Fight for the Good Life! – Homeless Demands

Bonnie Contreras, Photo by Adam Gottlieb

PTLN 3.21.21

“Fight for the Good Life!”

Homeless Union demands rights of the homeless be respected

By Bonnie Contreras, President, Chicago Union of the Homeless

Me becoming homeless was because I was in a domestic violence relationship, so I had to make a choice. This was after I got hit by the car that came up on the sidewalk while I was waiting for the bus to go to work. I wound up almost dead. I worked 15 years of my life before I got disabled, worked as a registered nurse.

I’m speaking up for all homeless people. I knew a veteran who fought for this country, he was incontinent, so instead of getting him some medicine they put him put on the street. He was out there for two and a half years, rain sleet and snow. My companion had him come in our tent to show him somebody cared. He died in February last year, my companion is the one who found him, he had froze to death. They did not do right by him, that is a very hurtful thing to me.

From my experience being a disabled homeless woman, it don’t make no sense that the country we are living in be named “united”, cause there ain’t nothing about it united. When they wrote “we the people” they didn’t tell us they were talking about people that have power, the people that got the money.

The Constitution doesn’t say you only have rights if you’re in a house or have a job. We the people, not no specific race. I can’t stand racist people, the reason is not because I’m Black, not one particular race, cause all our nationalities have had a struggle and have went through something, all of them.

We formed a Union of the Homeless here in Chicago four months ago, in October. The Chicago Union of the Homeless was able to put people in hotels. The government gave $200 million to the police – for what? They ain’t doing nothing but killing us.

Homeless people want what everyone wants, to wake up in bed, in an apartment. Housing is a human right. You’ve got 465 vacancies in Cabrini Green alone. Clean up these buildings and put homeless people in there. Give us access to those things and stop withholding them.

If we were united none of this could be done to us. When you look outside of yourself, that’s how you grow. If I break bread you break bread. I want to be equal and we’re not equal in this country. We’ve given our power away. I want to fight this government till God takes me home.

We show people that there are people out there that are willing to fight back. We are tired of being stepped on! Give us access to the things we need. We need to stand together and not look down on each other, not just the homeless but all of us. When you put us all together, like in gumbo, once you put it all together you get a full, wonderful meal.

If we put our differences aside we will be a beautiful nation, not divided. I am going to encourage my brothers and sisters to fight for the good life, fight for our lives. I feel in my heart if we all come together we will get what we need.

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