I Want Every Person to Have A Decent Life

I want everyone to have a decent life in America. People are running around hungry and homeless. People need to help one another. I got help and want others to get help too. I’m about giving. If I can advocate and play music for the benefit of other people, I will.

by Guitar Whitfield

I want everyone to have a decent life in America. People are running around hungry and homeless. People need to help one another. I see some people on the streets getting help. I got help and I want others to get help too.

I came to the Bay Area from Las Vegas at a time I wanted to make a change in my life. I wanted to be near my children and grandchildren. I didn’t know what I was going to do or where I’d live. Then my brother and sister-in-law introduced me to St. Mary’s Center.

When I entered St. Mary’s, I was offered shelter, food, counseling, social skill development, and access to transportation, medical care, career development, and affordable transitional and permanent housing. I met regularly with a case manager. Staff at St. Mary’s work straight from the heart. I saw that if I gave the program a chance, something would work for me. I felt hope.

I started to learn about homelessness. I met and felt for people who are homeless and became connected to people. I had to humble myself and see I had been living a fast life. I needed to stop a lush life of splurging. To stay in the shelter, I had to start saving one-half of my monthly income. I had never done that before. I saved money and my savings added up!

“Peace on Earth.” Guitar Whitfield said, “If I can advocate and play music for the benefit of other people, I will.”

 

I applied for housing and needed someone to advocate for me. Sister Mary Nolan wrote a letter of recommendation to accompany my applications. Her statement helped to show my accountability and participation in St. Mary’s programs.

While I was at St. Mary’s, I stayed in touch with my craft: playing the guitar. Within the gated and manicured community of St. Mary’s, I continued to play music. What more could I ask for?

I moved into subsidized housing at Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments in Oakland. I was grateful for the advocacy that I had received. Now I volunteer with St. Mary’s, East Bay Housing Organizations, Satellite Housing, and Affordable Housing Associates to help build opportunities for others.

As a Hope and Justice Senior Advocate, I speak out primarily for affordable housing. I also play music for these organizations at events throughout the community.

I’m about giving. If I can advocate and play music for the benefit of other people, I will.

Tags:

A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.