Saturday, July 23, 2016. It’s a hot day in Midtown Sacramento; a high of about 102° F. This was my first experience of this historic neighborhood that was so close to Downtown Sacramento. Luckily enough, I was accompanied by an amazing friend of mine that had grown up around the area and was planning on showing our friend and me around. We strolled around the district while passing by Victorian styled houses and charming small businesses. Even when we stopped to have lunch and cool down, there was unique art all over the quaint restaurant. The entire time I was in Midtown, I was captivated by the aesthetics of the alluring neighborhood.
Though the art scene was intriguing and the urban nature had a comforting feel to it, neither of these are my most treasure memory from my time visiting. What really impacted me was my meeting with a homeless man named Timothy Hughes (shown above).
My friends and I were walking around and got enticed by the graffiti art on many buildings and a few abandoned warehouses. After viewing the inside of a particular warehouse, we exited and were stopped by a homeless man that the locals know as the “Mickey Mouse Man” due to the stuffed Mickey Mouse doll he carries with him in his backpack. The man introduced himself as Timothy Hughes, and said he was amazed that kids our age could see graffiti more than just vandalism. He then told us about a spot where there was extremely detailed graffiti because he thought we would appreciate its beauty. I immediately felt a very kind vibe from this man. We said thank you and began to part ways when he stopped us again, this time to tell us his story.
Hughes had made his own path and started his own business, but it eventually went bankrupt. He had a high school diploma and further education (I’m not completely sure of the exacts so I won’t say), but ended up on the streets nonetheless. Despite the fact that he now was on the streets, Hughes had not resorted to drugs. He admitted to us that he was an alcoholic, as it runs in his family, but that he had been clean for 14 years. This shows a tremendous amount of strength.
When my friends and I met Hughes, he had not had any labor in 4 days. This could mean a couple days without necessities such as food ad water. The fact that the United States produces enough food to feed 10 billion people, yet about one-sixth of the country face hunger. That would mean that in 2014 around 53 million people were at risk of going hungry. To add to that, in January of 2015 there were 564,708 homeless people and there are 124.6 million households currently in American. These are issues that we need to shed light upon and spread awareness for. These are problems that we need to think about when it comes to fixing the economy. Focus on keeping your citizens alive and healthy, not on pointless aircraft and missiles that we won’t ever use.