Putting a face to those on the streets

“Father help your children and don’t let them fall by the side of the road.”

These are the words that were sung from Memorial Hall’s stage Wednesday as the Catholic Action Center began a message about those living on the streets.

Ginny Ramsey, co-founder of the Catholic Action Center, introduced the play, “Please Don’t Call Me Homeless…I Don’t Call You Homed,” and said the play celebrated the center’s 10th anniversary. The center wanted to put a face to the people it works with, she said.

“We wanted the community to get to know the people we’ve had the privilege to meet,” Ramsey said.

English graduate student Jeff Gross spent four months observing those on the streets and asking questions before writing the play, according to the play’s program.

“… the most important lesson may have been that those people who are experiencing homelessness in our community are individuals and attempts to categorize them undermine that individuality,” Gross wrote in the program.

The play included eight scenes set in Phoenix Park and at the community center.

In the opening scene, the characters rise out of their cardboard boxes at 5:30 a.m. to collect cans for money.

At the community center, the characters share their stories about struggling to keep safe on the streets, and some share how they became homeless. These reasons included struggles with divorce, death and depression.

“They think this is all I am,” Ellis, played by Ellis Dean Boatley, said. “This is all they see.”

The play included video clips from Lexington’s homeless sending a message about who they are: people, just like those who live in permanent homes, or “the homed.”

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