These are just two out of the 50 local homeless people who died in 2011, and 50 out of the thousands nationwide who die each year from illness, exposure or violence.
“I work with people who live on the streets every day and have come to understand that they are members of the very same human family to which I belong,” says Michael Menchaca of the Homeless Health Care Project of North Hollywood. He decided that the homeless deserved to be recognized and took his idea for a homeless memorial service to Juliana Serrano, director of the Office for Creative Connections at All Saints Pasadena. She embraced the idea.
“I am delighted,” she said, “that we can start the tradition of an interfaith service open to everyone who wants to give honor, respect and dignity to our brothers and sisters who died virtually unnoticed in our community.”
A memorial will be held this Friday and followed by a reception where anyone can offer an individual eulogy. Dozens of organizations who serve the homeless will be present honoring those lost and providing information about resources.
“This memorial offers us an opportunity to respect the dignity of those who were marginalized by the conditions of homelessness,” says Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints. “Every person has equal and sacred value.”
Michael Menchaca summed it up by stating, “A memorial to those who died would be (a) public declaration that they mattered.”
All are welcome.
Interfaith Homeless Memorial Day Service
Friday, December 16, 6 p.m. (reception at 7 p.m.)
All Saints Pasadena
132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena
For further information or to add a name to the list, call 626.583.2721 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org