Monday, October 17, 2011

Sleep with me! And hopefully a whole lot of other guys too!

Now that I've got your attention, if you haven't already figured it out from the picture above this post is not going to be about what you think, lol. Feel free to close the window/tab now if you think this is going to be about promiscuity, lol.

This post is about an initiative that one of my best friends has started to bring awareness to a very important issue, homelessness. I'll give you background real quick.

  • Baltimore (like many urban areas) has a problem with homelessness.
  • Baltimore City has a plan called "The Journey Home" that seeks to address homelessness over the next decade.
  • Most of us don't care until we see a homeless person: 1) at a light asking us for money or 2) somewhere we don't expect them to be. Sure we feel bad when we see a homeless person but we probably just keep on driving or walking away and five minutes later we're not even thinking about it (myself included).
  • Homelessness is a problem most of us accept but do not act to mitigate or alleviate.
Now for the part where my buddy comes in. In his recent article in the Baltimore City Paper entitled "Please Don't End Homelessness" (click that link) my friend Lionel Foster applauded The Journey Home but also raised the question, "Can we go even farther [than what The Journey Home plans for]"? The answer is undoubtedly yes and for that reason Lionel has taken it upon himself to come up with the following proposal:
"I want to sleep with the mayor. Seriously. I want to sleep with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, whose name is printed larger than anyone else’s right on the plan’s cover, outdoors for a night in front of City Hall to bring real attention to homelessness in Baltimore. And I’d like all of you to join us. The mayor and I would, of course, sleep in separate spaces. She’s married."
He challenges the mayor to pick a night where anyone that cares (that means me, you, you momma, and don't hide ya wife or ya kids, bring 'em) can come and sleep in front of City Hall in Baltimore to bring awareness to homelessness in the City. He's even created a website ( - click that link too!) where you can learn more, sign-up to sleep with the mayor (ha), and I'm sure in short order he'll have information up there about local organizations that aim to achieve some of the same goals that The Journey Home lays out and that he envisions.

I have to be honest and say that I oftentimes poke fun at Baltimore (with me being from the DC-urrrea) and some of it's "shortcomings" comparatively but Baltimore definitely has it's good points and not unlike DC, Baltimore has a problem with homelessness. More importantly, a few years ago I realized that if you're going to live some place you may as well (while you're there) do your part to make that place a better one. And that applies even if you know you won't be there forever. People often talk about making the world a better place and larger goals of world peace, ending famine, finding a cure for AIDS and cancer, and so on. But you can make an impact right where you are if you just make a little bit of time to put forth the effort.

And just in case you're immature (ahem, fellas)  and like to play along with the built-in joke to this awareness initiative, you can find a picture of Baltimore City's mayor (Stephanie Rawlings-Blake) at the Baltimore City website.

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