Speak Up

Last week I finished the book Interrupted.  In short, the book is about a pastor and his wife in Austin, Texas that had their lives interrupted so much they left the church and started what some may call a missions based church.  They are very involved with the homeless community that I actually was witness to while visiting last Spring.  The impact of the book reminded me a lot of what Same Kind of Different as Me did to me.   The plight of the homeless has been fresh on my mind to say the least.


Saturday night when Kaitlin and I went downtown Charlotte to eat we approached a street corner and slowed to wait for the walking sign to change.  Behind my back I heard a woman say to the gathering crowd, “Anyone have any money for food?”  She barely stopped, obviously not expecting an answer.  I admit, in the past my instinct may have been to let it pass, not really sure where the money would go.   With my “eyes open” I became excited when I actually had a few dollars to hand her.  I had to almost yell, “I’ve got some!” before she was fully turned away.  It wasn’t much but it was something.


My high school classmate and her husband have started Speak Up.  It’s a street newspaper designed to create jobs for the homeless.  They print a magazine written by unpaid authors.  The homeless or low-income individuals are hired to sell the magazine.  Street papers have been running successfully worldwide; 114 of them in 40 countries.   They just announced last week they are ready for their first run of 10K copies.

When I was standing at the corner I thought of this woman and thought, you know, she could be one of the people Speak Up could help.  No longer would she literally have to beg on the streets for money.  This magazine would give her dignity and experience and much-needed income.  And it’s not just the idea of the magazine.  It’s specifically this effort that could help.

Speak Up needs 8,000 dollars to print it, 3,000 of which they have received.  Would you consider donating to get this thing off the ground?  Charlotte folks, I especially hope you consider donating.  This magazine could change the landscape of our own city.  If you can not donate now, I’d ask that you consider buying one of these magazines if you see them on a corner downtown selling them.

None of us can do everything but we all can do something.

Visit Speak Up to read more and donate.  I was not compensated or asked to write this post.  Just love what they are doing!


  1. I read Under the Overpass, about two christians who went “undercover” as homeless for an extended amount of time. It made me look at the homeless in a complete new light. Speak Up sounds like an incredible ministry … I’m clicking to go check it out. (thanks for sharing this!)
    amanda recently posted…being thereMy Profile

  2. One of the places Matthew visited on his Mission is called Stenton Family Manor (http://www.oneneighborhood.org/program/stenton-family-manor) which is a homeless shelter for families. The entire team has said that they would love to go back to work there again and our Youth Pastor who was part of the Mission Team still cannot talk about it without becoming emotional. Matthew was deeply affected by the experience and it has opened his eyes in a huge way to the issue in our own city. One of his Leaders has been working with Toronto’s homeless for several years and while the kids have helped out at the Scott Mission (http://www.scottmission.com/), I think they had the impression that it was a person’s life choices that led them to certain situations (drugs, alcohol etc.). Working with the children at Stenton made an enormous difference because their situations were not of their own making. The entire Team found it difficult (in the best way possible) but have vowed to stay in touch with Elder Harrison and return as soon as they are able.

    What your friends are doing is wonderful and I’m sure your bringing attention to it will help them enormously.

    As Dr. Seuss says, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”


  1. […] the car door as I finished the explanation and grabbed the girls hands.  We were walking into the Speak Up magazine launch last night in an area of town we’d never been.  It was getting dark and it was rainy […]