The streets are terrifying

It’s 9pm and it’s pitch black outside. I am sitting in the dark, thinking, writing and reflecting. I received a call for help today. From a member of our west auckland homeless community who is terminally ill. The conversation was precious. So precious I don’t want to repeat it here out of respect for him. But the words that I feel I must share are the four that resonated beyond measure: The streets are terrifying.

…It’s been a long time, but not so long that I could’ve forgotten that feeling. There are somethings you can never forget. I ran away three times between the ages of 12 and 13. I slept in school playgrounds, on friend’s couches, in friends of friend’s garages. It’s a chapter in my life that I’ve worked hard to seal shut. But unlike memory, emotion is difficult to erase.

We live in a world that is becoming more terrifying for more and more of us with each passing day. Intergenerational poverty is becoming entrenched as the new economic norm that underpins the NZ National Party’s ‘success’ story. New Zealand’s suicide toll is the worst it’s been since the Coroner started keeping records in 2008. Hospital beds for people suffering from extreme mental distress are stretched to breaking point. Our economic model is reaching it’s ecological limits. And amidst all of this more and more people are sleeping in cars and garages because they simply cannot afford the cost of living, let alone save a house deposit to be able to own their own home.

Call me crazy, but I cannot, I will not, sit back and watch this situation become the ‘norm’ in New Zealand. The streets may be terrifying but for as long as people give a damn, care and reach out and stand up for what they believe in, there is still hope! And I’m going to keep doing my best to demonstrate that through all that I do for my family, friends and community.

And in order to do that I’m going to need your help. I want to run a political campaign that has hope at it’s heart. I am standing for the NZ Green Party and I need volunteers to help me do what we need to do: get into government to turn things around. In the first instance, I need digital volunteers, online volunteers to help me share and like as many messages as possible over the next few months. So if you believe change is possible, and you want to help, please start by sharing this post, and then get in touch with me via email with your details so we can get things moving xo

Let’s do this!

~ leilani@leilanitamu.nz