Lindsay Marks 6 p.m., Dec. 5
When I think of "The Removal" I think about the stories my grandmother would tell us about how our people came to be in Oklahoma. I am Seminole. A proud member of The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. She said our people fought to stay in Florida but Andrew Jackson had signed into law The Indian Removal Act of 1830. She tells of heart wrenching stories of our people being forced from their native homelands and made to walk on a long bitter trail to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). From the oldest to the youngest walking , walking to a place nothing like home. I quickly fast forward to 2009. I am homeless in downtown San Diego. I am the one who sits on my duffle bags by the library, waiting for 9pm to hit so I can set up my "quarters". I am the one who wakes up at 5am to gather my belongings and hide them while I go to school from 7am to 12pm Monday through Friday. You see, the reason I'm writing this is because I want people to hear me. I want people to understand that I don't want to live on the sidewalk but, I have to. Where else would I sleep? I am homeless and the shelters are full. I don't want to stand in long lines that go around city blocks to eat a meal but, I do. It stops the hunger pangs I feel. I don't want to pull my bags of belongings that I hold dear to me everywhere I go but, I do. I don't want it to mistakenly get thrown in the garbage for, it holds the only picture I have of my mother. It is her obituary program. I wish people would understand that there are a few of us homeless that are not the typical begging, drunk, drugged out, spaced out, filthy homeless. We take showers everyday and try and make sure our clothes are clean. We don't poo or urinate in the streets or sidewalks. We go to the port-a-potties on C street by the Jack In The Box. (Thank you Mr. Ross). We are searching for jobs, we are going to school. It is just very hard right now. So please when you pass me don't look at me with disgust. I might jump up and sock you. (just joking). No, I wouldn't do that but, I do want you to know that it does hurt to see you look at me like your poo don't stink. I tried not to get angry Tuesday when I was told I couldn't keep my spot on the sidewalk by the Post Office. I had been there for about a month and a half. I was used to being there and was getting to know some of the other ladies that were going through some similar dilemnas. Some had recently lost their jobs which led to them losing their homes. Which led them to the sidewalk and being my neighbors. I don't know where we will go, the last two nights I slept in two different places because I don't know where to go. I will try and find a different spot tonight because I refuse to be around the drunks and druggies. I have to go to bed early and get up early because of school. I am a 4.0 student with perfect attendance and I'm trying my best to hang in there. It is so hard but with determination and the Grace of God I will succeed. I believe that education is the key to survival in 2009 and beyond. I will go back to Oklahoma in a few months after I graduate. I will tell them about the Removal process the homeless people are experiencing in San Diego. I'm just glad the process of Removal in San Diego is not by FORCE.