The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

From Homeless to Hope: Sydia Simmons

At 14 years old, Sydia Simmons was kicked out into the streets of New York City by her alcoholic mother, but today she is a wife, mother, and founder of the Lost Angels Society.

The purpose of the Lost Angels Society is to provide a safe space for homeless teens. Sydia knows firsthand the difficulty of being homeless, especially in New York City, and because she has overcome through her faith she wants to give back.

On Dec. 16, 2012 Sydia hosted the Lost Angels Society Benefit to give homeless youth a Christmas celebration. This benefit was supported by actress Uma Thurman, superstar singer Usher, and many others.

Sydia truly has compassion and a passion for homeless youth, and an important message for the Church. Isaiah 61: 3-4 states: “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” Sydia truly fits the description above because she is rebuilding the lives of teens devastated by homelessness.

 

 

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The Top 10 Stories of January 7, 2013

Quote of the day.
"I think there's something really attractive about the sense of service. Feeding people, the need for new farmers, the sense of mission. When you come out (of the military), that's what you miss." Michael O'Gorman, founder of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, which assists returning veterans become small farmers.
(McClatchy News)

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A Conversation for Reconciliation

Reconciliation is never easy, which is why it doesn't happen very often. Reconciliation is not something that can be checked off of a list. It is not a single event encapsulated in a moment of time. Reconciliation begins with a conversation and ends with a relationship restored.

It was the morning of Dec. 19, and I was standing in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. I had reserved that space months in advance so I could host a public reading of H.R. 3326, the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. I did this because page 45 of this 67-page document contained an "apology to native peoples of the United States." In three years this apology had not been announced, publicized, or read by either the White House or the 111th Congress.

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PBS Series Depicts American Abolitionists as Fired By Faith

As the nation marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, PBS premieres “The Abolitionists,” a three-part series, on Tuesday.

Documentarian Rob Rapley, the writer and director of the series, talked with Religion News Service about the role religion played in the lives of the abolitionists.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Finding God in Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell?

I know this sounds totally bizarre, but I had a moment of clarity about the value of human life in, of all places, a kid-themed pizza joint yesterday. No, they don’t exploit their workers (that I know of, short of submitting them to overstimulated kids all day). It took a few steps for me to get there, so bear with me.

Yesterday, my daughter, Zoe, turned four years old. It’s a crappy time of year to have a birthday party, since lots of people are out of town, and those who are around are more or less partied out from the holidays. On top of that, we just moved here a few months ago and hardly know anyone. So to try and make up for all of that, we let her pick anywhere she wanted to go for dinner.

Not surprisingly, she picked John’s Incredible Pizza Company, which is like Chuck E. Cheese on steroids. Not high on my list of choices, but hey, it wasn’t my birthday. Zoe’s grandparents are in town and they invited a couple other family members who live nearby to join us. One of Amy’s distant cousins brought along her husband or boyfriend (still not sure which), and I remarked after the dinner to amy that he bore a striking resemblance to the alt-rock front man Perry Ferrell, of Jane’s Addiction fame.

“What ever happened to Perry?” Amy asked. Short of founding the Lollapalooza Festival and hitting every Coachella festival ever held, I had nothing. So I Googled him.

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In 113th Congress: First Hindu, first Buddhist in Senate, and (maybe) first ‘none’

The 113th Congress is the most diverse in U.S. history. New members include the first Hindu, first Buddhist, and the first "none." The Washington Post reports:
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Canada PM meets chiefs amid Teresa Spence hunger strike

After a 25-day hunger strike by Attawapiskat chief Teresa Spence, First Nation leaders will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Jan. 11.
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Drinking Deeply

One morning, I walked out the front doors of the center and turned down Jefferson Street toward the Ohio River. There, huddled in a circle beside the wall of our building, was a group of worn, ragged homeless men. I knelt down with them and said, "Hello."

One of the men smiled a toothless smile at me, reached into his coat, pulled out a bottle of Wild Irish Rose, took a swig, and passed it to me. "Here," he said. "Have a drink."

It was truly a John Irving moment. Here I was offering my alcoholic friend a “hello” and he offering his ministerial friend a drink. He was offering me the thing that was most important to him.

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DRONE WATCH: Escalation in Yemen

Tribesmen protest fifth drone strike in the past ten days.
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Church Sign Epic Fails, 'Crush China for Jesus' Edition

When Chinese kids won’t eat their Cheerios, do their parents tell them there are starving kids in America to convince them to finish?

The good news is, we didn’t take their advice; instead, we sold ourselves to China! ***Footnote: I have since been educated on the context of this sign, which makes it understandable. The sign actually suggested that crushing China was a bad thing. Why does history have to go and ruin my fun??? Stupid history!!!

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