Threatened with arrest for sleeping in a legally parked car.
I awoke at ~4:15 a.m. to someone pounding on my window, absent the courtesy of speech. What followed was a hair-raising encounter with Fortuna Police, including threats to break my window — all for the crime of sleeping peacefully in a legally parked vehicle…
"If you don’t open the door we are going to break the window." — Cop outside a friend’s car door in Northern Humboldt County last weekend as I attempted to sleep alone in the passenger seat around 3 a.m.
Whew. I contemplated a sabbatical a week ago, one that would take me through the first of 2015 — a respite from the pain and suffering tempting to suffocate those daring to care. I settled on a trip back to Humboldt County, a den of skewed persona’s bathed in the warmth of natural and human beauty. Humboldt is a hotbed of the good and godly overcoming evil loathers preying and hating upon people of meager means. It’s a place unlike no other — my home of a week, and a few more cherished days to come.
Rainbow Mountain Walker, volunteering and loving life. 1949-2014 [Photo provided by Kim Sallaway.]
Beloved Southern Humboldt County community activist and homeless advocate eaten by a bear.
Rainbow was a strong kind man with a heart for those in need. Without a Roof met Rainbow in June where he assisted in breaking up an argument outside the local grocery in Redway California, in the midst of helping a woman find shelter. He was a presence and calming force that evening as I’m certain he has been on countless other occasions.
We plan to publish a memorial next week with testimonies and insights into this man’s life. Please leave comments and/or send me a private message with words that can express this man’s love and will. God bless him, his family, and the cast of hundreds that knew and loved him.
God placed this woman in my path for a purpose, a reason, a hope… that all of humanity would treat the poor and destitute with the love of neighbor as thyself. I pray Ann’s image has a smidgen of the impact on you that it has on me. Hands trembling… please share and ALWAYS remember, “If you have a Roof be Grateful.”
by Ann Anybody
Sundown makes me shake and shiver. I’m cold until the dawn. The sun will drive away the chill and I can bask in the warmth of the day. I am the nation’s homeless (Ann’s voice cracks, fighting back tears) — the ones you don’t seem to see.
I sleep in the alleyways and woods hidden away from the harassment that comes from fear and misunderstanding. And I walk up and down speaking aloud to make you think I’m crazy so you won’t bother me, or I move in the shadows and dwell in my silence.
There are many of us all around and it can happen so suddenly striking like a disease in the prime of your life, or moving in slowly with age weakening your grasp on all you hold dear. Until there is nothing to warm you (in tears), and all that is familiar is gone.
Pray for me, and for yourself, that it doesn’t happen to you. Treat me as though you could walk in my shoes (we exchange blessings and tearfully hug).
That one I wrote in 1978… Ann will be 68-years young in just a few weeks. Stay tuned for more of her story and ways that we can help her realize the peace and tranquility that comes from having a safe place to be. Shalom.
"OMNIPOTENT" was the word Saffron wanted to accompany the photo she staged by removing a brisk morning jersey to flaunt her tan lines.
Saffron back when she was a Fern, Nov-2013
I saw the splendor of Saffron returning to the Redding Transit Center with a warm cup of coffee. At first she didn’t recognize me and gave me the classic street wise lady to man look when I asked, “How are you doing?”
Slowly a smile came to her face as she said, “I remember you — you have put on some weight.” We hugged.
I gave Saffron $2 and said, “I wish I could give you more.” She replied, “I have given out $100 bills before.”
She proceeded to tell this story…
"I am a survivor of the Zodiak Crimes, 1964. In 2000 the industry raided my home and took the indoor goods and put them in storage and left my vehicles outside. So I had to sell them. I had very nice vehicles, a 1992 Volvo, and a 1992 full-size Bronco. I thought I could store them for the two weeks I was going to be outside — it ends up 20-years later now. I sold the Bronco for $1,200 to a used car salesman in Eureka, Roy’s Auto, be sure to plug Roy’s Auto. He wrote me a check and I kept $200 of it and passed out a $1,000 in $100 bills to the Arcata homeless people standing on the Corner."
I interject, “That’s where I’m going! Tomorrow they are doing a 1-year-anniversary for the Humboldt Edge a Street Newspaper they publish up there. So that’s a beautiful story.”
Saffron continues, “Listen, will you make a special mention to the ruderbager plant, because of its Bay Shore history?” We laugh.
"It’s World Homeless Action Day today Sappron. What could we do to action and help people that are out here?"
"I would feed them all ruderbager pie."
Towards the end of the interview she said, “Please don’t use my court name use… Saffron. I’m studying Saffron right now and they won’t be able to decode that.” Indeed they won’t, Saffron, indeed they won’t.
I have a name… connecting the dots from compassion and kindness to the person, place and heart.
Follow Without a Roof as we return to Humboldt County with a mission… an “I Have a Name Mission”
This is the first joint project spawned by “Poverty Peacemakers” a group of experienced activists with track records of accomplishments for humanity. The idea percolated between Jon Linton and I was one of hope and change. Jon’s project, now in it’s 8th year, is one we hope to spawn as “I Have a Name…” projects throughout America and fulfill Jon’s mission of hope and change…
Nina Selassie Genna — a front page story if there ever was one!
Perfectly joyous at viewing Nina Selassie Genna’s prophetic words on the front page of The Humboldt Edge. My entire five weeks on the streets of Humboldt County culminated with Jah’s blessing to capture and share her wisdom. Wow.
Nina, “May Jah love and guide you on your adventure.” — Prudence and Jah
Friend of the Week: Charles Withuhn and the Chico Peace Panel Project
Charles has been a faithful supporter of Without a Roof’s mission to bring Peace and Justice to Chico’s Homeless Community. He has helped with posters, leaflets and most recently the “Poverty is the worst form of violence” sign that has become our backdrop. Three cheers for the Peace Panel Project
The Peace Panel’s latest post:Four successful events in coordination with the local peace groups in as many days. It felt so good we all resolved to do it again in the spring…
Goals got accomplished this week! I was able to set up, schedule, and complete an exhibit and speaking tour (Why is the US 23rd in Freedom of the Press?) in Modesto and Stockton, that resulted in many new volunteer sign ups for the peace group in each of those towns. Last Tuesday I addressed a group at the Church of the Brethren, in Modesto. After which I received a warm applause and some interested questions and some brisk book sales. The next day John Lucas and I got a good response from the students and faculty that stopped by the Peace Panel exhibit at the Modesto Junior College Quad, in front of the cafeteria. There turned out to be a Career Fair that day so we were happy to show off our Career Builders programs. The Modesto Peace/Life Center had a volunteer doing outreach at Modesto High School so I provided him with a handful of our Career Builder brochures that he put to good use.
The next day I was in Stockton at the First Unitarian Church and participated in their simple meal and short readings and sing along and then was the featured speaker at that gathering. Then the next day Christie Kelley of the Peace & Justice Network joined me tabling at Delta College.