Minnesota Homeless Memorial March: A ReflectionPosted on January 15th, 2020
For 15 years, John Stevers has participated in the Minnesota Homeless Memorial March, honoring those who have died while homeless during the past year. The stories of people who have experienced homelessness strengthen his steadfast support of the march.
“On my first or second march, I walked with a 35–year-old shelter guest who had been kicked out of his house, disowned by his family because he admitted to being gay. He was 16 at that time. The March is about letting people know the stories like this. If we can draw attention to the issue of homelessness and share these stories, influence one or two people, we are making a difference. … I will keep marching until such stories quit happening.”
John got involved in the Minnesota Homeless Memorial March shortly after he settled into retirement and started as a Shelter Support Volunteer at Simpson’s shelter. Serving as a monthly overnight shelter volunteer for 13 years, the experience deeply impacted him: “It was a grounding experience, meeting people whose experiences were more challenging than mine.” John recalls making a life-changing resolution: “For the rest of my life, I’m going to give back.”
John continues to be actively engaged with community service and the Minnesota Homeless Memorial March. “I march to remember how grateful I am for the life I have been given, for the work that Simpson does, and for the examples of strength and courage shown by people much less fortunate than I,” he says.
The perseverance and support of community members, like John, inspire us as we roll up our sleeves and do this important work of ending homelessness.