Today, the Ella Baker Center, an Oakland-based human rights organization, is sponsoring a "Blog for Human Rights Day." The goal of this event is to talk about "US" - the challenges, triumphs, and battles going on in the United States over issues of human and civil rights. As our contribution, we would like to talk about Raymond Jackson, a gentleman we met only a few days ago. Ray is 79 and homeless, and has been in and out of various shelters all over the Bay Area for years. At first glance, he appears to be a tired old man. But after a few minutes of watching his flying fingers on the piano, you can't help but get up to sing and dance alongside him.
We met Ray at the St. Mary's Center in West Oakland - the shelter Miss Kay has recently been accepted into. The St. Mary's Center is unique in the sense of community that it builds, and the people who keep coming back to it long after their stay at the shelter has been completed. Ray himself stayed at the St. Mary's Center a few years ago, but has been returning off and on to share his musical talent and to lift the spirits of people who have suffered alongside him.
We would like to highlight Ray on human rights day in order to show the spirit that resides among the homeless population. Homelessness is an experience, not a trait, and the people who struggle through it are truly beautiful. Who would have known, looking at Ray's old and calloused hands, that his fingers could create such beautiful music?
You never know until you ask, and you never know until you listen. Join us on this Human Rights day to break the walls between one another and learn what Redemption is all about!