One voice can make a difference. My faith in that concept has been faltering for quite some time. As someone who has always been wired to not be afraid to speak up, I have to say, the sum of it to affect significant change has been on few occasions. More often the outcome has been retaliation that only served to harm me. Today, I am happy to share that speaking up may have made a difference.
I rarely read, much less respond to Facebook posts from my local NBC affiliate, WPTV as I’m not interested in the daily accounting of horrible things humans do to one another. However, on April 28, 2017 a headline over a young woman’s mug shot compelled me to respond: “Florida woman offered sex for $25 and chicken nuggets, deputies say”. I was absolutely outraged that WPTV published a story that seemed to serve no purpose other than to humiliate a drug-addicted homeless woman. In my opinion, there was nothing newsworthy about this story, unless low-brow reporting for the amusement of insensitive viewers was the goal. I read a few comments from readers who were in agreement with me of the cruelty of this story. So I added my own:
“I can’t help but wonder why WPTV thought it newsworthy to broadcast a suffering human being’s low point on Facebook? Do they think the homeless are sub-human and their feelings don’t matter? Do they think drug-addicts and prostitutes are throw away people? What was your intention in publishing this story? I can see no societal benefit in reporting this woman’s crime. This is someone’s child. If there is any hope that this woman can overcome her addictions and poverty, you have made it that much harder for her to do so.”
Although I did not receive a response from WPTV as I hoped, I did receive significant favorable agreement with my opinion. It restored my faith in humanity a bit that a number of us were in agreement in the unnecessity and cruelty of publishing this story. Of course, there were quite a few Internet trolls with their negative commentary as well.
The plight of this woman continued to bother me and expressing my outrage was not enough. So I decided to google drug recovery centers in the Bradenton, Florida area and came across Learn to Fish Recovery and decided to send a message via Facebook to see if they could possibly help this woman. Much to my surprise, the director, Sabrina Crain, responded and not only did she share my outrage, she said she would find out the woman’s court date and advocate for this woman.
I feel so hopeful that people and organizations like Sabrina Crain and Learn to Fish Recovery exist. In educating myself more about this organization, I learned that their current office manager is a former patient herself that Crain personally advocated for from the court system. This non-profit organization is truly making a difference in the lives of women in Manatee and Sarasota Counties of Florida. I truly hope the woman featured in the WPTV article will accept the help that Learn to Fish Recovery can offer. If you would like to donate your time or money to this worthwhile organization, please click here.