“Hope is being able to see that there is light, despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu
I had the opportunity to interview with KITV a couple of days ago, and was initially hesitant about doing it because of how personally sensitive this topic is to me. But I knew that the only way their stories would get exposure is if I’m willing to put myself out there with them. I hope that the viewers can see what Dedy and I share in common as human beings, as opposed to setting us apart because he lives on the streets and I don’t.
I was really touched by Dedy’s willingness to share his thoughts and feelings about life on the streets, as well as his view on the project itself. I felt a sense of pride as I listened to his responses to the reporter’s questions — he finally had his opportunity to share his story. We were both a little nervous, and we talked about it before the reporter arrived. He was actually reassuring me about the project, and that the interview would be good. It was heartwarming.
We spent an hour just sitting, chatting, and I even managed to study a little for my final exams. I think it really does shake the senses for some people to see me sitting there next to him, with a law textbook propped open and scribbling around in a notebook; while he’s listening to the Backstreet Boys and eating a burger. As we talked more about his life, I asked him about his hopes and dreams. What were they?
Dedy had wanted to be a firefighter growing up. His dream was to be in a helping profession.
Unfortunately, his circumstances during his younger years posed certain challenges and he never graduated from high school. Some would say it was partly because of his life choices, and partly because of circumstances beyond his control. Regardless of the past, I asked him what he looks forward to in the life that he has today. He wants to continue working and would like to get a better job to afford a small studio. I asked if he would consider going to a community college if he were to get a GED, and he was definitely open to those kinds of options.
I smiled and immediately told him “You can do it!” I know it’s possible. I shared my personal story with Dedy, about my challenges and experiences with homelessness. I told him that I believed in him, that if he wanted to get his GED, he could do it. There are stories out there of people who were homeless and went on to get an education. I could see the sparkle in his eyes and shared a smile in knowing that anything is possible, and as long as we’re alive there is still an opportunity to turn things around or go down a better path.
I really hope that the project gets funded so I can have his opportunity to continue humanizing homelessness in Hawai`i, and to give them an option in safeguarding their IDs and important documents. Until then, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed and anxiously waiting to see what airs this Sunday morning and evening on KITV.