Bill Becker

Do More the Sequel

Most people have a cause they are passionate about. They want to get involved. They want to do more.

I found my cause twenty-eight years ago. I saw this great Dennis Miller monologue that changed my perspective and started me on the path to my goal. The monologue is only 5 minutes and 40 seconds. It’s stunning (and sad) that much of what he said so many years ago still is true today. I highly recommend you watch it.

Miller had numerous great points, but two stuck out:  “It’s getting easier and easier for people to rationalize the homeless plight” (meaning it’s their own fault and we don’t need to worry about it or help), and “Folks, there are so many things we don’t have the cure for but this isn’t one of them.”

 We have the cure for this. 

Miller’s monologue inspired me to write a Toastmasters speech titled Connect the Dots, which was a simplistic approach to connecting the unhoused to services that already exist. I wanted to do more. I talked about creating an event like Hands Across America which was still fresh on the minds of U.S. citizens (and is an important plot point in the movie Us.). I participated in that event. Did I help feed people in Africa or help the homeless here in the U.S.? Nope…but it felt good.

Now, 28 years later and ten years after I experienced my own brush with homelessness, I am inspired to do more. Before I retired in November, I took on the responsibility of helping a friend who was days from being thrown out on the street. I rented her a house (Housing First) and got her help as well as assistance in getting her the national certification needed to get a much better job. Whatever popped up (house, therapist, groceries, medicine, etc.) I took responsibility for seeing that those needs were met.  In the end, she passed her exam and landed a great-paying job, and her life is what the rest of us take for granted, normal. The thinking behind my goal is no different.

I am fortunate that I had the means to do everything myself, but that isn’t a feasible option for larger systemic changes. However, local community-based organizations (Optimist, Rotary Club, etc.), churches, and other groups could band together and become responsible for “Bob” or “Mary”. There are approximately 1,200 individuals who experience homelessness on any given night in the Tulsa metro area. There are over 800 churches and over 600 non-profits in the area. This isn’t a moon shot program where we have to invent heat shields or a navigation system. It’s simply….Connecting…the…Dots.