Solving Homelessness In Colorado
Advocacy for the deplatformed and/or misunderstood has always been an essential part of my life; so, naturally, advocacy for the homeless community has been on my agenda for as long as I can remember, since well before I experienced homelessness myself. Even through the worst of my trials, I’ve had it easy compared to most people in the homeless population. I have a duty, and a powerful drive, to leverage everything I learned from my hardships so that I can help those who are suffering and prevent more from joining their ranks.
Recently, in the wake of Denver Initiative 300’s catalyzing of the public discourse about this subject, I created my Solving Homelessness In Colorado group on Facebook; this group is now the primary vehicle through which I coordinate a rapidly growing group of volunteers. We also publish on our SHIC Facebook Page.
Visit my Solving Homelessness In Colorado webpage to read about our current activities, meeting dates, and how you can best help out if you’d like to do more than just join the conversation. On that page, you’ll also find a simplified outline of the broad spectrum of homelessness-related issues that we’re addressing. It’s a long list, but we’ll tackle it in widely varied ways, such as:
bridging gaps between existing organizations so that they can complement one another’s needs and operate more effectively
improving information flow to the homeless and housing insecure communities
educating the public to break down stigmas and therefore barriers
promoting, connecting, and facilitating community-based efforts in a number of areas (including, for example, creative housing)
developing, proving, and spreading models for businesses that can remuneratively help address the crisis
research, identification, data centralization, and standardization of the best practices being used to address homelessness and its social determinants, in Colorado and elsewhere
Please join the SHIC Facebook group to participate actively, or contact me directly if Facebook isn’t in your repertoire and you have ideas or services you’d like to contribute. Sign up for SHIC’s quarterly email newsletter to stay in tune with our work in the future!
I think it's critically important to preserve a home on the web for all people to speak freely. It’s important that we all have a venue where anyone can express any ideas or concerns or opinions they have, especially as we approach a global reality of an increasingly supervised and restricted internet. No matter what unusual, radical, or inane thing someone wants to claim or exclaim or argue, there should be an arena where they can do that and be met with equal authenticity and candor. This is how people learn and grow.
To that end, for a few years now, I've "run" the Facebook group Discuss It. I created it because I was tired of the experience of having a civilized discussion about a controversial topic, only to have it be censored and/or finding myself banned from pages and groups that claimed to be ideologically aligned with freethinking and free speech. So I made my own group, so that I could enforce true hands-off logical consistency. We administrators in Discuss It exist solely to prevent the posting of spam, and to warn the rare person who attempts to abuse mechanics (or violate Facebook TOS). I’m proud to state that in over six and a half years of existence, we have only ever banned precisely one non-robot individual from the group. All debate is allowed to run wild and free, and the group has a bit of off-topic social fun as well.
As soon as it's logistically feasible, Discuss It will be launching our own standalone forum site. This new community will be named Parrhesia, a Greek word meaning roughly a combination of "free speech" and "speaking the truth to power". We don't yet have the population to justify it, but the fact is that Facebook mechanics and rules are a bad fit for what we’re specifically aiming to do. I have some exciting ideas for how we can engineer a forum site to be anti-echo-chamber so that it can stand in contrast to the rest of the internet’s dominant content-aggregation/discussion spaces.
A truly free forum for speech is an essential human right — and not just that, but also a pragmatic constructive cultural necessity, one which teaches essential skills. Engaging (constructively) in a community like this requires extreme accountability on the part of the individual for their own emotional and intellectual response to all varieties of input. I think it's vital that we cultivate methodically engineered arenas like this to facilitate opportunities for all people to develop equanimity and improve our dialectic approaches. (Let me be the first to point out that I'm naturally prone to being impulsive in debate, so I'm in this for the learning experience as much as anyone else. Although I strive to be as objective as possible, I am no paragon of objectivity.) This is something that I think is essential to the future of reasoning and communication, and thus the survival and development, of humankind. I intend every ounce of weight that that statement carries.
All are welcome, and none will be silenced. If you have felt shouted down or unheard or isolated, this is the place for you. And if you haven't, please still join us. We want fair representation and diversity of viewpoints, and we want your views to be included so that others can hear them. Consider joining the Facebook group, and/or keeping an eye on this page (or subscribing to my email newsletter) for an announcement when the Parrhesia site launches! Thank you for your interest!
Kyle's Krew was begun in 2017 by Joana Belstra, when her brother Kyle lost his life to suicide. We're a group of community members in the Denver/Fort Collins areas, dedicated to helping raise suicide awareness and supporting the work of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Additionally, Joana created and maintains the Memorial Wall Project, which is a photo collection commemorating thousands of individuals who fell victim to suicide. Their names and photos were submitted by their loved ones, from all over the world. The Memorial Wall Project helps to preserve the individuality of these victims rather than allowing them to be reduced to a number, and it serves to convey the massive weight of loss more deeply to observers at AFSP walks and other fundraising events.
I am honored to help support Joana’s work by providing the Kyle’s Krew webpage, helping with social media management support, and by contributing my amateur graphic design skills as needed.
To support the Kyle’s Krew team by contributing to AFSP, please click here for the team’s page.