I'm not an expert on homelessness, but I have visited several hundred homeless services agencies while traveling to over a hundred cities in North America. I have to say that what I experienced at the Royal Opera House in London, England may be coolest thing ever. It was the first time in history that homeless people have been given an official platform at the celebrations of an Olympic Games.
Streetwise Opera, an amazing organization that uses music to bring awareness to the general public and self-worth and dignity to our homelessness friends, held the event with 300 of our homeless friends from around the UK.
Taken from their website I just love how Streetwise started:
When an MP in the 1990s was quoted as saying that the homeless were the people you step over when you come out of the opera house, the residents at the Passage nightshelter in Westminster saw this as an opportunity to turn the tables - if they were in a professional opera production themselves, that would help change the public's perception of them and turn stigma into celebration.
Near the end Matt Peacock, Streetwise's founder and chief executive, closed the night by thanking everyone and sharing a little bit about the vision. The event brought attention to homelessness alongside the high-profile 2012 Olympic Games using talents such as film production and music without any mention of poverty or any depressing conversations that normally accompany the topic.
This event was so amazing and being connected with the Olympics so awesome Matt and Streetwise have already started planning for a similar event at the Olympics in Rio 2016. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION to make sure the voice of our homeless friends is heard at future Olympic Games.
Huge thanks to my Jenny Edwards and Matt Peacock for inviting me to this history-making event. For me, the best part of the night was watching so many people on the stage just glow with smiles. We need more programs like Streetwise to help our homeless friends get their self-esteem back. Please support Streetwise and programs like them.
Follow Mark Horvath on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hardlynormal