Yesterday I had an interview with a paper about the upcoming bike trip. The reporter asked all the usual questions that reporters ask for this type of project: Where’s the starting point, where are you heading to, how many miles each day will you ride and so on. But this reporter through me a curve ball. He asked why am I making the ride. Good question.
You’d think getting ready to do my second cross-country bike ride for a cause I’d have a ready answer. Well, to be honest, I’ve never thought about it – it’s just something I do. But the reporter spent his valuable time with me to help raise the volume on my pet issue, so I figured he deserved a better answer than whatever off-the-cuff response I gave him. So here goes.
#1 Try to turn up the volume. There’s a lot of issues going on today that demand people’s attention. Global warming…healthcare…the economy…the war in Afganistan…and I could go on. The issue of homelessness gets lost in the noise and confusion. Maybe someone will read this and spend just ten minutes talking to a friend or family member about the bike trip. If they do that, they’re sure to mention it’s for the homeless. Let’s see, I think if each of the 400 thousand people living in Asheville metro area each just spent ten minutes talking about the bike trip and the homeless, well, that’s a pretty good noise about the homeless situation here in our area.
#2 The homeless are the last group that it’s OK to discriminate against. Just about every rental document, service agreement, mission statement and other “official” document says that the agency represented will not discriminate because of “race, religion, creed or sexual orientation”. Notice what it doesn’t say? It doesn’t say anything about not discriminating against someone because of their “economic status”.
#3 Re-sensitize folks to the homeless situation. Growing up in Virginia, I had a good buddy that lived literally right next to the train tracks. Almost every time I’d go over to his house to play or yah, ride our bikes, a freight train would go past. Wasn’t so bad during the day, but at night when they train went by literally 20 feet outside the window…hell, it would scare the crap outta me. I asked him once how he could stand living that close to the track and he said, “You just get used to it and don’t notice it”. Most folks have become de-sensitized to the issue of homelessness. People live in a bubble. They go from home to work or school to church to the park and back home. They don’t see the homeless in their little bubble…if they do, they’ve become so used to seeing them that they don’t see them anymore.
So there’s my reasons. I’m not a good writer. But I hope that somewhere in that mix and mess, you can decipher my reasons and will understand why I’m making the trip. If you still don’t understand, please track me down before I leave town and let’s talk more about my reasons – and what you can do – over a cup of coffee. Cream and honey please.