The Homeless Are NOT Lab Rats
This planet we call home is populated by over 6.7 billion people. Every one of us is unique, every one of us beautiful and every one of us has a purpose. Whether we were born in Uganda or Uzbekistan, Nigeria or Norway, China or Chile – despite the colour of our skin, the religion we follow or the beliefs we hold – every single last one of us is human.
Unless you’re living in New York City, where two hundred residents were outed this week as being a new species of rodent. They may bare all the physical characteristics of human beings but beneath the surface they are nothing more than a scavenging rat that deserves no ounce of kindness, compassion or dignity.
Don’t believe me? Then read the study that was released, in which 200 struggling families are being left to fend for themselves. Where these in-need human beings should be offered help and support they are being left to fend for themselves and face possible death – all in the name of data collection. They are lab rats to a system that has decided they are not worth caring about.
Even the mayor of New York has come out to defend the action:
“In the end, we are only going to spend money on things that work, so we have to find out what works.”
Mayor Bloomberg (on WOR-AM Radio)
If the only way we can find out what works and what doesn’t is to put already desperate human beings at even greater risk, what does that say about our society?
What does it say about our humanity, or lack thereof?
For a moment I want you to imagine you are in their position. Imagine not knowing if you are going to be able to afford your home, feed your family. Imagine that you have lost your home and are having to sleep on the street, or pack your family into the back of a car to risk a cold night in some random off the beaten track location. Wouldn’t you want to receive help? Wouldn’t you want to know that there was someone you could turn to in your hour of need? Would you be able to ‘pull yourself up from the bootstraps’ when your entire world has collapsed from around you and the only place you could have turned to you’ve been banned from attending – all in the name of research?
The actions of this study are inhumane, disgusting and continue to prove where we as a society are headed; less compassion for our fellow human beings and a greater divide between the haves and have nots.
If we’re not careful things will only get worse and God knows what will happen then.
We Are Visible
The only thing those perpetrating the study have forgotten is that we are not invisible. We homeless, we poverty stricken, we discriminated and objectified are visible. We will not go quietly into the night, we will not vanish without a fight. We’re going to live on, we’re going to survive. Even if it means having to indiscriminately quote Bill Pullman movies, we will stand up for what is right and urge the rest of the world to do the same.
- Please, sign the petition against this action (and get your friends to as well!)
- Please, blog about this action (as hard as you can!)
- Please, tweet about this action as much as you’re able (with the hashtag #wearevisible)
- Please, support World Homeless Day (on 10 October 2010)
- Please, visit www.wearevisible.com (and join the revolution)
The 200 people left to fend for themselves are human beings, just as you are a human being. Just as we are all human beings. Remember that always.
- The Business of Harm and Neglect: NYC Experiments With At-Risk Families (homelessness.change.org)
- Where Do Homeless Activists Go From Here? (homelessness.change.org)
- Blogging Without Walls – Homeless Bloggers (blogher.com)
- We Are Visible Brings New Voices to Homeless People (chris.pirillo.com)
- We will be seen, we are visible (osocio.org)