Thank you, Pearl Jam, for being instrumental in shining a light on the real faces of homelessness.
Many of us, like myself, through many different situations, were unable to, for a time, retain a sustainable, independent roof over our heads. Some are currently in that situation — and many more people could be.
Community is what it’s all about — and Pearl Jam proved that. They connected with Rex Holbein and his organization, Facing Homelessness, to include his work. They used some images from his extensive collection of real people to show the real impact.
Another big part of the community are the 80-plus restaurants who participated by donating proceeds during the week of the shows. The campaign may have ended, but you should still show them love for being part of this citywide event.
I’d also like to include a special shout-out to the band members themselves! I was smiling and selling Real Change outside of both shows. During the Friday concert, Eddie Vedder held up a copy of Real Change with his bandmate, Stone Gossard, on the cover and asked everyone in attendance to buy one on their way out to support us. Eddie and Stone, my sales that night allowed me to pay my rent and eat. Thank you!
The next time you see me or any other vendor and you have $2, give them the $2 and take the paper — even if you already have one — and share it with others. As I’ve written about before, it is our responsibility to educate. And that is exactly what Pearl Jam did.
— Shelly Cohen is a Real Change vendor, an active board member, a member of the Vendor Advisory Board, a member of the editorial committee and part of the advocacy program. He was chosen as Vendor of the Year in 2016.
Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard talks Home Shows, homelessness with Real Change vendor
Pearl Jam Brings It Home
Another day on the job
“Sure, sign me up!” was my first thought when I was asked to be present at the Home Shows last month. The world famous musicians known as Pearl Jam, coming back to this great city to have a benefit fundraiser for the people most direly in need of attention and saving from their situations?
“This sounds like an amazing idea!” I said to myself with a grin as I went out to Safeco Field on those two days in one of the hottest months we’ve had in quite a while.
When I arrived at the event, I was met with the sight of hundreds of people hurrying just to get in line before eachother. The crowds went by as I sat down and went about my business of spreading positivity to go along with the event.
Time passed and, as the crowds continued to pass by, I felt an increasing sense of disheartening sadness that I, among the others who were at the event, were passed over by the majority of the crowds. The people that were the most in need by our economy’s standards — the ones who Pearl Jam were performing to benefit — were trying their absolute best to be recognized positively in an equal manner of being, but seemingly, as always, were ignored by the community.
Through all the interviews with news media and attention on both sides of the spectrum, I persevered and became stronger for it. The ones who stopped and shared my smile were the most beautiful of all the thousands who attended those nights. The ones who passed by and pretended we didn’t exist were the same as they always are, unaware of the suffering of those around them.
To some, the event was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To me, it was another day at the office and another chance to try and reach out, to be positive to the community. To whoever reads this and shares it with others, you’re truly someone special and this community needs to share in our happiness and I thank you for the smiles you share with me every day with lots of love!
— Matt Hill is a Real Change vendor and a member of Real Change’s Homeless Speakers Bureau.
Have something to say? Real Change accepts letters to the editor. Send a note to Interim editor Hanna Brooks Olsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit “Write the Editor.”
Check out the full Sept. 12 - Sept. 18 issue.
Real Change is a non-profit organization advocating for economic, social and racial justice. Since 1994 our award-winning weekly newspaper has provided an immediate employment opportunity for people who are homeless and low income. Learn more about Real Change.