The tradition of honoring the dead is part of the culture in Latino-America; in some countries, families prepare altars to their relatives who are gone. These altars include flowers and the favorite dishes and drinks of the deceased. In some other countries, part of the celebration is to stay overnight in the cemetery and share food and favorite drinks with the dead, this is a joyful celebration in which people get close to the dead and at the same time celebrate life.
In Latino-American countries, the dead have a place in every day lives and people sing songs about death and laugh about it. People challenge death in many ways and talk about the dead in a florid language, “La Pelona.”
But here in United States, many Latinos lost their traditions and start celebrating Halloween as part of the need to blend in to the American culture. Day by day Latinos lost their cultural identity. Trying to integrate in a society that does not have respect for the living, even less for the dead, run by a government that does not have an agenda for all the people sleeping in the streets, seniors who have no access to medical care, and families living in extreme poverty. A government that with magic plans wants to disappear and hide all the homeless population so tourists can not see them, creating a false sense of well-being. Where society fools itself, making believe we live the American Dream and everybody is as happy as could be.
But these plans created by politicians to help people need to be more realistic in their approach, politicians need to do their homework on homeless people needs, because it is not for one small group of persons to decide on the future or the lives of many persons who have been affected by the infamous Care Not Cash.
That magic plan was supposed to end homelessness in the city but, as with many government measures, Care Not Cash is bound to failure since its creation. Because this plan does not offer real solutions or options to homeless persons, despite the entire media ruckus about housing for homeless people and Mr. Mayor giving out keys to a few individuals, the cold truth is this:
For most, Care Not Cash means less money and fewer services and not housing opportunities, because the housing solutions can only come from programs made to help people, not political agendas.
Now that election day is around the corner, we should ask candidates who is really willing to provide housing for the people… beyond campaign words and empty promises. Creating a real commitment for the people, and not for the interest of big companies. This is the moment to organize and take actions to protect the interests of the homeless population. This is the time to create social awareness, and to hold politicians accountable for their attacks against seniors, families and single adults. This is the time to put aside our differences, unite our strength and our voices to protect the homeless, we do not want more people sleeping in the street, no more families living in a single rooms, no more seniors struggling for health care.
We need to demand that politicians work for a fair solution to homelessness, and create affordable housing for everybody.