John the Astronomer
Meet Joh I met him on Sabine Street and 6th street. He is a man of few words but he is incredible. It was a humbling experience because we are almost the same age and yet our lives are very different. He has hopes and dreams for the stars, literally and figuratively. John taught me to love those around me and to be aware of mental illness and those hurting within this world.
Me: I am here with John- how old are you?
John: I am 21 as of last month
Me: Man, we are almost the same age. How long have you been on the streets?
John: About two weeks.
Me: Wow- very recent. Did you lose your job or your apartment?
John: I got taken off my disability so I have to reapply to get back on SSI.
Me: So have you been working before?
John: Well there are not many options being able to find a job for me for my cirumstance. They say I am a work hazard and a health risk because insurance doesn't cover the disability.
Me: What is the disability?
John: I have mental disabilities.
Me: Can you shed some light on your experience with mental illness?
John: It's like different. It's like growing up how people communicate with each other, I never really understood that.
Me: What is your dream in your life?
John: Be an astonomer. Find stars and look at stars. I just like looking at stars.
Me: What attracts you to stars?
John: There is just a sense of relief whenever I see a full moon. You don't get to see that everyday.
Me: Would you ever want to go to space?
John: Yeah- to check out gravity. It's cool to me, space and stuff.
Me: What got you interested in astronomy?
John: Video games like Star Wars and Star Fox on the 64.
Me: What is you experience on the streets these last two weeks?
John: I have gotten a lot of things stolen from me- my Iphone, clothes, and my money. It is just uncomfortable. People come up to you and look down on you. It just doesn't feel right. Being look down on by society because the homeless people can't benefit or contribute to the society- they feel like we are destroying the community. But this is not our fault, this is not our choice. Being out here- it sucks.
Me: Well you are an incredible human being. You are not less than me. Don't let what people think of you or perceive you as to define you. I want to engage the community to create ties amongst everyone. I want people to feel special by a simple hello everyday.
There are many people who have amazing stories and can truly inspire you. Take the time to listen. Engage. Ask questions. This is time to #EngagetheCommunity! Who will you talk to next? I would love to hear your response on social media below!