December 8, 2011

Unclaimed Position


Yesterday we served coffee and oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs while security guards hired by the business association took photos of the homeless in line. They’ve done this regularly since the police and county health inspectors tried chasing the food servers away earlier in the year.

How about the position of the homeless in downtown L.A.: Being photographed in order to receive a free breakfast.

Afterward, my friends and I attended a burial ceremony to commemorate the year’s unclaimed bodies in the city.

There’s a reasonable chance some of those bodies ate food prepared by my friends.


Here's the latest on the breakfast line.

49 comments:

Brian Miller said...

the picture taking is rather odd...

cool on the ceremony, at least for the honor given to the unclaimed...sad a bit though..

Ed Pilolla said...

not the strongest photo, for sure. we give out hard boiled eggs with oatmeal and coffee, so it's at least accurate. i didn't take photos of the security guards becuz some of these guys are good guys who don't like doing what their boss tells them to do but they are from skid row and don't want to lose their job.

ayala said...

Sad...The ceremony is honorable to pay last respects to those forgotten.

Pat Hatt said...

Food for a picture, seems harmless enough but a bit exploitive too. Sad there even has to be such a ceremony, but nice that it was done.

Betsy said...

so they photograph them so they can have a way to identify them later if they need to?

At least they had a good breakfast! :)

Yvonne Osborne said...

The cops are being forced to do a lot of things I think they'd rather not be doing, like throwing all those books in the garbage at the Occupy Wall Street site. I found some pictures of that mess and posted them. Being in the egg business, I like your photo and there is nothing more nutritious than hard boiled eggs. Good job!!

Marion said...

It's sad they have to go through that invasion of privacy to get a meal. I'm pretty pissed right now with our government in general. This is just another slap in the face of poor, honest people. Thanks for sharing this, Ed.

Prov. 14:31 "Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God."

suvaiba said...

okay so you might feel funny but i think the picure is kinda cute ... and its enigmatic too..! dnnoe why bt i feel the same.
:) and yet again i so wish to read these tiny details..! :)


tc

darlin said...

My goodness, like those waiting in a food line haven't already swallowed their dignity enough... that's so bloody pathetic that somebody would actually have the nerve to photograph those who are in need of a meal. This irritates me.

That's so awesome you are out there doing your part in helping Ed, you are to be commended for all that you do. My heart goes out to those who have been forgotten about, may they rest in peace.

People seem to forget that they too could end up in that food line, or be one of the forgotten. It happens.

Madhulika said...

oohh.. it must be really very awkward for the people in the queue...

EcoGrrl said...

thank you. for your presence. for bearing witness.

French Fancy... said...

Lost for words really but do admire the spirit behind the food giving. Greetings to you Ed.

Joshua said...

You're a good egg, Ed. Intentional pun, but no less accurate.

Ed Pilolla said...

the photos taken by various authority figures are quite intimidating for the guys in line, as you can imagine. and that's the intended point.

That gentleman's lady said...

Thats a sad thought. The burial ceremony that is. Wondering if you'd ever known any of them...

Birdie said...

oh gosh, this post gave me a goosebumps Ed ... "being photographed in order to receive a free breakfast"-the first thing that came to my mind after reading this sentence is nazi, maybe too strong but for those familiar a bit more with how the nazis were treating the 'underpeople' as they called them, well it reminds a bit of that ...

and it's nice that some do care enough to make a burial ceremony ...

thank you for sharing Ed!

Little Ms. Fun said...

If you did anything in the post, you made me aware of a few things. I had no idea what happened to those bodies. To be honest, I never even thought about it. That's great that you guys attended that ceremony. But mostly, thank you for making people aware of something that slips our minds...

and having to be photographed for a free meal? Awful... Making them feel a sense of shame for wanting to eat...

Stephanie D said...

This post shows both inhumanity and humanity. If only there were more people like you!

Mary said...

Good that those nameless people who died were given a proper ceremony. So sad to die without anyone caring. I fear many do, Ed. Glad ya'all cared.

oceangirl said...

I do wonder if there is a way to get to the bottom of the situation.

Ed Pilolla said...

i'll get you to the bottom of the situation right now: some people count more than others.

Susie Clevenger said...

So sad that we categorize people as to their worth. It breaks my heart. So thankful you are serving the homeless and I am thankful they are honored with a burial ceremony.

Zeba said...

Aw. Sadness. You are a good person.

Amish Stories said...

Hey Ed maybe the picture taking is to identify perpetrators who may have committed a crime in the area, since they feel(police) a homeless person may be more inclined to do so because of their situation. I think for myself if i were homeless and hungry the last thing that i would be caring about is someone taking my picture in a crowd of people. Kind of reminds me when your at an airport, you may not like the delays from all of those inspections but in the end its for overall safety for everyone. Is the system close to being perfect, not even close but I'm trying to understand it much better now. Richard from Amish Stories

Jyoti Mishra said...

its sad :(

Laurie Kolp said...

Taking their picture for food just seems so insensitive... like a mug shot or something.

Claudia said...

i think it's really cool what you're doing.. the mention of the unclaimed bodies made me so sad...when someone dies and there's no one who cares... good to give them honor in the burial ceremony

Geraldine said...

So very sad about the burial service. no one should die alone, on the streets, unloved...but it happens every day, doesn't it?

I started a book yesterday that you might want to read Ed,

When All You Have Is Hope by Frank O'Dea

I thought of you and the posts about your work when I picked it up at the library.

LOLA said...

Such cruelty is beyond my comprehension. Isn't it uncomfortable enough to go out begging for a meal? I hope if I were in that position and someone took my photo, I would moon said photographer. But more likely, I'd suck it up and take the degradation in the hopes I could get my meal and not be arrested.

Love,
Lola

Ed Pilolla said...

richard, i agree that attempting to understand the system is indeed worthwhile.

if it's okay to photograph a random group of poor people becuz they might be inclined to commit crime, then that's a society i don't want to be a part of. maybe that's not exactly what you meant. but that's what at stake.

hungry, homeless people are often at the lowest point in their lives, and they are often embarrassed about their situation. some aren't, for sure. but in my experience many are.

Ed Pilolla said...

before the lapd crackdown began in skid row in 2006, the neighborhood had one of the lowest crime rates in the city.

Ed Pilolla said...

birdie, the nazis are an overused analogy in american society. the elite told us that saddam hussein was hitler, for example. he wasn't. he was a third-world dictator we propped up. but the nazi analogy is correct with regard to homeless. the nazis began their extermination program, as i understand it, by eliminating the mentally ill from the streets. we are also eliminating them by stuffing them in jail and prison for misdemeanor crimes anyone with a home would never be charged with, like jaywalking, one of the most popular crimes for incarceration of the homeless.

She Writes Here Now said...

hmmmmm. This is disturbing. Sad. the photograph thing really bothers me.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

I'm happy to know that there are younger people like yourselves who care. I appreciate it.

Chester Mark B. Tamayo said...

that only gets to show how people are beginning to be more rude each day.

The Empress said...

So sad.

As if being poor, homeless, needing help means your feelings vanish along with your belongings.

They're the last things we ever have.

DWei said...

That's really depressing but at least there are people like you trying to make their lives easier. :(

Tracy said...

Hello, Ed! I'm not sure how I found myself to be here, but glad I am today... This is very humbling reading and much food for thought. You shine a great light here. :o) *Peace*

eflores said...

Who knew there were so many unclaimed bodies. May they rest in peace!
-Erick Flores

Amish Stories said...

Hey Ed i was just dropping by again and read your comments. I think at least in my own mind when you do something like take someone's picture because you might suspect someone's involvement in a crime, that you should do it with dignity. So i do have a heart and think we as a people are better than that, and yes i think some think of a homeless person as being a throw-away. And that makes me feel more sorry for the person who believes that than the person who is homeless! Good job Ed and i enjoy that your post's which makes me do some soul searching in the process! Richard

Stephanie D said...

Thank you for the comment on my last post. I admire your work, so it's always nice to hear your take on what I write.
And I'm still reeling from this story!So sad that someone have to go thru such an experience just to get a meal.

Ed Pilolla said...

thanks for the comments, richard. they make me put into words what i often don't, and that's why i believe what i believe, whatever it happens to be:)

Raajii said...

Lord, that just broke my heart. I see homeless people all around me and it pains me that I can't always do something for them. I wish we had the time and energy to help all the time.

rebecca said...

kinda puts everything in perspective, doesn't it? I knew about the burial ceremony of the unclaimed. so sad.

Celestial Dreamz said...

it's sad ... thanks for making us aware ...

Amish Stories said...

Hey Ed i enjoy your blog very much and respect your opinions very much. You sound like you walk the walk and i admire that and i think your readers see that as well. I know one thing that we all can agree on, and that is to have a better year than 2011, and i wish that for everyone with good health as well. Richard from Amish Stories

Kitty Moore said...

That's horribly sad. People should remember "There but for the grace of god.."

Mark Dixon said...

Ed, I admire your ability to see humanity in some of the security guards and cops. Given the same situation I would never learn that "some of these guys are good guys who don't like doing what their boss tells them to do" because I wouldn't look past the uniform.

Birdie said...

Ed i agree.also for the 'mentally' ill & uneducated it is difficult to hide their issues. but the politician are just very often as mentally ill if not more. there is a nice book about it from Paul Babiak & Robert Hare called "snakes in suits or when psychopaths go to work" ...
hope all is well with you - i'm having issues with blogger it seems it won't let people to comment so i'm just letting others to know that i'm not blocking them away :-)