In the 80’s, my Uncle Ray was your typical rural factory or farm worker in the southern town of Hartford (pop. 2500). He lived in a modest apartment. He had a significant other. He had friends.
In his early 30’s his twin sister, my Aunt Renee, died in a tragic accident. Her death struck our entire family in devastating ways; but Uncle Ray took her death the hardest.
I didn’t witness his mental decline first hand. My granny would make comments about Ray not working or bathing–Ray was not well. This man, who’s life was once full of promise, was virtually the only homeless person in podunk Hartford, AL.
When I did visit, I’d see my dirty and disheveled uncle walking down the neighborhood streets with his new companions: two stray dogs.
I would stop him and speak. I’d take his picture and carry on. My Uncle Ray was content–what could I do to change him?
When he passed away, friends and family came together to host a funeral service for Uncle Ray. My cousin sent me an image of his body in the casket. We do this in the south. I know not why.
It was the best I’ve seen him look in 25 years.
I say all that, to say this: A life, no matter how insignificant, deserves the dignity of remembrance.
Join us on Monday, Jan. 24 as we honor the lives of over ninety homeless souls lost in the city of Tampa in 2021.
IN MEMORIAM | A HOMELESS MEMORIAL 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24
Outdoors near Homeless Jesus Sculpture
Together we’ll read, sing and pray over the names of these mothers, fathers, sons and daughters– all who deserve the honor of a memorial service.
Chalette M. Davis
Events & Missions
O: 813.222.2299 | M: 813.951.6974
1001 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
Conversation. Connection. Community Change.