Boston’s Uncommon

“I was struck by the relationships between this Harvard-educated physician and the people the van encountered. His patients, and prospective patients, were sleeping on benches, arguing drunkenly with statues in parks. For me, the night’s tour was a glimpse of a world hidden in plain sight. In American cities, visions of the miseries that accompany homelessness confront us every day — bodies lying in doorways, women standing on corners with their imploring cardboard signs dissolving in the rain. And yet through a curious sleight of mind, we step over the bodies, drive past the mendicants, return to our own problems. O’Connell had spent decades returning, over and over, to the places that the rest of us rush by. Some months later, I contacted him and asked for another van ride. I followed him around with a notebook on and off for the next five years.” Tracy Kidder in the NYT Mag (Gift Article) on Dr. Jim O’Connell’s long crusade to care for Boston’s homeless. ‘This Is What We Do While We’re Waiting for the World to Change.’ Let’s hope 2023 is the year we make some progress on this issue.

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