The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What Are YOU Going To Do Now?

Going in to a semester you usually just think there will be exams, paper, classes, and grades. You never truly expect that there is going to be a class expectation that changes your life. This is exactly how I treat every semester, however, this semester I have gained more than knowledge out of the classroom. I have come away with an understanding that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Though this is not easy for everyone to live out in their day-to-day lives, it is something that I believe all people should try to grasp.
For those of you that have been keeping track of my blog you have seen that I have steadily written about homelessness each week. You may understand why because of the stories that I have shared, however, what I haven’t really shared were the relationships that I have been forming with the women at the center. These women are mothers, sisters, and most importantly friends. They have a respect and need to help others and they also do the same for my roommate and I. There is a bond among women on Skid Row that is incredible. For those of you who do not know Skid Row is a mans world. The Downtown Women’s Center was the first center that solely provided for women, however, there were individualized outlets for men prior. What is so interesting is that the rate of homelessness in women in growing at a faster rate than with men. With that being said, this is part of the reason that these women feel that they must defend their own and also stand up when they feel that injustice is being done. I have seen many times in the center where specific woman will tell the other women in the center to straighten up their act because they are not following the rules or they will call them out because they feel it is unfair for anyone to get away with breaking the rules. What I did not ever expect was one of the women to defend me when I needed someone to have my back. To give you a little insight to the daily workings of the center you must understand that many of these women are hustlers. They often have to hustle to get food, shelter, and even money and this translates into the center. This is why you have to begin to understand the women and form a relationship with them to see who they are. At times I have to tell a women that I can only give her two Advil because that is the proper dose or that she is not allowed to take whatever she wants out of the emergency clothes bin just because she wants to shop. Those these seem trivial they happen often and it is nice to receive support from women when you struggle with a particular individual. For example this week I was talking to a woman and she began asking first for feminine products, then she asked for Advil, then she asked for vitamins, and then she tried to get more Advil out of me. It wasn’t until another participant told her basically you get what you get and that is all that she finally gave up. Also, this week a woman asked my roommate if she could get a pair of pants out of the emergency bucket because she was in desperate need. She let her and my roommate and another participant were helping her and when she became rude and nasty the participant backed her up one hundred percent and began to protect her in a way. This reminded me of how important relationships are in times when you need a little extra support. Though I have only known these women for three months there are many of them that I know would be there to provide me with that support when I need it.
The women from the Downtown Women’s Center are so important to me because they have impacted me both my thoughts and in my actions. I try to no longer judge or try to determine what the person begging for money is going to do with it. I try to think about the way it will help them whether than how it will harm them. The reality is what is one dollar when they have nothing and have resorted to having to ask for help? It is important that we remember that they are asking for help. My question to you is are you giving the help they are asking for and deserve or will you keep on walking or driving by?
BY: Alyssa Silva


Blogger Editorial Staff said...

This is an amazing thing that you are doing for these women and yourself as well. Keep doing what you're doing gurl! - Cairesse

April 4, 2011 at 10:22 PM  

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