We’ve had a busy week since our first ride on the 13th. As I mentioned in the very long blog post (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), Tim made a connection with a couple, Bill and Amanda, that had been living in a sub-camp of sorts down by the river. We met back up with a few of the people living in the camp later that day to drop off some water, some brand new and super sturdy moving blankets donated by an awesome member of our Revolution community in Louisville, and a few canned goods. While speaking with them, we discovered that their camp had recently been burnt in retaliation for the actions of someone living at the camp at the time. It was heart breaking to hear them tell of losing all they had. They were fortunate to have a camp stove, but the vandal used their white gas for the stove to further fuel the fire. They lost all but what they were wearing at the time. One of the men had recently been gifted a leather biker jacket by “Papa Bear,” a leader among the Bikers for Christ. He spoke of how wearing the jacket made him feel good about himself and like he “was somebody.” That about brought me to tears.
Tim called in to check on the group Saturday night and was shocked to discover that their camp had again been burnt. They had hoped to call us, but our business card was burned up along with their stuff. There was a freeze warning issued for Friday night, so Tim and Edison headed down to the park with more blankets and a huge care package put together by Tim’s sister Paige that included pillows, clothing for the lone woman in the camp, food, and hygiene items. Tim and Edison asked if they had considered moving the camp. They have been looking for a new site, but areas free from police intervention are few and far between. They have also seen some things in other camps that they consider to be disturbing, so they are understandably fearful of joining them. There is good news from this group though. The aforementioned couple is moving to Las Vegas at the end of the month, where Bill has family and a job awaiting him. A local pastor purchased bus tickets for them, so they are hopefully on their way to a life off of the streets.
Stories like those shared by Bill and Amanda continue to amaze me. Before Burrito Riders I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the hurdles marginalized people face, the structural inequality that oppresses them in the everyday. I was wrong. I didn’t even begin to have a grasp of their experience. I still don’t. However, I hope to continue learning so that I can find additional ways to serve.