We had just settled into our seats for Pearl Jam’s Home Shows to benefit the homeless when the movie began to play.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a video that you created, playing live in front of tens of thousands of people. Add that it’s for an important cause, and our Hullabaloo hearts were lifted to the rafters of Safeco Field.
Our involvement began in 2015, when Hullabaloo was approached by All Home of King County to create a video exploring ways that individuals could help fight homelessness. County executives had just declared the alarming numbers of men, women and children sleeping on our city streets a state of emergency. All Home (formerly The Committee to End Homelessness) was in the process of rebranding itself and needed a video to kick off a new campaign for action.
As the production unfolded, we were inspired by the stories we heard from those opening their minds, mouths, kitchens and wallets; people like Vanessa Brewer and Molly Talon, who spearheaded the Ballard Welcome Wagon. When angry neighbors spoke out against a tent encampment of homeless people in the neighborhood, the pair decided to make “welcome” banners and feed people. “Let’s fight some fear and hate with some love and burritos,” Brewer said.
They urged neighbors to push through their discomfort to see the humanity of the persons affected. “Everybody is somebody’s baby,” Talon said.
Eddie Wang, founder of Sleepless in Seattle, explained that many homeless persons live through an entire day without anyone even acknowledging them. He asked the community to stop looking away.
“If we take the time to stop and say ‘hello,’ there’s so much power in that,” said Wang who was a new college graduate when he began providing sleeping bags and winter care packages to those sleeping rough on Seattle streets. “The transition between doing nothing and doing something isn’t really that hard,” he said.
And then there was Kristine Moreland who felt compelled to start the MORELove Project after her own father had struggled with mental health issues and homelessness. Moreland is a mortgage loan officer who helps people buy homes during the day, and provides emergency services to Seattle’s homeless by night.
Finally, we had the pleasure of meeting Seattle architect Rex Hohlbein, who contributed his stunning black and white photography to the video project. Hohlbein is the founder and creative director of Facing Homlessness that raises awareness through photojournalism and provides emergency goods to people in need.
It was this very same All Home video that Pearl Jam repurposed to play the recent Home Shows. The concerts raised more than $11 million to fight homelessness, according to the band’s website.
At the show we attended, Eddie Vedder rallied the hometown crowd to be part of the solution. “This city of Seattle could prove to the rest of the nation that it could happen here, and it can happen anywhere, and we can eradicate this problem of homeless neighbors in our city… We can beat this, and we can do it together, and we need your help. It’s a wave, and all of us are the water.”
With good people like these leading the way, we’re heartened and ready to jump in.