It's a Tuesday night, which means that many of Mikey's friends are there tonight, at City Hall to sleep outside as an act of protest and solidarity. For 92 Tuesdays, since Santa Cruz made sleeping in public illegal, activists and friends have slept in the street there, and sometimes in the porticoes of City Hall itself--as a moral witness to the dignity of homeless friends and the need for action and compassion in our city.
I met Michael a couple of times over the years. The first time, I nearly hit him with my car. He was kind of dancing, kind of wobbling across the traffic at Mission Street and Center. He was barefooted, as I learned he often was, and half-naked. He considered clothing kind of optional, and refused warm sleeping bags from friends in favor of a simple blanket for nighttime sleeping. I pulled over that day and checked on Mikey. He wasn't in the greatest shape that day, and I called a paramedic over to assess his need for a doctor and some kind of treatment. When the paramedics arrived, they were great with Mikey, as so many folks were. They knew him, and trusted him; and he trusted them too.
|Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs|