On the longest night of the year, with the number of people dying homeless in Baltimore steadily rising, hundreds of people gathered at the Inner Harbor last night to remember those who died in the city without a home.
At the interfaith vigil, held at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, speakers read the names of the 111 homeless people who died in 2011, recalled some of them personally, and represented them symbolically with pairs of shoes.
“Greg Flowers was my friend. James Robinson was my friend. The streets of heaven are too full with angels tonight,” said Adam Schneider. “We gather tonight to remember that their lives had meaning we gather tonight to remember that they meant something to each of us.”
Death Toll Doubles From 2009 to 2011
“We have fallen short and not always shown fellowship and stewardship. We are seen by others as a prosperous culture. But there are men, women and children among us who are barely surviving,” said the Rev. Bryan E. Murray. “Some are forced to live in places unworthy of habitation. Struggling to make it to shelters before closing time.”
There were 45 deaths of homeless people in 2009.
Eighty-seven died last year.
This year – with still 10 days to go – there were 111, according to the organizers.
(This video by Bill Hughes has a ten-second delay in front. Speaking on camera are: Adam Schneider, James Crawford Jr., Rev. Brian E. Murray, Rabbi Martin Siegel and Rev. Andrew Foster Connors.)