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.

Comments

CuddleFish Oct. 29, 2009 @ 9:56 a.m.

Thank you so much for this thread, cre0. You are an amazing writer. I look forward to reading more.

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SDaniels Oct. 29, 2009 @ 10:41 a.m.

Brava, cre0! I am honored to read your inaugural blog entry, and be the first to comment.

You say the shelters are full--does this include the women's shelter downtown, right off B'way and the 163 off ramp? Kate's, is it called? We used to live in the Church Lofts right across the street, and it seems like an ok place.

What about the San Diego Rescue Mission? I thought they took mainly women and children. If you like, AG and I can research some places for you, unless you feel like you have exhausted all of those possibilities.

AG is busy with school today herself, but was wondering if you have checked into any of the local tribes in SD, who have had so much success with the casinos. Could they have any programs that might be helpful, for which you might qualify? We can look into this too, if you think it helpful.

What also might be something to do: Submit a longer story to the Reader for a cover: Include interesting detail about your family's traditions and life in OK, interspersed with passages about Seminole history, and how your family fits within this history. Maybe consider in this piece how your growing up and your ultimate landing where you are in SD, perhaps, might have been affected by, and to some extent determined by this larger history of "removal?"

If we can get some media attention on you for your writing, and for your extraordinary efforts, staying in school with a 4.0 while you are homeless, maybe some opportunities will arise. I hope you do not think me too forward for suggesting these things, and let me know if I should back off.

We are just very interested in your story, Cre0, and sad to see you in this predicament. Please write more soon :)

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SDaniels Oct. 29, 2009 @ 10:42 a.m.

Correction: Honored to be THIRD to comment. Where did you guys come from all of a sudden!? :)

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CuddleFish Oct. 29, 2009 @ 10:49 a.m.

LOL We snuck in behind your back! :)

Anyway, great post and I second all you said! xxx

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cre0 Oct. 29, 2009 @ 11:20 a.m.

Thank you, thank you so much! (as i bow) Yes! I totally agree about putting in more informative info on my next blog. It made me smile that you enjoyed it. As far as the shelters. For one thing it has to be close to downtown because of school. I don't have transportation. I stayed in the Rescue Mission from July 31st (ironically, my birthday) til September 15. you are only allowed to stay for 30 days (unless you get an extension). It is mainly for women with children, they come first. which is the way it should be. I actually got in at St. Vinny's right after I left the Rescue mission. I was there one week. They give you a list of Shared Living Responsibilities (chores)after you get your bed. that was fine with me. I don't mind chores, I've been doing 'em all my life. the problem I had was, they scheduled my chores during the hours I'm in school. You get points knocked off for not "doing your chores, during your assigned times". I didn't do my chores because I was in school. I ended up leaving after 4 days. The other places I've checked into, you either have to be a veteran, have kids, be on drugs or be an alcoholic, and finally you have to have a mental disorder. I've decided to avoid the shelters. I only have a few more months. i just wish I could find a safe place away from the drugs, and the drunks, and the gangbangers. Well actually, there were a couple of gangsters who actually would look out for us ladies on the block by the Post Office. Now we are scattered, finding any cubbyhole or space we can find to set up at night.

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antigeekess Oct. 29, 2009 @ 11:42 a.m.

AG couldn't stand it. I'll go back to studying in a minute. :)

Wonderful first entry, cre0. We want to help with your situation. We'll come up with something. I'm no longer in San Diego, or you'd be sharing the sofa with my cat already. You're young and female, and you need a safe place. And a WARM one. It's starting to get cold.

An attempt at media attention is a good idea. Why don't you hit up the local TV news websites? How about a search of all the management companies in San Diego, to see if one of them might donate a unit to you for a couple of months? Churches? ALL of them. Surely you would have some luck there.

It's hard for me to imagine that any of these organizations would allow a bright young female student to be out on the streets, and that no one will come to your aid. It's gotta happen.

And yes, I'm a buttinsky. :)

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antigeekess Oct. 29, 2009 @ 11:44 p.m.

cre0, just thinking of you and hoping that you are well and safe this evening. Please let us hear from you tomorrow.

Ideas & possible sources of help for you to consider:

http://www.kumeyaay.info/california_indian_peoples/social_services/

(I don't think it matters what tribe you are.)

http://www.sandiegohostels.org/hostels/downtown.shtml

Hostels cater to young people and students. You might see if they will let you stay for no fee, assuming they're not full.

You probably know these already:

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&source=hp&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=%22san+diego%22+homeless+assistance&fb=1&gl=us&hq=homeless+assistance&hnear=%22san+diego%22&view=text&ei=x4nqSt3xOYbssQOWqfDmCA&sa=X&oi=local_group&ct=more-results&resnum=4&ved=0CB8QtQMwAw

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&view=text&hl=en&gl=us&q=%22san+diego%22+churches&btnG=Search+Maps

Do you know what a "foreign exchange student" is, cre0? Normally, two families in different countries sort of swap their kids so each can have the experience of another country. A host family who's used to doing that sort of thing might host you.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&view=text&hl=en&gl=us&q=%22san+diego%22+%22foreign+exchange+students%22&btnG=Search+Maps

You can email your fingers off looking for help, but do you have any access at all to a phone? How about a bus pass?

Keep us posted.

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