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Lives of Fresno’s Homeless Honored

by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Comcast.net)
A memorial service for homeless people who have died in Fresno over the last couple of years was held today.
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Lives of Fresno’s Homeless Honored
By Mike Rhodes

The lives of homeless people were honored today at Roeding Park. The first annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day included :

A Standing Circle
Prayer
Blessings-Sage Burning
The Six Directions
Naming the Departed
Testimonies

Al Williams, a homeless man in the Roeding Park area, spoke at the event. His wife Sherri, who died last Thursday, was the most recent homeless person to die on the mean streets of Fresno. Sherri needed surgery earlier this year to resolve several health issues, but was refused service at Community Hospital (they have a contract with Fresno County to provide health services for people who have no insurance and can’t afford the cost). At that time, Community Hospital gave Sherri a voucher for a taxi that left her in a dirt field. Some people call that patient dumping. Because of the conditions she was living in, Sherri’s health deteriorated and she was taken back to Community about a week ago. This time, she did not come back. Her life was honored at today’s memorial service. There will be an additional memorial service for Sherri on Saturday, January 5.

Pam Kincaid, another homeless woman who died this year, was also remembered. Pam was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the City of Fresno to stop them from taking and immediately destroying homeless peoples property. She died under extremely suspicious circumstances. For more information about the circumstances of Pam’s death, see: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/08/18/18441458.php

The Homeless Person’s Memorial day in Fresno was coordinated by a grassroots group of homeless advocates and homeless people. Some transportation was provided from a homeless encampment in downtown Fresno, but most homeless people attending were from the Roeding Park area. This was one of many homeless memorial services held throughout the nation. For more information about these events, coordinated by the National Coalition for the Homeless, see: http://www.nhchc.org/memorialday.html

For a list of articles and documents about the struggle for civil liberties for homeless people in Fresno, see: http://www.fresnoalliance.com/home/homelessness.htm

###
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The group stood in a circle and read the names of homeless people who have died in the Fresno area.
§Al, Jose, and Gloria
by Mike Rhodes
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Al Williams, Jose Luis Barraza, and Gloria Hernandez. All three were instrumental in organizing today’s event.
§At the Memorial Day
by Mike Rhodes
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All photos by Mike Rhodes
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Cynthia Chapman Manuszak
Mon, Dec 24, 2007 11:11AM
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