San Jose Builds Walls to Keep Homeless People Out

San Jose is working with Caltrans to build an eight-foot wall to keep them out of their homeless encampment. Are we sure we want our children to live behind walls that force homeless people to walk through life as outcasts until they are nearly dead from fatigue?

by Judy Joy Jones

Nations are remembered in history by how they treated the poor, the forgotten elderly, the physically and mentally challenged and the orphans. How will this nation be remembered by future generations?

One city has found the solution to solving its homeless problem. The City of San Jose is working with Caltrans to build an eight-foot wall to keep them out of their homeless encampment.

The poor are being forced to walk until they are nearly dead from fatigue. Without a place to sleep, and laws that prohibit them from sitting, they have to continue walking on swollen and often blood-soaked feet. They have no access to bathrooms nor a place to store their important and necessary medicines and papers.

They are often victims of hate crimes.

We are creating a horribly inhumane caste system in this country, one in which the homeless are often referred to and treated as “The Untouchables.”

The people in the San Jose neighborhood where the wall is being built complain that they are tired of seeing dirty people and their used drug paraphernalia on the streets. They say they do not feel safe letting their children go outside. We can all agree that none of us wants to see this on our own streets.

But are we sure we want our children to live behind walls that force homeless people to walk through life as outcasts and strangers until the day they die?

The same area where the wall is being built to keep the homeless out is also home to Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Facebook, to name but a few of the giant technological companies that are revolutionizing our world.

Surely there must be a way the amazingly creative minds of Silicon Valley can help find humane solutions to housing and homelessness.

If our society can create a worldwide computer network and build rocket ships for space exploration, can’t we work together to find solutions and provide the poor with food, shelter and clothing?

Often we ask the police to take on the impossible tasks of being psychiatrist, physician, social worker, and even mothers and fathers, to the many people with mental problems that live on the streets.

These are our problems to solve as a collective family and we cannot expect the police to do the impossible.

If you can put yourself in the shoes of a homeless person for a moment, think how it would feel if you came home and found a wall had been built around your house, keeping you and your family out.

Or even worse, how would it feel to find that your home had been bulldozed, and all of your possessions thrown in the garbage and your car impounded.

Can you really imagine having only the concrete streets as your home?

Homeless people routinely find their belongings destroyed with their only option being to keep walking in cities that are increasingly doing everything possible to make certain the poor cannot survive.

Realizing our interdependence on each other is one of our greatest challenges, even though it is not comfortable at times. Yet a world without compassion is not one people will choose to live in for long.

Instead of banishing and punishing the people we do not want to look at, let’s join minds, hearts and hands to find workable solutions for all involved.

The poor that are in need of food, shelter, and medical care will only disappear when we provide for their needs.

If the brilliant minds that are building rocket ships and designing innovative new technologies can combine their genius with ours, together we will find the answers to the problem of the rapidly growing homeless population.

Our nation’s youth are watching us handle the homeless problem by putting them in jail, building walls to keep the poor out, destroying their few belongings, banishing them as outcasts and forcing them to walk all night until they die.

“The bones of the homeless.” A disabled homeless man finds momentary rest on a sidewalk. Judy Joy Jones photo

 

Our children must ask themselves a disturbing question: If we can treat the most fragile among us like this, then how will we treat them in their hour of need? They deserve to see that we can find workable solutions. Perhaps this is the greatest task of this century.

If we continue to build walls to keep homeless people out, then we are destroying life instead of fulfilling our purpose for being born. We are created to do great things! As the suffering of the poor continues, all suffering on this planet increases. The poor are defenseless and we must find new ways to protect and provide for our homeless citizens.

Nations are remembered in history by how they treated the poor, the elderly, the sick and infirm, and the orphans. How will this nation be remembered by future generations? That, my friends, is up to us!

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GOD CRIES FOR THE POOR

by Judy Joy Jones

Watching the genocide of the poor

becoming more vicious than before

 

Walls being built to keep the homeless

on their swollen bleeding feet

until they drop dead from fatigue

 

Not allowed to sit or sleep

they are forced to walk

until they die

 

Don’t you see the real walls

are those around hardened hearts

ignoring the pleas

of our brothers and sisters

in desperate need

 

God weeps

as the genocide of the poor

becomes more vicious than before

 

Walls being built to keep the homeless

on their swollen bleeding feet

until they die from fatigue

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.