Walk a Mile in My Shoes

 

On April 8, 2018, members of the community of Fayetteville, Arkansas, gathered at the Seven Hills Homeless Center for a mile-long march to raise awareness on the rising living costs combined with the increasing homeless population. The march was titled, "Walk a Mile in My Shoes", as the route was one of the most common that the homeless in Fayetteville are forced to walk, from the shelter to the town center. The co-operation, empathy and love displayed by the community was staggering. Both homeless and non-homeless participated. The march was in large part hosted by Seven Hills Homeless Center, a local homeless shelter that often finds themselves between a rock and hard place when it comes to sufficient funding and manpower. This march not only raised awareness of the situation, but also what was being done by the city and Seven Hills to address it and the obstacles they were facing.

 The march begins.

The march begins.

 Marchers take to the street from the sidewalk.

Marchers take to the street from the sidewalk.

 The march leader waits at a crosswalk for the police to come and stop traffic.

The march leader waits at a crosswalk for the police to come and stop traffic.

 A young man shows a "homeless lives matter" sign halfway through the march.

A young man shows a "homeless lives matter" sign halfway through the march.

 When the march was over, everyone gathered in the town square to hear speakers including Mayor Jordan and a homeless man, who was also employed as an engineer, give his testimony. The crowd, both homeless and non, was overwhelmingly emotional as speakers showed enormous empathy and called for lasting change in the community.

When the march was over, everyone gathered in the town square to hear speakers including Mayor Jordan and a homeless man, who was also employed as an engineer, give his testimony. The crowd, both homeless and non, was overwhelmingly emotional as speakers showed enormous empathy and called for lasting change in the community.

 "It's the American Dream" a woman beside us responded when I asked him about the shoes he was displaying as a sign, "it may have been great once, but now it's an out of date, beat up, useless idea. Especially for the people we're marching for today. It just doesn't work anymore."  "I'm glad someone understands" he responded.

"It's the American Dream" a woman beside us responded when I asked him about the shoes he was displaying as a sign, "it may have been great once, but now it's an out of date, beat up, useless idea. Especially for the people we're marching for today. It just doesn't work anymore."

"I'm glad someone understands" he responded.

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 A young boy squats next to a marcher as the mayor speaks.

A young boy squats next to a marcher as the mayor speaks.

 Two women embrace in a moment of compassion as a homeless man stands in front of the crowd to tell his story.

Two women embrace in a moment of compassion as a homeless man stands in front of the crowd to tell his story.

 A homeless woman (left) and a non homeless couple (right) in tears as they applaud the mayor for introducing new policies to help the homeless, as well as pledge $160,000/year out of the city's budget towards the homeless shelter.

A homeless woman (left) and a non homeless couple (right) in tears as they applaud the mayor for introducing new policies to help the homeless, as well as pledge $160,000/year out of the city's budget towards the homeless shelter.

They City of Fayetteville is facing an epidemic of an increasingly more expensive standard of living and an exploding homeless population. It's impossible to walk downtown without seeing at least a handful of homeless on the street. Some are happy, others, like the woman pictured above, are desperate for change. Organizations such as Seven Hills are fighting every day for this change. If you feel moved to help, you can click here to donate to Seven Hills Homeless Center and come alongside them as they fight for equal opportunity in standards of living.