After thinking long and hard about my topic for this month's column, I determined there are issues that should be brought to the forefront. My ultimate goal for the next few columns is to bring awareness to the community on diverse groups of all ethnic backgrounds sharing common goals.
Hard times have hit us all but imagine being a single parent making minimum wage, an elderly person deciding which is more important, medication or electricity. What if you made a bad decision and found yourself incarcerated?
Even though you did the time and paid your fines, you are unable to make a living or feel a part of society. Ever thought you might find yourself homeless or living in an abusive situation with no way out?
I went into the community and asked questions, listened to stories of young and old. I became mesmerized by the number of people who had family members, friends and colleagues who are a part of these diverse groups. It was a rude awakening and an awesome realization that it’s not just a few, but multitudes of stories I felt compelled to speak about.
I began to not just listen, but to hear what some people’s lives are like right here in our own community. Young people raising babies without being capable of taking care of themselves or being without any type of support system. Those becoming more and more depressed without realizing the extent of how they are affected both mentally and physically. The number of drug abusers is soaring out of control and elder abuse is running rampant.
These diverse groups cover more racial divides than most and include some that for many reasons have fallen by the wayside, largely through no fault of their own. Granted, many are victims of their own minds or environments, however, more are not. We grow up feeling invincible, ready to conquer the world, not knowing things change in the blink of an eye. All of a sudden this could happen to us all.
My next few columns will not only tell the stories of these diverse groups, but hopefully offer insight into causes and highlight organizations that are available to offer support, understanding and hope for brighter days.
Most people go about their day working hard and building for their future which nowadays is something to be very proud of. We grew up accepting responsibility and, like me, had no idea the numbers were so astounding. I personally cannot lose sight of the fact if it were not by sheer grace, this could be any one of us.
One of the most profound findings was the number of groups working so hard to help so many that people are not aware of. We wonder why some do not take advantage of assistance being offered. It never occurred some may simply not know these organizations exist. I have located a few in my fact-finding mission and hope to compile a list of agencies making an impact in the community.
Imagine the pride and perseverance of someone who after all the no’s, hears a yes. What about finding out there are medical companies that help absorb medical costs, computer programs offered at libraries or in some cases, medical and dental treatment for low income individuals. It is human nature to feel the pain of our fellow beings and though we may not want to be “our brother’s keeper,” we may know of those assisting in helping others and a word may go a long way to benefit someone in need.
Angel Roberson, mother and emergency room technician at Providence St. Peter Hospital for 11 years, is a member of The Olympian’s Diversity Panel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.