After stopping to give the gentleman in this photo some assistance, Jenni and I listened to his story, as well-dressed “good people” walking by would hurl snarky jabs, laughs, and vicious insults at him. These were not isolated incidences.
He looked at me and said,
“Sometimes they spit on me. I don’t know why. I am so down low right now, you know what I mean … who spits on somebody like that?”
I continually ask myself, “what is my role in our culture of violence and cruel apathy?” The “spitting” happens at many levels and in many ways; there is a cycle and hierarchy of cruelty. As I wrote in Voice of Reason, “The nature of oppression can be very tame, and often goes by the false name of civility.” Experiences like these are the reasons I toil daily for decency and enlightenment.
True progress for humanity is anything that takes us closer to supporting one another.
True progress for humanity is anything that takes us closer to supporting one another. Small acts of kindness between you and the individuals around you are the germination that springs into being, something as mysterious as life itself, and what may in fact be humanity’s greatest accomplishment — compassion for others. Let us all strive to cultivate a deeper and more meaningful desire to ease the burdens of others. Every person is a precious gift, and we are all like little children who yearn for acceptance, safety, and unconditional love. Let us all reach out with a hope that we could each bring some degree of happiness to other human beings. Let each of us lead a revolution of support in the lives of others.
Bless all those who suffer, especially those who spat on this frail man — for their suffering (though they are unaware) is infinitely more heartbreaking and profound.
2012 International Finalist in Ron Howard and Canon’s Project Imagination Competition — In 2012 this photo from my social photojournalism project with the homeless, “Faces of Poverty,” was picked by Ron Howard’s team as a finalist in Ron and Canon’s Project Imagin8ion. The photo was one of 30 selected in the mood category from over one hundred thousand total submissions.