Saturday, April 9, 2016
RIP Marie Hatch
This piece is dedicated to the memory of Marie Hatch and the elderly who after decades of living here, are in danger of being put out on the street. These people are not statistics, but your human family. Remember how fragile we all were when we first came into this world and how that never truly goes away. We are all flowers.
A subject that’s been weighing on me heavily for a long while now is displacement. It encompasses the rampant homelessness, refugees that are struggling to survive worldwide, and the treacherous path that this city is following in regards to gentrification. It reached a fever pitch for me last month in the passing of Marie Hatch, a 97 year old woman who was in danger of eviction after 66 years of living in a quaint Burlingame home. There are a slew of untold stories of the elderly being evicted, most of which seems to fade into the ether. And just this week, Luis Gongora, recently evicted from his Mission apartment, was shot by the police. Of course, like most of these cases, there are conflicting accounts as to what happened, but it only took less than 30 seconds for this man’s life to be ended.
The saddest thing I can think of is someone dying of a broken heart, not metaphorically, but feeling such emotional anguish that they physically lose everything. What I’m most concerned about is the erosion of our collective empathy over time. How can we better bridge those gaps so the less fortunate don’t fall through them? What actions and words will we choose to mend that pain, inside and out?
There are not only people dying of broken hearts, but of broken minds as well. There has always been a fair amount of mental illness on our streets, but I think it’s even more pronounced with the unchecked greed that is actively terraforming the cultural landscape. I understand the natural fear of physical harm by a person whose mind is not stable. But I also think it’s our responsibility to get educated on what we can do and how we understand these conditions.