Agape Fish intern Emma Cockerell wrote this article reflection and recap on What the Homelessness Crisis in Asian-American Communities Reveals About Ourselves, published on June 5, 2017.
The terms Asian-American and homeless don’t regularly go together, as San Francisco State University professor Russell Jeung points out.
But despite common belief, many Asian-American immigrants escaping war and poverty at home face homelessness in America. For Jeung’s neighbor Jimmy, being without permanent shelter is a sacrifice to make higher education possible. Jimmy attends SFSU and lives out of his car, cleaning himself with hydrogen peroxide and at times resorting to sneaking a rice cooker into his university’s library. Jeung has two other neighbors, Sonny and Mary, who have faced housing challenges. For them, displacement and lack of a home are also sacrifices that serve a larger purpose; a momentary discomfort that allows greater convenience for their family.
Jeung urges those more well-off to love and identify with their homeless neighbors, rather than blaming the societal forces that allow for homelessness. He believes that “we, too, are foreigners and exiles to this world,” and that the impetus is on the individual to seek God’s righteousness with mankind, regardless of status or monetary wealth.
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