Re: Homeless Online, Brokaw reports on NBC. Is his review balanced?

Anitra Freeman (
Wed, 1 Dec 1999 02:14:14 -0800 (PST)

My take on this, in a related editorial from The Great Speckled Bird
Homeless Column:

Building Community on the Internet

There are many different ways in which the Internet and the world wide
web can be used to build a greater community for all, including people
who are currently homeless.


The internet provides everyone a place to speak out and, at least
sometimes, be heard. With free access, free email and free websites
becoming increasingly available, more and more homeless and low-income
people are finding a forum that is more accessible than their local
newspaper, city hall or community center. Homeless forums Homeless discussion
lists Homeless webpages Homeless newspapers Resources for speaking out
and getting heard 


On the Internet, people can meet and mingle more freely than anywhere
else. The absence of face and voice and body language may raise some
barriers to understanding, but it lowers others. Many people who feel
rejected for their appearance elsewhere feel more comfortable on the
Net. Email, chat rooms and other web communication tools are a new
channel to community for people who have no phone or mailing address.
And there are simply MORE people in Virtual than you can ever come in
contact with in the flesh -- far more chances of hooking up with someone
who shares your interest in rhymed haiku meditation mantras referring to
eastern Mongolian rug-weaving techniques as related to that blue guy in
those Hindu paintings and the haka "Te Mate Te Mate" as performed by the
All-Blacks. Forums & chat rooms Discussion lists 

Getting Help

You've spent your last dollar getting to Seattle to land one of those
fishing-boat jobs, and the boat left without you. You don't know anyone,
you don't know where anything is. If someone steers you as far as a free
public terminal in the library, you can find a meal, a bed, more
realistic leads on real jobs, and a lot more. Seattle Crisis Resource Directory for the Homeless
Resources and information compiled by Wyoming Coalition for the Homeless 

International Shelter & Program information from the CSF archives Homeless Online A work in progress: "Our
ultimate goal is to provide resources, training, and jobs to the
homeless." HUD: If you are homeless ... " resource
links;list Other resource links
for people in need 


Just as the world wide web can connect lacemaking hobbiests from all
over the world with the suppliers of lacemaking tools, the web can also
connect people in need with people who have resources and want to help.
People in need help each other, also. Opportunities to help 


There was once a village beside a river. Every day a flood of babies
came floating down the river. The villagers hauled them out, doctored
and fed and adopted them. One day they sent an army uphill to find out
who was throwing babies in the river.

It is very necessary to feed the hungry person in front of you. It is
very necessary to help that person learn how to keep themselves fed. We
mustn't forget to keep the 1 out of 100 people in America who are hungry
and homeless from getting to that state in the first place. At least a
part of this will involve changes in our social systems. Working on social


How many homeless people are there in your town? How many of them are
children? What programs are currently serving homeless people? How
are they funded? How can you learn more about homelessness? Libraries of information 

Vision & Inspiration

Human creativity and change usually starts with a vision of what could
be, a dream. The people who express such visions so that others can see
and hear and touch them not only inspire us, but keep us perservering.

Visions on the Web Activist Art
Webring Art from the Streets of Wyoming StreetLife Gallery in Seattle Floaters Homeless Art Project 


Our homeless/low-income writer's group, StreetWrites, was once told
after a public reading, "A lot of us felt awkward when you read
something funny. We didn't think we were supposed to laugh about
homelessness." Humor is the strongest survival tool we have. Poor people
laugh about poverty a lot -- and about a lot of other things. Laughing
and playing together is as important a part of building community as
working together, helping each other, and fighting injustice side by
side. Laughter is an excellent tool in doing the last three, too.

Come play with us  Dr. Wes Browning's Bad Art Show Hobson's Choice : The
Game You Just Can't Leave 

[end forward]

Write On! / Anitra L. Freeman /
"Never doubt that a small group of imperfect people can improve the
world--indeed they are the only ones who ever have." Not Margaret Mead