If you really want to feel better about the world, I can recommend one great place to go: the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless annual dinner!
The banquet hall at Xavier’s Cintas Center is packed with people on a cold December evening: homeless people, a big contingent of Drop Inn Center staff, hard working folk from all the other agencies who work with the currently homeless, the nearly homeless, those at risk of homelessness, those who have been homeless. Housing agencies are there, as are the families of those who will be receiving awards, lots of faith-based folk, everybody is there – the place is truly packed.
There’s just enough room for the silent auction items, a table to sell buddy gray’s poetry and Michael Hanson’s plus handpainted Christmas ornaments, enough room for the buffet line (yummy mashed potatoes and spicy green beans, says this vegetarian) – the rest of the huge room is packed with tables of people celebrating their hard work, their victories, pondering their losses, pondering homelessness in the richest country in the world.
Everyone in the room is a poet, judging by the introductions of the award winners, the acceptances by those who won, Georgine Getty’s State of the Coalition poem, which is destined to live well beyond it’s premier performance. David Logan, who’s traveled along a lot of roads himself, took us from Dickens’ 1850’s Bleak House to today’s Over-the-Rhine, with grizzled perceptions and much wry humor during his keynote.
The beauty of all those words, the realities and truth and resonance of them. With people like this alive and working to create the world I want to live in – there is no room for despair. And plenty of space for love and hope.