This month’s Home Van Journal has a guest writer: Tony Robinson, who was, until recently, a resident of Tent City. Tony is now living in the vicinity of Grace Market Place.
Captains and Kings and the Common Man
First of all, I give all praise to an all knowing, all powerful God. Second, I would like to thank the Gainesville community and its civic leaders for their efforts, time and monetary commitments to a place for those like me who at this time are less fortunate and struggling to live life in these trying times. I don’t know why we are all at this place and in these conditions. I don’t believe that 20, 10, or 5 years ago any one of us sat around and planned to be homeless, addicted, or physically or mentally ill. But I do know that it is a fact that we are all here. I have experienced many trying times as a homeless person, but also many good times and experienced a freedom like no other time in my life. I looked at pictures of the One Stop Center with all its tall fences and guard post. My first impression was, no I am not going in there. But I challenge myself and you to try to imagine and view the One Stop as exactly what it is named – the One Stop, and allow this place to be just that – one stop in our lives. A place of help, hope and rest. Let the One Stop be a place of growth, mentally, physically and spiritually where we are all given a chance to be the best we can be. A place where we can go not for pity, but a place for the betterment of ourselves, our community, our state, nation and world. A place where we can become strong enough to advocate for peace and for those less fortunate than ourselves. A place not of labels, but a place for one human family.
I want to thank all of you who came out and helped with moving people out of Tent City. Many thanks also to Occupy Gainesville and Ellen Allen of the Good Neighbor Society, who helped people move, and to Elizabeth Howard who walked Tent City making sure that no animals were left behind. Uncle Vinnie, a tent city resident, walked the woods near Grace Market Place scouting out campsites. After people moved he combed the grounds of Tent City gathering up items of value, like tarps and cooking pans, to distribute to the new campsites near Grace. GPD paved the way for our efforts by going tent-to-tent informing people of the eviction and passing out flyers about Grace Market Place. The folks out at Grace Market Place, and all the community volunteers, are working very hard to make this facility a gracious and welcoming place to all refugees of these difficult times. This was a true community effort. Anyone who experienced the terrible, traumatic eviction of Tent City a few years ago, appreciates how far we have come in getting to know one another – whether housed or houseless – and in learning to work together.
Our drive to gather tents and money to buy tents for those who have had to move is also being widely supported by the community. So far, I have had a tent for everyone who has come here to ask for one. I make sure that people know that these tents come from their friends in the housed community. They ask me to tell you, “Thank you and God bless you.”
love and peace to everyone,
The Home Van needs tents, tarps, bottled water, insect repellant, Vienna sausages, creamy peanut butter, jelly, candles, white tube socks, batteries, and games. Call 352-372-4825 to arrange for drop off. Financial donations to the Home Van should be in the form of checks made out to Citizens for Social Justice, Inc., earmarked for the Home Van, and mailed to 307 SE 6th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601, or can be made online at http://homevan.blogspot.com/