On Easter Sunday, at 9:45am, about 60 people gathered to celebrate with Kaleb as he unchained himself from the fence, then led a prayer service that included chanting, a reading by Kaleb, an introduction song to Psalm 23 by Tyson, one of our kitchen guests, Skid Row Pastor Cue then gave an inspirational reading of Psalm 23. Kaleb led the reciting of The Lord’s Prayer, then General Dogan (LA CAN) read an excellent article he wrote entitled “STAND UP FOR WHAT?” using former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s bold act of “taking a knee” during the National Anthem as a bases to address the police violence against Black people, systemic racism present in our society, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the struggle for dignity by the sisters and brothers living on the street.
There was a time to reflect on the more than 830 people who died on Skid Row last year and the lack of concern by city and county officials to provide housing available in the 156 vacant buildings on Skid Row. There was a time to call out names of those who have gone before us, and the response of PRESENTE! after each name was voiced.
(NOTE: The above photo was taken after our annual Anti-War Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. We stopped and showed Kaleb the poster made for the event, then had a prayer and song, leaving the cross with Kaleb.)
Then the call to celebrate. Kaleb took the chain that secured him to the fence and used it to chain the chair he used while fasting to the fence, and announced that it will be there if anyone else wanted to use it. Kaleb then led a procession to Catch 21, the restaurant across the street from where he spent the last 46 days, and was greeted with a Modelo Especial (pilsner-style lager beer), then a big plate of fish and chips. However, before delving into the food, he announced he wanted to use the restroom, which he did not use for 46 days.
Everyone present for the unchaining was invited to the celebration at Catch 21, where the party continued for a few hours. Kaleb is now back home at the LACW. He enjoyed a hot shower, the specially prepared Easter dinner, and later sleeping on his bed. See photos HERE.
We thank Kaleb for his witness and his commitment to the housing crisis on Skid Row (and beyond). We pray for wisdom and strength to continue the struggle.