Friday, July 13, 2007

Stand Down in San Diego

Stand Down was started in 1988 by a group of veterans in San Diego, and due to it's great success, the practice has spread throughout the United States. Stand Down's are one to three day events where assistance is provided to homeless veterans. They offer such things as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, as well as referrals to services such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment. Volunteers and service organizations offer everything from haircuts to dental care. It's been estimated that approximately 40% of the homeless in San Diego are veterans, and Stand Down is an opportunity for both assistance and hope. It not only provides immediate, needed help to homeless vets, but brings together volunteers and service agencies who can form working relationships that will foster long term solutions to the problem.

The San Diego for John Edwards One Corps group will be working the clothing tent on both Saturday July 14 and Sunday July 15. I think it's a good weekend's work that ties in nicely with John Edwards' up-coming Road to One America tour.

According to the Edwards website:
On the eve of the tour on Sunday, July 15th, 2007, Edwards will take a walking tour of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. The tour will begin in New Orleans, Louisiana and travel more than 1,800 miles before ending on Wednesday, July 18th, in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, where Senator Robert F. Kennedy concluded his 1968 200-mile tour of impoverished regions in Southeastern Kentucky. The tour also includes a stop in Marks, Mississippi, where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. launched his 1968 Poor People's March to Washington, D.C.

The poverty that the Edwards tour will highlight and homeless veterans are different situations, but the thing that underlies both for me is that they're living symbols of inequity and injustice. I'm certainly not anti-capitalist, but without a doubt, our economic system has a number of negative effects on a society. Government is one of the few avenues to moderate the inequities of the system on a broad scale. One of the responsibilities of government is to maintain the public good. We've lost sight of that in this "every man for himself" consumer-driven world. Edwards get's that, I'm I really pleased that so many of his grassroots volunteers do too. They walk that walk.

Check out the Stand Down page at the Veterans Village San Diego for information about contributing, volunteering or attending this weekend's Stand Down in San Diego.



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