Thursday, June 26, 2008
To: Timothy Harris
Executive Director for Real Change
After reading your article "The Reinvention of Homeless Advocacy" in the Real Change paper that came out this morning, I sat quietly in my retirement apartment looking out the window at the distant Cascade Mountains. Your words, so eloquently written, made me think deeply: "My activism doesn’t flow from a sense of charity. It springs from a deep respect for the struggles of the poor and a sure knowledge that, in pursuing this work, I gain far more than I surrender." These words made me think deeply about why I donate $100 to Real Change monthly and cannot pass a vendor on the street without giving at least $2 to each one even if I have already bought a paper, and I realized why I do this — because I really care about these fine human beings whose lives are so truly dreadful compared to mine.
As I thought further, I began to question if I could give more to your present fundraising drive. At first I thought I couldn't, and then I pondered all you said about how so many Americans have become big spenders on trivial things, but it took me more time to look at myself. I am a woman in my mid-80s, retired now for twenty years, who has tried to live a responsible life while at the same time enjoying many pleasant experiences, including having a dear and loving family.
Next I questioned myself: Do you really think you would suffer if you gave more to Real Change at this time? And of course the answer is that I would not. Therefore I enclose a check for $365 that after all is only a dollar a day. I will also increase my monthly donations to $150 for as long as I can. At my age I have various "health issues," as all elderly people do, so I am not sure how long I can do this, but I will as long as I can.
Thank you for causing me to realize that I can at least do a little more toward easing the extreme pain and anguish that mark the lives of poor people including your always fine, frequently smiling vendors.
With sincere admiration for all that Real Change accomplishes.