The Unseen

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Imposter Richard

You may have read in a previous blog that someone impersonated Richard Gere and said that he walked around the streets giving away one-hundred dollar bills to the homeless after his movie Time Out Of Mind.
He and the director, Oren Moverman, posted a video (embedded below) a few days later discussing the movie and their thoughts about homelessness.

 

What if you saw Richard Gere on the street?

In the video, Richard makes a point to clarify that he did not pass out money to the homeless of New York. He did, however, share his views about how to help homeless people. He has some specific ideas, like “housing first, then teach skills for a successful life” and “long term help from professionals who know what they’re doing.”
But his main point is clear: see homeless people. See them.
One of the scenes Richard filmed in the movie Time Out of Mind was of him panhandling on the streets of New York. He has this to say about that experience:

 

“I stood there, and it became clear, immediately, that no one was making eye contact with me, and walking right by me … I was realizing that people were making a decision, consciously or unconsciously, that there was a homeless guy on the corner and ‘I don’t really wanna engage him.’ A level of being invisible would be my first level of experience there. Feeling like a black hole. People were actively not seeing me.”

 

“People were actively not seeing me.”

Richard admits that he was very nervous, as a very well-known celebrity, to stand in the middle of Times Square. He was sure he would be mobbed by fans. But, because he was dressed as a homeless man, no one noticed him. No one recognized him. They actively tried not to see him.

 

Do you actively see or not see?

Please allow us this challenge – when you encounter a homeless person on the street – do you see them?

Richard Gere and Oren Moverman Facebook Q&AHi, Richard and Oren here, We are so sorry for the delay, we ran into a technical difficulty. This was a first for us. We were so happy to speak with you today. Thank you for your heartfelt questions, we look forward to continuing the conversation in an interactive way. Thank you Jena for letting us borrow your page to host this important dialogue.

Posted by Jena Malone on Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2 Responses to "The Unseen"

  1. Valerie Glenn Posted on November 15, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    i normally stop and pay attention to the person and interact hen possible.Today, i say a very aggressive, wild looking homeless person in a big parking lot. This person frightened me and i asked a person inside of the shopping center. Security informed me that this person was a heroine addict and he needed drugs. This was unusual – most of the time, the homeless people that i am around are not aggressive. i am part of a resurrection city and we house 25 people per night. We also feed those people along with additional impoverished people per day. i am using the internet to obtain more models to increase my awareness.

    • babystepsministry Posted on November 24, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Valerie – thanks for your comments. If you’re in the Seattle area, we’d love to have you join us for one of our Training Events (http://babystepsministry.org/events/homeless-training/). Our next training is scheduled for May. We offer lots of practical advise in how to talk to the homeless as well as how to spot those who may provide less than fruitful conversation due to intoxication of various substances.
      The most important aspect we would encourage you to do in your resurrection city is to focus on building relationships FIRST. That’s the #1 un-met need the homeless have.

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