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StreetWise vendors invite guests to holiday dinner

Wed, Dec 12, 2012

This week in the StreetWise Writing Workshop, StreetWise participants were asked to reflect on who’d they like to invite to their holiday dinner table and why.

Andy Allen


Written by Andy Allen

Around the holiday table with John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. We’ll start with you, John F. Kennedy. I really appreciated your famous quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This saying meant little to me when I was younger, but now it means so much. Now I realize that service to others is a way of getting out of serving self and self-centeredness.

We actually serve our country when we help our fellow man. It would be a better world if we could take this concept to heart.

As for you M.L.K., you taught us that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live. Surely in life there are a lot of superficial things, tangible and intangible. These things carry little or no weight or substance. Example: having fun and enjoying the high life. But real substance comes from having honesty, integrity and character.

Not only having these as trace elements of character, but also having a conviction behind them that is so strong, one is willing to sacrifice everything, including self. The time has come for this teaching to be manifested and all else must take the back seat. You taught us this lesson in your life, with words and action.

As for you R.F.K, you may be the youngest at my Thanksgiving table, but I really like your saying “There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that never were and ask, why not?” So if someone would have suggested a black president, you would not have been blinded by skin color, but would have been open-minded to new ideas of a different mind, regardless of race. Because of your willingness, honesty and open-mindedness, you made known your openness to positive suggestions and change. This is what builds great people, and countries and nations.

Last but not least, Malcolm X. You said, “The future belongs to those who prepare for it.” Today, I have found this to be true. In order to be prepared for the future, some choices have to be made today. And the choice we make today puts us in a position or predicament -for better or worse. We are where we are today because of the choices we made yesterday. So the future belongs to those who prepare for it today. Ready or not, the future is coming. Those who prepare for it by making better choices, have a better chance of controlling the outcome. The future is what you make it. It belongs to you because you prepared for it today by doing the next right thing. Thank you J.F.K, R.F.K, M.L.K and Malcolm X for coming to my Thanksgiving dinner. You all brought a lot to the table with your words and even more with your lives (action). I am so appreciative to have Thanksgiving with you and want to say thanks for giving up your lives for a worthy cause. I want you all to know you helped me. I will continue to pass your torch on. I hope I will help be able to help someone else, the way you helped me.

Happy Holidays to all!

Gordin Dugic

“At My Holiday Table”
Written by Gordon Dugic

At my holiday table I would have Jesus, my ex-wife and my kids to reconcile my family, so we can continue where we left off.

“My Holiday Guests”
Written by Marcie Bearman from statements by Gregory Nelson

Greg Nelson

Gregory Nelson told me he wanted to invite President Obama, and the whole Obama family to his imaginary holiday table. Gregory would tell the president that he thinks he is doing a great job and to keep up the good work. Gregory is thankful for the healthcare changes and is very grateful for the healthcare he is able to receive. Carelink through Cook County is helping Gregory out with insurance and medicine for a year. He was able to access this service when he told them he worked as a vendor for StreetWise but still needed financial assistance.

Another subject Gregory would want to discuss with Obama is guns. Gregory absolutely does not think people should be allowed to have automatic weapons. He thinks adult age people should be able to have guns, but that there should be “ no carry laws “ or strict carry permits. One good idea Gregory had was that people should not be able to carry loaded weapons.

Being able to find jobs after serving time is another subject Gregory feels strongly about. He has lots of creative ideas about work programs and thinks there should be no public record of crimes for first time offenders. Job training and work programs are good ways to keep people out of jail once they have served time. Not being able to find employment makes it difficult to stay out of trouble.

I think Gregory has great ideas and I would love to be at that holiday table myself to hear President Obama’s responses to Gregory’s excellent questions and ideas.

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