Tag Archives: poverty

Death-row attorney’s message of hope amid injustice

At one point during Bryan Stevenson’s lecture on injustice and mass incarceration in America, the young man in his 20s seated next to me in the crowded auditorium quietly wiped tears from his face, trying to be as inconspicuous as … Continue reading

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‘Thanks for noticing’

I see plenty of unhappiness and misery in downtown Syracuse, but today’s encounter was heartbreaking. With my $7 lunch in hand, I strolled toward Columbus Circle, the city’s busiest pedestrian cut-through. I walked by the statue of Christopher Columbus, where … Continue reading

Posted in Homeless, Irish Investigations | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

A gift for James on his 50th birthday — a home

A few weeks ago I asked my homeless friend James what he thought about his upcoming 50th birthday. “It’s just another day,” he said as he sorted returnable bottles and cans before taking them to the redemption center. “Just another … Continue reading

Posted in Homeless, Irish Investigations | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

‘Community Build’ house looking more like a home

The “Community Build” project in Syracuse to house three formerly homeless men is nearing completion. Two months ago, a group of us from Upstate Medical University spent a day volunteering at the property, which was in pretty sad shape. We … Continue reading

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Army veteran to bicycle 10,000 miles around America

Brian D’Apice was backpacking half a world away when he dreamed up his next adventure, a 10,000-mile fundraising odyssey he’s calling “Bicycle Around America.” It’s exactly how it sounds. Brian, 30, of Glen Rock, Pa., will ride solo through every state on … Continue reading

Posted in Irish Investigations, poverty | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Is it worth the risk for a business to help the homeless?

An encounter in a restaurant today confirmed a pattern I’ve noticed in the treatment of my city’s homeless and destitute. I’ve come across several local businesses — restaurants, mainly — that extend kindness, either with free food or coffee, a place to … Continue reading

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Photo 101, Day 6: The human connection

“Connect” can be represented in many ways, literally and figuratively. I went for a little of both — the item on the table between these two people, and the concept of human connection. On the right is Eric, 46, a homeless man in Syracuse, … Continue reading

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Hidden-camera test of kindness: Good idea, but unfair prank

Yesterday morning I learned of a new video that’s making the rounds on social media, a hidden-camera exercise comparing people’s reactions to two individuals on crutches who “fall” on a city street. Of course I watched it, thinking that I’d … Continue reading

Posted in Homeless, hunger, Irish Investigations, peace, poverty, religion, role models | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

A 67-year-old man in a wheelchair dies, then gets smeared by internet trolls

The recent passing of Syracuse icon Gertis McDowell is instructive for two very different reasons. One, we can all learn from his upbeat attitude and the happiness he spread to strangers even when he was in pain. Two, we can try to … Continue reading

Posted in college, Irish Investigations, language, poverty, Technology, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

A tale of two visits to the dentist, American style

Health care disparities in America, Case No. 108,000,000: Two people go to the dentist on the same day. I am “Exhibit A,” fully insured. My friend is “Exhibit B,” on Medicaid. Exhibit A: Two hours before my appointment to get … Continue reading

Posted in Health care, Irish Investigations, poverty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments