November 8, 2013 (Cambridge, MA) -- Seminarian and Jonathan Daniels Fellow Lorena Boswell can add one more title to her resume: newspaper editor and publisher. In early October, the Humboldt County resident and second year Masters of Divinity student of Starr King School of the Ministry launched The Humboldt Edge, a newspaper produced with the assistance of Humboldt's homeless, and whose mission is to honor and invite the wisdom, knowledge and creative expression of people living on the street, experiencing homelessness and/or living on the edge economically.
Boswell secured funds for piloting this paper as a recipient of the Jonathan Daniels Fellowship at Episcopal Divinity School. The fellowship provides funding for seminarian students seeking to strengthen their theological education through participation in a social movement concerned with important social need. The fellowship funds will allow Boswell to produce and print 2-3 editions of the paper. For more information on the Jonathan Daniels Fellowship, click here.
Inspired by other street papers such as the San Francisco ‘Street Sheet’ and Sacramento’s ‘Homeward’, The Humboldt Edge has been birthed from four months of conversations, meetings, writing, editing and revising with dozens of local houseless people.
By empowering and educating both contributors and readers, the production and distribution of this monthly paper serves to counter the marginalization, stigmatization and silencing of people in poverty. Diverse perspectives and lives that are systematically pushed to the “Edge” are brought to the center as a means of stimulating survival, dignity, dialogue, understanding, justice and action.
More than twenty-five homeless or recently housed people have attended and contributed to planning meetings over the past couple of month. Because being homeless is such an unstable and unpredictable situation, weekly planning meetings are held with whoever can attend and decisions about layout and content are made by whatever voices were able to be at the table on a given day. Some days there were ten people at planning meetings, some there were four.
The first edition contains the voices of thirteen local homeless and recently housed people, alongside one informational news article about The Homeless Bill of Rights and Fairness Act (AB5) that is currently under consideration in the California State Senate. The Humboldt Edge includes a diversity of voices in the form of articles, personal stories, art, cartoons, and poetry. Topics range from dehumanization, crimes against and harassment of the homeless, to the need for a permanent campground, safe spaces to lock up valuables, and more available showers. Some authors speak of their personal experiences: how becoming homeless radically changed their perspective or about a journey out of addiction and into a spiritually grounded life. What is resoundingly clear from all of the voices is the stigma and struggle of being homeless and the desire to treated with respect and an opportunity to better their circumstances.
For more information on the paper, or to read the first edition of the Edge, visit humboldtedge.wordpress.com.