Taking inspiration from Jimmy Kimmel’s “Public Service Announcement” segment in which he reads offensive tweets about himself in good-natured self-mockery, Canadian homeless charity Raising the Roof has launched a hard-hitting new campaign under the title Humans For Humans. The charity has released a video of homeless individuals reading abusive tweets about themselves. Raising the Roof has decided that it is time to change how we perceive the ‘tramps’ and ‘beggars’ on our streets, to replace such labels, and to recognise the humans sitting by the roadside.
And if you’re wondering why these guys are trying so hard to render us weeping, here’s just a few reasons. 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year. In March 2014, 841,191 people visited food banks because they couldn’t afford to feed themselves or their families. It’s amazing how many times we can turn a blind eye to the suffering of another human being — in fact it’s starting to take place on every street corner.
This growing pandemic is not confined to Canada, either. According to a UK homeless charity, Shelter, a family in Britain loses their home every 11 minutes. Homelessness is a real threat, affecting millions around the world.
So when callous remarks such as ‘Never understand why homeless people smell of piss when you can literally piss anywhere’ pop up on our Twitter feeds, it’s not hard to see what the issues are. Apparently, many of us don’t want to help. Homeless people have become piles of rags, sickening aromas, and dirty faces to us. Apparently, we have forgotten that beneath the exterior of unwashed clothes and weathered features, there is real skin and flesh which bleeds when coins are thrown at it. And human eyes with tear ducts that react when the world is cruel.
Let’s change the language that we use about the homeless (who already suffer enough) and remember the people beneath the quilts; the brothers, daughters, named human beings who need our help.
This new campaign has launched under the hashtag #HumansforHumans. For more details about how to support the movement, check out the Humans for Humans website where you can donate, find out more, and make a dent on an issue that has been ignored for too long.
Featured photo credit: Raising the Roof via youtube.com