by Arenthian Bohannan
Rights. A moral ethical or legal principle considered as an underlying cause of truth, justice, morality or ethics.
Inalienable rights. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
For just over ten years I have stood in the lines, fought my way out of the bondage of addiction, fell back into the addictive cycle, and braved the elements. I have both overcome the odds and lost everything–even when I had everything going for me. The issue most prominent to me has been: Tonight, where will I sleep? There has been legislation proposed, asking for the “Right to Rest” to be granted to the citizens of Colorado.
The focus should be locked on the right to exist. From birth all homo sapiens have one goal: to continue existing. To cry when hungry or wet. To place cardboard on the ground to lie on. To ask our fellow Coloradans for financial (donations/support) help for food, travel, etc. I know of no outside area where law enforcement officials are exempt from telling an individual(s) to “pack it up.”
Who if cold would not wrap themselves in a blanket? Who if tired from a day-long trek across a city, would not seek a well-lit place to rest? This is about a demographic of disenfranchised, displaced humans, Americans, Coloradans, Denverites, not fighting to rest. They are fighting to exist.
Profiled by their scruffy appearance, backpacks stuffed with belongings, and their general area of habitation, these people either are, were, or will be criminals. How compassionless! How fearful, lazy and one-track-minded of an issue that you do not understand! Statistics will help you (legislatures and the public at large) understand root causes of homelessness. Habitual and chronic homelessness.
We don’t want to mess up the Capitol lawn, or turn Civic Center Park into a Los Angeles-esque Skid Row. We don’t want to set up tents outside of Coors Field. However, we do want to exist. I, just like every other American, was endowed with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Thomas Jefferson did not remind us of these rights that cannot be removed, just to direct them to the wealthy and stable citizens.