Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011-12-22 "Vallejo, Fairfield join national vigil on the longest night to remember the people who've died homeless" by Jessica A. York from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
For more information about the National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day, visit For assistance and resource referrals across Solano County, call 211.
For several minutes at dusk Wednesday, Vallejo City Park was filled with the continuous "ting" of a chime being struck around a candle-lit circle.
For each chime, someone in the gathering of more than 50 people was recalling a person who died without a home in the area.
Vallejo took part for the first time Wednesday in the Homeless Person Memorial Day, a 21-year-old event by the National Coalition for the Homeless. The event, held simultaneously with an inaugural event in Fairfield, was put together with the help of 10 agencies across Solano County, and led by the county's Healthcare Advisory Committee. It is designed to fall annually on the longest night of the year.
The Rev. Rey Bernardes, founder of Vallejo's only homeless shelter, the Christian Help Center, provided the eulogy and reminded those gathered that death often provides the spark to expand others' awareness, rather than put an end to a movement.
William DeLori, who spoke at the event, said he spent three years homeless before finding both housing and the education to learn to read in Vallejo in 2008.
"I was lost and I was found," DeLori said, recalling the days he camped across Vallejo before being ousted each time. "We were trying to live, trying to survive."
Following the ceremony, DeLori said it was past time for the city to be recognizing the deaths of its homeless people.
Nearby, Ida A., who asked not to share her last name, said the ceremony was a "beautiful spiritual event." Ida said she has been off the streets for four years after "a long time" without a home, but often finds herself reconnecting with the close friends she made while leaving on the street. She called Wednesday's event a "homecoming celebration."
"Hopefully this brings out more love and understanding for what's going on," Ida said of homelessness issues.
Megan Richards, the advisory committee's program manager, said the memorial event is designed to celebrate the lives of those homeless persons who died in the previous year. As this was Vallejo's first event, she said it is more loosely defined.
"This event is to remember those who have passed away without a home," Richards said before the event. "A lot of those people don't get memorial services."
Through donations, items like coffee, bread, blankets and socks were distributed to those in need after the event.

A woman named Ida A., center, along with other members of the community hold up candles to remember those who have passed on during the Solano County Homeless Persons' Memorial held Wednesday at Vallejo City Park. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)

No comments:

Post a Comment