City’s homeless presenting ‘Speak On It! Voices from the Streets’ workshop at SF Public Library

A unique event is taking place at the San Francisco Public Library later this month: A group of homeless individuals will speak out about their experiences living on the streets, negotiating shelter systems, and the numerous boundaries they face in accessing care and support.

‘Speak On It! Voices from the Streets’ is a project created by the Coalition on Homelessness, an advocacy group working on the ground to help protect the rights of homeless individuals in San Francisco.  For years the Coalition has run a Homeless Speaker’s Bureau, which trains individuals on public speaking skills, communications, and media interviews. While many participants in this group have spoken at smaller engagements, the event on March 22 will be the first of its size in front of a public audience.

“Often times, when decisions are made that impact the homeless community, homeless voices are left out of the conversation,” said Bilal Ali, one of the organizers of the event and a human rights organizer at the Coalition. “When homelessness comes up in the media, the issues are discussed by ‘experts’ rather than homeless people themselves. Homeless people are the ones who are actually experiencing homelessness and they are the real experts about solutions.”

With over 7,000 homeless people living on the streets of The City, this type of event could be a useful beginning to bridging the divide between communities. ‘Speak On It! Voices from the Streets’ will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Hispanic/Latino Meeting Room at the San Francisco Public Library.

More information about the event can be found on the Facebook event page. Space may be limited, so participants are asked to RSVP for free here.

Nuala Sawyer
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Nuala Sawyer

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