“On Our Way Home” — Photo Documentary by Homeless Elders

Homeless and formerly homeless elders used disposable cameras to bring to public awareness the conditions facing people on the street. “On Our Way Home” celebrates the wisdom of elders as they offer a personal look at life on the street and show what we can do to help create change.

by Susan Werner

St. Mary’s Center presents “On Our Way Home,” a photo documentary by homeless and formerly homeless elders. These elders used disposable cameras to bring to public awareness conditions that face homeless people.

Taryn Evans, the artist who conceived and funded the project, said, “By providing each artist with a medium to tell his/her own story, I expect and hope that the forgotten issue of Oakland’s homeless senior population will be looked at with renewed hope. I’d like to get people talking about what we can do to improve their lives.”

These artists offer understanding and ideas about what we can do to end a growing epidemic.

The exhibit opens for First Friday, May 2, 2014, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Uptown Body and Fender, 401 26th Street, Oakland, near Telegraph. The exhibit remains open on weekdays until May 16, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

All the photographers involved in this documentary found their way to the Winter Shelter program of St. Mary’s Center. For many, the tragedy of homelessness became an opportunity for some kind of magic to unfold in their lives.

Charles Ford explained, “When I was homeless, I often felt very bad and without hope. I did not see a way out. I needed some help. At St. Mary’s, I began to feel better about myself and about building a more fulfilling, productive life.”

Keith Arivnwine reported that, after squatting in vacant homes for several years, he felt “a desire for change from within. I started making changes in my life. At St. Mary’s, I was around positive people who also wanted to do something different with their lives.”

Pedro del Norte said, “At St. Mary’s Center, I felt a sense of belonging. We shared experiences and collaborated in overcoming adversity.”

A growing number of seniors in Oakland are caught in the housing crisis. The Census Report tells us there are more seniors living in poverty in Oakland than any other urban area in the state.

As the title suggests, this exhibit is also about hope. “On Our Way Home,” celebrates the wisdom of elders as they offer a personal look at life on the street and what we can do to help create change.

“A Way to Survive.” (Oakland man with shopping cart.) Keith Arivnwine photo

 

“On Our Way Home”

An Exhibit of Photographs by Homeless Elders

May 2 — May 16

Weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Uptown Body and Fender, 401 26th Street, Oakland

 

For information contact Susan Werner at St. Mary’s Center

Phone: 510-923-9600 x 231

Website: www.stmaryscenter.org

 

Tags:

Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”