How do you feel when you see a homeless person sitting on the sidewalk with a cup of change? If you’re like most people, it’s a combination of uneasiness, guilt and dread. Should you give money? Or does that make you a sucker? And if you don’t give, are you grinch? Not everyone feels that way. Not Mark Horvath, at least.
The realities of the interaction:
A day with Mark always leaves me a little broken and confused. I would rather talk to people living on the street than hustle by and give them a shifty look. When you talk to people, you start to wonder: Will they get better? Do they want help? How did they get there? The space between you and them gets a million times smaller. That is both beautiful and frightening.
Their stories capture me for a moment, and then slowly, I emerge back into my regular life. I distance myself once again. I don’t want to. And both times I’ve gone out with Mark, I’ve told myself that this would change me – that I wouldn’t go back to being that person who hustled by, annoyed and uncomfortable.
How we react to a homeless person is a personal thing but if you look at the interaction as if they are people too & consider that their name is not “those people” you will make it a lot further into a productive exchange for both of you.
Here’s a video performance of a poem described here:
Video presentation from Be The Change: A Benefit Luncheon for Building Changes (May 5, 2009). My Name Is Not Those People, poem by Julia K. Dinsmore, read by Danny Glover, from “Give US Your Poor – 17 New Recordings To Help End Homelessness” (Appleseed Recordings). For more info, go to BuildingChanges.org. Photographs by Lynn Blodgett, from “Finding Grace: The Face of America’s Homeless” (Earth Aware Editions).
Watch the video here:
There have been books & videos about them that attempt to share how the way homeless people are treated affects them. This seems counter-intuitive but if we, one-at-a-time, observe how we react & take our own inner inventory, we will move closer to being the helping hand that just might make a difference!
This article has been written from the perspective of how one person’s interaction with Mark Horvath changed the way they think about this interaction on a daily basis. The person writing it is honest about their feelings & their abilities to be consistent with that reaction being a helping, supportive one.
- We Are Visible: Mark Horvath Launches Website To Empower The Homeless With Social Media (huffingtonpost.com)
- Celebrating Free Agents: Mark Horvath Launches WeAreVisible (bethkanter.org)
- Mark Horvath: Interview With Neil Donovan From The National Coalition For The Homeless (huffingtonpost.com)
- Mark Horvath: Tent City Interview at Camp Take Notice (huffingtonpost.com)
- See Behind the Scenes of the Invisible People Videos (homelessness.change.org)
- We Are Visible Brings New Voices to Homeless People (chris.pirillo.com)
- Mark Horvath: Imagine Spending Your First Night Homeless on Your 18th Birthday. (huffingtonpost.com)
- 5 Questions for Mark Horvath, Founder of InvisiblePeople. tv (youtube-global.blogspot.com)
- Blogging Without Walls – Homeless Bloggers (blogher.com)