.” Although Tracy admits that she still fears for her children’s safety in the development where they live and hopes to find a safer neighborhood in the future, both mothers agree that life has improved since leaving the shelter and the streets. “When I got my own place, my child said, ‘I’m so proud of you, momma.’ And that made me cry a little bit,” Tracy says. “They were just so glad they got their own house, and I’m going to try to keep it that way.”
Council on Homelessness noted a “proliferation of local measures to criminalize ‘acts of living’” such as sitting, standing or asking for money in public places. “You’re just looked down on because you’re carrying your life on your back,” said John Joyce of Providence, who was homeless for three years and now is co-director of the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project. Frank Nolan, 53, of Providence became homeless last year when a ruptured appendix left him with $30,000 in hospital bills and he did not have medical insurance. Nolan said he used the addresses of friends on job applications because he knew he would not be hired if his address was a homeless shelter. He said he was stunned when a bus driver failed to stop for him and three other homeless men waiting near a shelter. “He pulled up and looked at us and he knew we were homeless,” said Nolan. He just waved and he drove off.” In Philadelphia, an ordinance took effect on June 1 banning charities from feeding homeless people in public places such as parks. In St. Louis, Missouri, police evicted homeless people from a site leased for them by a local minister after the city cleared out three homeless encampments along the Mississippi River. In California, San Francisco last year began enforcing a ban on sitting and lying on sidewalks between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., with violators facing tickets of up to $500. But San Jose recently said it would order police to stop throwing away the personal possessions of homeless people seized during sweeps of homeless camps, amid criticism from homeless advocates. Opposition to the bill in Rhode Island’s Democraticcontrolled legislature was muted, said Jim Ryczek, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.
continued from page 11
speaking at a conference; you said you took it because of the glazed look in his eyes. SL: He was from Kentucky. There are wardens from Virginia and Florida that I’ve also met and photographed. Since retirement or since removing themselves they’ve come out to say, ‘I’m traumatized by what I saw and experienced. What I participated in was wrong.’ It makes you wonder how many more people carrying out these executions aren’t comfortable with it. MW: Do you think any of them are comfortable with it? SL: I would hope not. I would hope that people have enough humanity to know that if someone tells you to do something that you believe is wrong, that even if you do it, you don’t enjoy it. Would you take photos of an execution if you had the chance? I don’t think I could even witness an execution. I’d be afraid I would lose control and try and kick out the window that separated me from the prisoner. It’s such a controlled environment. There’s no talking, no crying. You can’t show any sign of emotion, any outbursts. Just before coming here I had lunch with a guy whose brother was executed in North Carolina. Prior to the execution he was asked to leave because he was being too emotional. He was removed from the area. Once he calmed down they allowed him to come back. Sister Helen Prejean, who galvanized the death penalty movement with the Dead Man Walking book, has called for public executions, because there’s this belief, if people can really see what the death penalty means, people won’t support it anymore. MW: It’s hard to know whether that would do it or not. SL: There’s video of Saddam Hussein being hung. I don’t know what impression that made on people - did it make them less likely to support executions? MW: I’d like to think everyone would feel more compassion if they saw something like that. SL: I hope so. That would be a good world to live in. www.street-papers.org / RealChange ts Seattle, WA
www.street-papers.org / Contributor - Nashville, TN
continued from page 9
www.street-papers.org / Reuters
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Living Faith: Just Christian
hroughout my years as a pastor, which aren’t many in the grand scheme of things, I have been struck by the perspective that most religious people have of the concept of justice. Often when discussing justice there are statements such as: “They made their bed…now they’ll have to lie in it.” “They’ll get their just desserts.” Though Scripture has moments that allude to these ideas, the overwhelming majority of the Text comes from a very different perspective. One in which the LORD promises to make things right. Almost all of the language surrounding the exilic literature alludes to this way of thinking. In fact, Judgment day, in Ancient Israel, was exactly that —“the day when the LORD would make all things right.” That sounds and feels so very different compared to our modern day interpretation(s) of the Judgment Day. Usually the imagery we reserve for that day is one of fire and brimstone, pearly gates versus lakes of fire, and us versus them.
What happens when we begin to shift our definition away from society’s current definition of justice to one that reflects the biblical vision? The biblical vision is about restoration— restoring those found to be guilty back to the fullness of life offered by G_d; redemption —offering a clean slate to those whose debt had stacked up against them; reconciliation— welcoming back into the fold those that found themselves on the outside looking in. Unfortunately most of our views and definitions of justice comes to us from our current situation – that which leaves a person with a criminal record having little, or no, hope of being restored back to full citizenship. A system that says even though you’ve paid your debt you are not eligible for redemption. Maybe worst of all there is seemingly no hope for restoration. This applies most clearly in
Pastor Don M. Schiewer our current incarceration methods and mindsets but I would argue that it pervades all aspects of our lives. We lack forgiveness. We lack trust. We lack generosity and grace for our fellow sojourners. In the midst of lacking the above ingredients for others we quickly leap to remind G_d that those elements are reserved for us…that we fall under grace and not perfection. The LORD’s prayer has the crazy notion that in the same way that we extend forgiveness to others that is how forgiveness will be extended unto us. That piece of the prayer always causes me to pause. I’m nervous about that line…how am I doing with forgiveness? What is my idea of justice towards and for others? Will this be the same judgment that I will face some day? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander? Do I believe that I deserve grace but others do not?
It is just easier to discard that which is difficult as opposed to engaging that which needs restoring.
Now don’t get me wrong we all face consequences for decisions, but what happens when we begin to treat people with the mindset of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration as opposed to the mindset of condemnation, separation, and destruction? There is certainly a balance necessary to recognize that only a dog returns to its vomit and that the LORD’s forgiveness can remove our shortcomings as far as the East is from the West. Too often, I believe, it is just easier to discard that which is difficult as opposed to engaging that which needs restoring. I pray that we become a people that seek to set all things right as opposed to continuing down the path that views people as those who can be tossed aside and forgotten. All of us deserve justice…won’t you fight for it for all people? Regardless of religious perspectives, which of us doesn’t want to experience restoration, redemption and reconciliation? Pastor Don Schiewer has taught at New Harvest Christian Church in Oregon for the over six years with a focus on understanding scripture in its Jewish context. You can engage him and others with respectful dialogue further on the Just Christian page on Facebook. ts
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
continued from page 11 commitment in which the guest enters an intensive recovery process featuring financial and biblical literacy, and receives one-on-one attention from clinical therapists and social workers. Several other classes, including GED and job interviewing skills, are available. The ultimate goal of the program, as stated on Cherry Street’s website, “is to return men and women to their families and communities, transformed by the power of God through Jesus Christ.” THE MANAGEMENT All of this change is hard work, and not just for the guests. Staff, especially those working in operations and guest programming, must stay focused. It is a given that if a guest cannot manage themselves, someone else will. Stability for all guests is key, and considering the varying issues of guests in the mix, providing this stability can come at a cost. This is why the monthly Success Night is so popular for staff to attend – the milestones guests celebrate when they complete a course help refresh those who’ve worked alongside them. It’s a symbiotic relationship that comes with some sacrifice, but that’s nothing new to the organization. “[Sacrifice] is part of our DNA,” explains Linda Cunning, Director of Stewardship and Philanthropy. “Jesse and Bertha Fleck sold their home and most of their belongings and moved into Cherry Street two years after starting Cherry Street Mission.” This level of commitment by those serving the guests is the reason Cherry Street increases their borders, and that is why they now find themselves running 13 facilities across the city, including shelters, transitional housing, supportive housing, LifeBridge, and its recent collaboration with Western Avenue Family Center to create the South Toledo Community Center. STRAIGHT FOR THE CROOKED Not all projects are developed to rescue people from homelessness after it’s happened. Some, such as the South Toledo Community Center, are meant to move all that Cherry Street has learned about helping people “upstream” and into homelessness prevention. Rogers’ Biblical Rescue class falls under this category, as does The Philip Project, which comes alongside churches to identify ways
they can disciple parents into leaders for their children. Both courses are meant to teach straight lines to participants in order to help identify what is crooked around them and provide a clear path toward rescue and restoration. It is the lack of strong parenting that concerns The Philip Project most. This issue, along with economic pressures, criminal records, and addictive behavior, has changed the face of homelessness in the last few years to one with softer lines and less gray hair – the median age of the unhoused has dropped significantly from the mid-50’s down to the mid-30’s. Cherry Street is seeing more 18-29 year olds coming through its doors. Generation Y now accounts for about 25% of the organization’s guest population. TIMELESSNESS Turning the tide of homelessness and all its underlying causes takes time. Most shelters in the Toledo area rely on government funding to run their facilities and services. Unfortunately, those funds come with strings attached; some of them being time restrictions on how long a guest can stay. The measured outcome is whether or not a person gets into housing. Cherry Street, because it receives no government monies, measures its outcomes by changed lives as people exit its doors. 74% of Ready For Life participants are still independent a year-and-a-half after graduating the program. This rate of success is possible, the Mission maintains, because time is taken off the table. “The goal is internal first, not housing first,” says Cunning. “We don’t have that time-driven factor… You almost set up somebody to fail.” But lest anyone think that Cherry Street is slow to respond to the crises around them, Rogers emphasizes that just because they don’t have a cookie-cutter process for every guest doesn’t mean the organization isn’t anticipating how best to serve the people who come to it for help. “If we are just serving without thinking beforehand,” says Rogers, “we extend the time it takes to provide care. We want to limit the despair that brings people to our doors.” Rogers says the Mission continually asks itself and its guests questions. These questions can be frustrating for those seeking formulas, but
A Cherry Street guest proudly displays a certificate from participating in a program offered by the Mission. Photo courtesy Cherry Street Mission Ministries
they free staff and guests to pursue more beneficial avenues for real restoration. “You have to have your pockets full of questions marks and commas,” he says. “If you only have ending punctuation and solutions, you have given me a predetermined path that doesn’t allow for the texture of my humanity.” COMMUNITY CELEBRATION Cherry Street Mission Ministries also allows for the texture of its community. Because they don’t rely on government funding, they turn to the generosity of their neighbors for support. In 2011, the Mission saw 5,000 volunteers putting in over 65,000 hours in various capacities. This alone saved Cherry Street close to $2 million. In-kind donations, monetary donations, and donations of food, clothing, household goods and furniture supply another significant chunk of what it takes to operate the organization which provides 250 beds to men and women each night, and well over a quarter of a million meals last year. Of the over $5.5 million operating budget, 77% of it goes directly into program services for guests. Churches and other organizations have always been an important part of the Mission’s activities. From its beginning, Cherry Street was a community ministry. Though the Mission, after two moves
of its most visible facility, is no longer located anywhere along Cherry Street, it retained the name the community had come to know and respect as a leader in serving the unhoused. The involvement of the community is also what drove the celebration of the organization’s 65 years of service. Cherry Street’s venerable 65 falls alongside Toledo’s 175th anniversary of incorporation into Ohio. Three days of family-focused celebration, including an outdoor movie, local artists, children’s activities, food, and give-a-ways, were organized as free and open to the public, with corporate sponsors underwriting the costs involved. All of it culminates in a 3 p.m. service on July 1st at Fifth-Third Field, where Rogers will present Mayor Mike Bell a plaque recognizing the city’s 175th anniversary, and the community will pray and worship together. For 65 years, Cherry Street Mission Ministries has relied on the Toledo community to support its mission of “soup, soap, shelter and salvation.” And while it may not make any tourist’s list of must-see places in our city, our community knows that when it comes to important local landmarks, Cherry Street is a must-do destination for anyone who wants to be a part of Toledo and the Mission’s history of hope. ts
Toledo Streets - The Paper with a Mission
Hoboscopes Mr. Mysterio CANCER | Apparently, scientists are pleased to have recently engineered a virus that creates electricity when agitated. The idea is that the virus could be used to power things like personal electronics that would recharge simply by being shaken or pushed. This would seem like a great idea, if I hadn’t seen so many science fiction movies where inventions that were meant for good became tools for evil. I mean, a virus that creates electricity is practically begging to be the origin story for a super-villain. Or at least a way to wipe out humanity. What I’m saying here, Cancer, is that whatever brilliant ideas you think you’ve just had, maybe think again. Just because it’s new and seems more efficient, doesn’t mean it won’t eventually be used in an evil plot to enslave New York. LEO | The future never does quite arrive, does it? Even when cars fly past me overhead while my robot maid brings me all my food in a little pill, I’ll still just be living in the boring old present. There’s always something to wait for with excited anticipation. There’s always something better just around the corner. But don’t let that stop you from really appreciating this present moment. Try to take it all in this week, Leo. Sure, there’s lots of ways you’d like for things to change, but there’s lots of changes you’ve already made. Stop and appreciate exactly where you are. The future will get here either way; this is the only moment you can enjoy right now. VIRGO | It’s a choose your own adventure kind of month for you Virgo. Don’t worry though, it’s not the kind where if you make one bad choice, you get kidnapped by swamp-bandits or get stuck in a cave. The way I see it, Virgo, you really can’t make any wrong choices right now, so why not just make the choices that make the story the most interesting? Folks get so stressed out about doing everything just right and not messing up. Forget about getting it right for once and just make the decisions that take you into the story you want to live. You have the power to make your story great—or, you could make it even better than that. You know which story you want to be in, now just make the choices that take you on exactly that adventure. LIBRA | In the plays of ancient Greece, it was not unusual to discover the hero had arrived in a seemingly impossible situation. But just when the conflict seemed entirely unresolvable, a god would appear, lowered onto the stage from a small crane, and would proceed to repair the situation in some divine way. This device came to be known as the “Deus ex Machina” (god out of the machine) and is still widely in use today. When I consult the stars for advice for Libras, I often wish the answer would come so easily. I know you do too. It would be easier if the answer to your
problems would just appear on stage and offer you an easy way out. But it looks like you’ve got to get through this set of troubles on your own. Well, not entirely on your own. Aren’t there people you could be sharing these trials with? Maybe if you share the burden a bit and don’t try so hard to be the lone hero—maybe in those conversations an answer would appear. I think it’s worth a try. SCORPIO | I know laying low is not your strong suit, Scorpio, but it seems like everybody is looking to put a dent in your forehead this month. I think you could learn a thing or two from the incomparable capybara. The most cunning of all God’s creatures, these 140-pound rodents sleep with their bodies almost entirely underwater. Since their nostrils, eyes and ears are in a straight line, they can keep the top of their head just above the surface and remain nearly invisible to the predators of the South American jungle where they live. What the stars want you to know, Scorpio, is that when the anacondas, jaguars and ocelots of life are out to get you, sometimes it’s better to submerge and wait it out. SAGITTARIUS | Let’s say you built a time machine and travelled back to when you were a baby. Now, let’s say you kidnapped your baby self and left yourself on the steps of a monastery in, I don’t know, Quebec. But now it seems likely that in this new life with Canadian monks, you would never grow up to build a time machine. And if you never grow up to build a time machine, you can never kidnap yourself. Just to be clear, this scenario is not my astrological prediction for your future and is, in fact, highly unlikely. It’s also less complicated than some of what may be in store for you this month. So, you can ponder this time travel puzzle, or just get on with your own puzzle and find out what happens next. Sometimes thinking through your situation again and again is more trouble than just living through it and seeing what happens. CAPRICORN | In Steven Segal’s 1990 breakout film Hard to Kill, Mason Storm is a tough-as-nails LAPD detective who discovers a dark plot that goes deeper than he ever expected and higher than he ever feared. Storm barely survives a home invasion and when he awakens from a coma seven years later, he has no choice but to track down the men who destroyed his life. This month, Capricorn, you probably won’t find yourself taking revenge on any crooked cops or scheming politicians, but, when you really think about it, aren’t we all just trying to fight our way through an endless army of trained assassins just to find the one man responsible for our pain? When times get tough, you’ve got to grit your teeth, squint, tie back your hair and face whatever comes your way. Also,
learning Akido might help. AQUARIUS | You’ve gotten stuck on the information, Aquarius. You’re looking at the finger instead of where it’s pointing. I’m afraid it might be costing you the experiences you want. It’s like you’ve walked into a fancy restaurant, sat down at a table and when the waiter brings you the menu, you thank him and politely begin to eat it, page by page. There’s nothing there! Sure, the menu has some great food on it, but only if you make a choice, place an order and wait for the food to arrive. You can’t survive on indecision. So let’s assume you have all the information that you need. Let’s assume you know enough to make a good decision. Go ahead and place your order, Aquarius. PISCES | Friends are like stars, Pisces. They’re a beacon of light in the darkest of nights. They’re around even when you can’t see them. They can guide you when you’re lost at sea. And if you ever got too close to one, you’d probably burst into flame and disintegrate. I’m not sure what part of that will be the most important to you this month, I’m just the messenger. ARIES | It’s time to make the leap, Aries. Doubt has it’s advantages and I must say you’ve explored them all. But I know there’s someplace else you want to be. You’ve been wondering what’s on the other side of that chasm and after all the research and the wondering and the worrying and the praying, I think it’s become apparent that the only way to really find out—the only way to ever be really sure what’s on the other side—is to jump. I’m not saying it’s safe. I’m not saying you won’t fall too far or have a hard landing. But I believe you’ll make it across and I believe there will be some solid ground to land on,
and—knowing you—I believe there will be lots more risks to take, mysteries to solve and chasms to leap after this one. TAURUS | This morning I found a note in my driveway. It must have just blown down the street and ended up there. It was a wrinkled sheet of notebook paper, torn in half and then folded again. Inside were the handwritten words, “Don’t stop there!” It made me think of you, Taurus. The way you hope and the way you carry on and the way you really must be almost there. I thought maybe that note blew into my front yard just for you. The universe is funny that way. Then I flipped it over and on the back it said, “Coach Billings is a sea cow!” and I thought, maybe this isn’t really for Taurus after all. GEMINI | There’s always that one little bit of information that would have come in handy way back when. Like apparently, some guy just proved you actually can dry your hands in a public restroom using just one paper towel. Where was that information the past 4,600 times I’ve washed my hands and pulled out paper towel after paper towel only to ultimately wipe my still-wet hands on my amateur astrologer’s vestments on the way out of the restroom? Anyway, Gemini, we never have all the information we need to make the best decisions we can. Sometimes we can only see in retrospect that we’ve been using too many paper towels all along. Still, we can’t just stand around with wet hands waiting until somebody shows us the best way, we’ve got to dry them off and get on with our lives. Mr. Mysterio is not a licensed astrologer, a patented secret formula, or a trained rat. Hoboscopes appear courtesy of The Contributor street newspaper in Nashville, TN.
Celebrating Cherry Street Mission's 65th anniversary! We look at the history, current operation, and philosophy of Toledo's oldest shelter....
Published on Jun 29, 2012
Celebrating Cherry Street Mission's 65th anniversary! We look at the history, current operation, and philosophy of Toledo's oldest shelter....