Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Being Henrietta Hughes

President Obama's response to Henrietta Hughes is wonderful as well as the woman who was so moved to speak words, "I love you, Barack." (I noticed her mouthing the words live.) But what really moved me was that this homeless woman, living in a small car with her family using public restrooms, began the conversation, not about her dire situation, but about the President. She began with thanksgiving and prayer for him.

May God abundantly bless the Hughes family.


lloyd said...

As I listened to President Obama's town hall meeting in Fort Myers, Florida I wasn't prepared for the comments by a homeless woman named Henrietta Hughes.

"I have an urgent need, unemployment and homelessness, a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in," the woman told Obama during a question-and-answer session in Fort Myers, Fla.. "We need urgent (help)."

The woman said she was told by an area housing authority that there was a two-year waiting list.

"We need something more than the vehicle and the parks to go to," she said, tears streaming. "We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help."

I can't tell you how broken hearted I was after listening to Ms. Hughes. She looked so much like my cousin Cathy. She looked like so many of the women I saw at Barack Obama's inauguration. She looked like the many Black women who faithfully line up on Sunday mornings waiting to get into St. Marys Methodist Church on Jones Avenue in the town I grew up in.

What she didn't look like was a thug. She didn't look like a drug or alcohol abuser. She looked like a God fearing American who wouldn't harm a fly.

Like me, I know that Barack Obama was touched by this woman's story. It was the only time he left the podium and went into the crowd. He held her, kissed her on the cheek and told her that his staff would talk to her about her situation after the town hall meeting ended.

I don't know how Ms. Hughes became homeless and I really don't care. What I do know is that the United States is the most generous nation on planet earth. We build bridges, schools and homes throughout the world for others. For once, just once, can we focus on taking care of our own?

We are the United States of America and we can and must do better. That is why I was so broken hearted after listening to Ms. Hughes. My heart was broken because of her dire situation and because of the situation that we as a country find ourselves in.

God bless Ms. Hughes. God bless America. God bless and give strength to President Obama.

judith ellis said...

Lloyd, thank you so much for those beautiful thoughtful words. It is great to hear from someone who was actually at the event. We in the television audience were also incredibly moved. I tried to find out how I could help immediately.

We are a great people indeed, measured by our capacity to love and meet the needs of others through material and non-material means. But in this case we heard Henrietta Hughes' "immediate" need loud and clear. The response was love in action.

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide?” (1 John 3:17)

The mayor of Fort Myers said on CNN this morning she and her family are now in a three bedroom house. Thank God. Now, we have to see what can be done for the others, including men that would perhaps dare not speak so openly and candidly.

Thanks again, Lloyd. I hope you will drop through again. May God also bless you.