15 December 2009

Giving Dignity & Respect

I once was on a first date with someone who I was so excited to be out with. We were having a fabulous time when a panhandler encountered us & asked for money. My date swore at the person and sauntered away, I apologized for my date and gave the panhandler some money. The remainder of the night was pregnant with many things unsaid & we never called each other after that.

Typically I don't give money to anyone on the street unless they are playing an instrument. But I always look them in the eye & say, I'm sorry I can't today. Every person deserves acknowledgment, respect & eye contact. I can't imagine hitting a point in my life where I am so broke & desperate that I have to resort to asking strangers on the street for money. No one wants to be in that position and no one should. The way a person interacts with a homeless person says a lot about their character. The majority of Minnesotans in Minneapolis are kind and respectful, some of course, are not. This makes my heart hurt.

This article
was published in our local Minneapolis Star & Tribune on Sunday. Columnist Jon Tevlin recognizes John Petroskas, an employee of Catholic Charities who works closely with the Minneapolis Homeless Population doing outreach. This column is one that reminds us that the homeless are not just nameless faces. They are individuals with stories whose lives deserve to be celebrated as much as yours and mine.


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