116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Your front page Thanksgiving story "Living on the streets" leaves me struggling to write. The large color photo of Johnny Ray Delgado and Mary Sand is beautiful and heartbreaking. I thank Delgado and Sand for their willingness to be the visual representation of the "unsheltered," the homeless; "people … sleeping in the streets on a nightly basis.“ Delgado and Sand are living in a tent in "a little-known village of homeless people" in Cedar Rapids. Elijah Decious writes to make "homeless people" real, and their front page presence brings them inside our homes. Yes there are statistics, and numbers of people ("unhoused") counted by "homeless outreach workers" whose jobs are made evident in the article too.
The contrast between post-Thanksgiving Small Business Saturday frenzy and other shopping events — and Delgado and Sand living in a tent — is vibrantly clear to me. My Thanksgiving meal — three different pies — shamed me, because as I sat down to eat, I imagined the "number we don't like to discuss," the people living in the homeless encampment in Cedar Rapids, the people Decious got to know in order to write his story. This front page story is also in contrast to a commonly used phrase: I love my country. I hope that love extends to Delgado and Sand. Saying "I love my country" is easy. Is it also meaningless?
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