Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hundreds of homeless were fed, thanks to Philip Workman

Also posted on Texas Death Penalty blog

silent night, holy night
all is calm, all is bright
round young homeless mother and child
hungry infant so tender and mild
sleep on America's streets
sleep on America's streets

Last Wednesday night, Tennessee executed Philip Workman despite his claims of innocence. For his last meal on earth, Philip Workman requested that his final meal be a vegetarian pizza donated to any homeless person located near Tennessee’s Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. The Tennessee Department of Corrections refused saying they were too focused on the execution procedures. But lots of normal people stepped in and hundreds of pizzas were delivered last week to Nashville's homeless community in Philip Workman's.

Not only Tennesseans responded to Philip Workman's request. Texans also took action. Texas Students Against the Death Penalty in collaboration with House the Homeless and Texas Moratorium Network collected donations from Austinites to purchase pizza. The Pizzas were delivered last Wednesday,May 16, at ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless). An act of generosity deserves notice and praise, regardless of who it was performed by and the mistakes they made in the past. Philip Workman used his last request to do something nice for homeless people. I thank him for that.

Homelessness and poverty are directly related to the increase in crime rate and the number of people that end up in our prison systems. Recently the U.S. Conference of Mayors released its latest findings on "hunger and homelessness" in America. Unfortunately, more people were homeless in 2006 than they were in 2005.

Among the many disturbing statistics of this year's report: 25% of the residents in emergency shelters were children. One-third of hungry adults were employed. In 86% of the cities, homeless folks had to be turned away from emergency shelters due to a lack of resources. About 74% of the cities saw a marked increase (7%) in the need for emergency food assistance. Over 23% of the requests for emergency food went completely unfilled. The length of time that someone remained homeless increased in 32% of the cities.

Now was Phillip Workman really innocent? We might never know the answer. But I recommend everybody to watch the following short video on the man who was responsible for feeding hundreds of homeless people around the country.