Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 Candlelight Vigil

Rabbi Joshua Caruso attended the 2010 to deliver a prayer for those who passed.
Chuck Germana, new County Council member, attended this year to represent Cuyahoga County. Photos by Kimberly Sandoval.

Advocates Remember 50 People Who Passed Away this Year

Thanks to all the members and friends who attended the 24th Annual homeless memorial day on December 21, 2010. We were honored to have new County Council member Chuck Germana attend the vigil. He represented the County as the new form of government takes the lead in addressing homelessness locally. We had Rabbi Caruso of Fairmount Temple who has provided a prayer in his fourth Vigil and Rev. Allen Harris from Franklin Circle Church offered a prayer. This year St. Patrick's opened up their doors and allowed us to do the vigil before the regular Tuesday night meal.

We read the names of 50 homeless people and a number of friends who served homeless over the last few years. The names will be posted on our website on Tuesday. A Plain Dealer photographer attended, but the memorial did not make the cut on Wednesday. Fox 8 attended and did feature the story, but did not post it online, so we cannot link to it. We will post a few more pictures on our website from the memorial.

This is one of 150 memorials taking place around the United States. This is the second year of December 21 designated as Ohio Homeless Memorial day. There were vigils in Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, and Cincinnati at various times on December 21. This is the 24th Vigil held in Cleveland, and by far the largest number of "friends of homeless people" were read at the 2010 event. We had Rita, the shelter director, killed, a former staff at Lakeside passed, and advocates who worked to provide food or a reduction in the number of people experiencing homelessness. Typically, we have one or two people on the friends on the list. This year, there were seven.

Homeless people are often forgotten in our society and have become a fixture downtown who typically blend into the surroundings. The least we can do as a society is take time during the holidays to remember those who experienced homelessness at their death. The Candlelight vigil is the most important event for the Coalition of the whole year. We pause to light a candle with other low income and homeless individuals along with advocates and those working in the shelters to remember the friends who we lost this year.

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