Improving Government/Citizen relations

 

On August 22nd, 2017, I was invited to be a guest speaker for the “Decentralize Your Life Tour”.  A national tour spearheaded by Libertarian Activist, Derrick Broze, who often finds himself in the cross-hairs of government through his independent journalism. Mr.Broze covered the “Standing Rock” protests in the Dakotas and has traveled the world advocating for a freer society. Being involved in protests have often caused him legal troubles, which is common in the practice of civil disobedience.

His message was that of, “Opting out” of the system and finding non-governmental solutions to societies problems. A notion that seems to have much support these days in light of government sponsored controversies which so frequently headline our news media outlets today.

However, when it was my turn to speak, my message, albeit sympathetic to Mr.Broze’s message of “Laissez Faire Capitalism” and “community works”, I reminded the audience that our current system is here to stay for a long time and we must learn to harness its positivity while reducing its negativity, until it is potentially no longer needed.. Additionally, those who work in government are human beings with hearts who are capable of doing great change for the world themselves and should not be looked down upon. Changing a paradigm isn’t something that happens overnight, it requires a multi-tiered approach.

I outlined several abnormalities and injustices found today within the legal system and what we can do to educate and empower ourselves while in tandem, working with government officials. Reforms and innovations are both equally effective at creating a better world for those who live in it. With the rise of the Alt-Right and Alt-Left, (Neo-Nazis Vs Antifa), we are living in very polarizing times, however, I believe a middle-ground in these debates are just what the doctor ordered!

Watch the video below to check out my introductory speech. In the speech, I make reference to my shadow report regarding corruption in the family law courts. That report can be found on the “Human Rights Reporting Page” on this website.

  • Randell Stroud 2017 Nalini-Global

How to settle Legal Matters- A basic guide for Newbies

 

“Money makes the world spin”.  It’s a phrase that we all know very well. Credit cards, alimony, child-support, mortgages, student loans, business loans, ….with a current 19 Trillion debt, the United States and its citizens are buried in financial problems.  But, there is one thing that most of these aforementioned debts have in common, they can usually be mitigated with “settlements” and/or negotiations. However, in this article I will focus on basic lawsuits and criminal cases.

When we hear the word, “Settlement”, images of money are immediately conjured into our minds.  Most of the settlements we hear about in the media are for large sums, anywhere from $50K to millions of dollars, often involving celebrities or powerful business moguls.  Many people might ask, “If a party knows they are innocent, then why would they agree to settle the case?”

People settle cases for all kinds of reasons.

  1. Save on lawyer expenses
  2.  Avoid public attention
  3.  Reduce stress/Time in court
  4.  Reduce risks of harsher sanctions from potentially losing in a trial.

Defendants often settle criminal cases for “plea” bargains. (An admittance of guilt in exchange for a lighter punishment) for similar reasons that defendants agree to settle in civil cases.

Nobody likes being in court! It is costly, time consuming, stressful and can be somewhat intimidating. Whether you are being sued for a credit card debt or facing criminal charges, the potential of being garnished, put in jail, missing time away from work and family, the presence of armed guards, black robed judges, ect…. the entire process can be a bit frightening, especially for those who do not spend much time in the courts. (Which is usually most people unless you are a legal professional, police officer, or a habitual criminal.)

When we decide to settle a case, we have to weigh our options. Defendants and Plaintiffs settle for the same reasons believe it or not. If a defendant believes he has a weak defense or is simply fed up with the court process, he is likely to settle, if a plaintiff believes he has a weak argument or he is fed up with the court process, he is likely to settle. Time is money, and people do not like to have their’s wasted!

In essence, settlements happen when people come to a conclusion after assessing in their minds a “cost-benefit-analysis”.  Let us take a look at the perspective from a defendant and plaintiff’s point of view in a hypothetical discrimination case.

John sues Corporation-Z for racial discrimination.  John has several witnesses who have agreed to testify. Corporation-Z learns that these witnesses with be participating. Corporation-Z believes that John has a good chance at defeating them in court. Corp-Z offers John $10,000 to settle the case out of court. If John were to win the case in court, he would probably sue for much more in damages, however, if John takes the offer, he can save himself attorney fees and months (possibly years) going to court cases.

Although Corp-Z is in a disadvantageous position, they are well-funded and will be able to drag the case on for a long time. John is a simple 9 to 5 employee with very little resources. However, John feels that he has strong evidence and is unwilling to settle for $10,000, he refuses the offer and decides to see it through to the end. Corp-Z offers another amount for $15,000, John still refuses.

Corp-Z files several continuances to drag out the case. John is getting tired.

John later finds out that several of his key witnesses have decided not to testify. John is now getting worried. Corp-Z has not yet learned that the witnesses have backed out. The next court date is in 6 weeks. John must act fast! Due to these new circumstances, his chances to win the case have gotten much lower.

At this point, John has several options:

  1. Contact the defendant and accept their $15,000 settlement offer
  2.  Send the defendant one last counter offer for a higher amount before agreeing to settle.
  3.  Rebuild his case, look for new evidence, take the case to trial and potentially win big or end up with nothing if he loses.

Option 1 is the safest–  Defendants and Plaintiffs have the option to offer and/or withdraw settlement offers at ANY TIME. In this scenario, the defendant, Corp-Z is likely to accept to settle unless new evidence has been obtained.

Option 2 is a little risky–  In this situation, John has learned that his witnesses are refusing to testify. Corp-Z has not yet found out, however, if they do find out, they are very likely to withdraw any offers to settle, as they will be likely to defeat the suit. John can attempt to negotiate one last time to get a higher amount from the defendant, but it will take some time to sort out the particulars, and time is something John doesn’t have with a looming court date. The closer the trial date gets, the more likely the defendant is to find out about the witnesses backing out.

Option 3 is highly risky– If the case goes to a trial by jury and John has other evidence besides witness testimony, the jury could still see it his way. If his witnesses are his key pieces of evidence, then he is at high risk for losing. This option would require very careful consideration. If John wins the case through jury, he will likely receive a huge pay-out, if he loses the case, he could end up losing everything or even end up being counter-sued by Corporation-Z.

Factors to consider:

Is John poor? How bad does he need money? If he loses the case, will he still be financially sound? Is he looking for justice or a pay-out? What are his goals in this lawsuit? Is he mentally and emotionally prepared to stay in court for several more months?  These are questions John has to ask himself before making a decision on how to proceed.

 

From the Defendant’s perspective:

Corporation-Z is a business and they have a business to run. Handling these legal matters are a huge cost and burden on the operation. Negative publicity can also hurt the business extensively.  Even if Corporation-Z discovers that the plaintiff, John, has lost his key witnesses, it still may be beneficial for Corporation-Z to settle. Typically, when settlements occur, non-disclosure agreements must be signed stating that the allegations against the company cannot be publicly discussed.  If Corp-Z refuses to settle and defeats John, John may still end up retaining his right to discuss the trial and his allegations to public organizations causing bad press not to mention the extra legal fees it may take to try and sue John later for defamation.

In this situation, if Corp-Z discovers that John has lost his witnesses, Corp-Z can agree to settle, for the same amount previously offered or for a lower amount, (since Z now has bargaining power!) or Corp-Z can withdraw all offers and attempt to win in trial.

Corporate attorneys are famous for their slogan to , “Always settle, settle, settle”.

While Corporation-Z has a good chance at defeating John, they may end up spending triple the amount of their settlement offer attempting to defeat the suit, also, Corporation-Z isn’t fully aware if John has any other additional evidence that is not yet known.  Victory is not always guaranteed. In court, just as in a boxing match, the ability to appear weak when one is strong, and the ability to appear strong when one is weak, is very crucial in the negotiation process of settling a case.

Timing:

Losing a lawsuit that goes to trial can result in dire consequences.

  1. Income garnishments
  2.  Loss of employment as a result of being garnished by multiple entities
  3. Loss of public reputation
  4. property being seized
  5. injunctions being placed against yourself or your business
  6. liens being places on your assets
  7. Tax refunds being withheld
  8.  Negative credit score

(These are just a few examples)

Some may be tempted to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in light of being sued for a debt, however, I wouldn’t recommend doing so unless your debts exceed $10,000. I’ll save that discussion for another article.

Timing is very critical when it comes to successfully mitigating a civil or criminal case. Let’s say you owe a credit card company $10,000.  Typically, after you default on your loan for more than 90 days, the credit card company will likely sell your debt to a third party collector. A few months to a year later, you are likely to be served with a warrant stating that you are being sued for the amount by the third party debt collector who purchased the debt for pennies on the dollar.

Once the lawsuit is filed, the creditor now has the upper-hand. Since you have essentially ignored all attempts to collect, it is assumed that you are avoiding the debt and do not have the means to pay it back. A smarter decision would have been to inquire about hardship programs or attempt to settle the debt with a partial amount before you were sued. (Always get everything in writing).  However, since things have escalated to a court hearing, the creditor now probably believes that they have a great chance to win the case.

When most people owe a debt, they stick their heads in the sand and do nothing. If you are sued for a credit card debt, your goal now is to re-establish your bargaining power! Even if you owe the debt, make them prove it! File an answer to the lawsuit, file a discovery request, ask for continuances! ( I can help you do these things by offering a template to follow.) Once the creditor sees that you aren’t going to be like the other 99% of people who don’t show up to court and allow for a default judgement, the creditor will be likely willing to settle the debt for a fraction of what they are suing you for.

While you are fighting the lawsuit, whether your intention is to get it dismissed through lack of evidence,lack of itemization or your goal is to settle the debt for a lesser amount, you must act swiftly! If you do intend to settle the debt, be sure to make the number attractive but not too high. If you owe $10,000, offer them 30%, because they are likely to counter back asking for 50%.

If the creditor is not willing to settle and/or you lose the case, enroll in a “slow-pay” program. That’s right! If you lose a lawsuit, you can enroll in a “slow-pay” program whereas you may only be paying $20 a month or so to the creditor. (Albeit for a very long time!).  Through the slow-pay process, you can pay with a check or money order. In order for the plaintiff (or creditor) to garnish your wages, they have to get an approved garnishment order from a court. If you miss a single-payment through the slow-pay program, some jurisdictions automatically issue a garnishment order because of your lack of ability to keep your promise to pay.

Federal law protects workers from being fired if they are being garnished by a single entity. However, if two or more entities are garnishing you, federal law allows employers to fire you because of the administrative burden your garnishment orders are costing to the company you work for.

Any legal case must be taken seriously whether it be criminal or civil. Even traffic court can cost us! If you ignore a traffic ticket, don’t be surprised if you later find out that your drivers license has been revoked! Reinstating a revoked license is time consuming and can cost hundreds, even thousands, depending on the liens placed upon the license.

In many criminal cases, district attorneys will offer “plea deals”. This “deal” is basically where you agree to admit guilt in exchange for a lighter punishment. Plea deals can benefit both parties. The district attorney meets his conviction quota, you receive a lighter sentence than you would if you lost your trial, and the process of court is sped up.

Going back to the lessons we learned earlier about, “Appearing strong when you are weak, and to be weak when you are strong”, accepting plea deals is an art within itself just as accepting settlements are.

Example:

John is accused of stealing a car. John maintains that he is innocent.

John’s witnesses didn’t show up to court.

The state offers him a plea deal.  Admit guilt and you will only face 6 months in jail.

John refuses! The trial continues

The state is having a hard time presenting evidence against John.

The state offers a new plea deal.

“1 month in jail with 6 months probation.”

John again refuses and demands a jury.

The jury hears John’s defense and the state’s allegations against him.

The jury decides that John is guilty! John will be sentenced to 3 years in prison.

John should have taken the plea deal!

Now, this is a worse case scenario! Just as in our lawsuit example earlier with, “Corporation-Z”, many factors come into play.

Let us replay the scenario. This time, John has several alibis and video surveillance of the vehicle being stolen that he managed to find on the internet. The video is low-quality but the suspect appears to have red-hair, John has brown hair!

John challenges the state’s claim. The state claims that John merely dyed his hair brown and his alibis are lying about where he was during the alleged carjacking!

John is confident in his defense and refuses all plea deals.

The jury finds John innocent!

Had John taken a plea deal, he would have ruined his record and served time for a crime he never committed! However, the jury could have still convicted him. No matter how confident you feel in your case, always prepare for the unexpected and don’t be afraid to appeal if necessary to buy yourself more time.

When to refuse a plea deal or when to take one, is no different than debating on whether or not to take a settlement. Many innocent men and women have taken plea deals for crimes they didn’t commit on the advice of their attorney who advised their client that the evidence is just too strong against them; even though they maintain their innocence.

Some defendants value their honor so much, that they resolve to never take a plea deal regardless of the consequences, whereas others make informed decisions in an effort to preserve themselves. In law, there is no “black or white”, “right or wrong” choice. Everything is about weighing risks vs rewards.  Every situation is completely different.

Who is the judge presiding over this case? Who are the jurors? What state is this case being held in? What do the state laws say? Are you in a liberal state or a conservative state? Does your lawyer have a good reputation or a bad reputation? Are you handling this case pro-se? Do you have any experience with legal matters?

These are all questions that can drastically effect the outcome of a case, or as I call them , “The intangible factors”.  In your heart, you may know that you are innocent, or feel that your case is valid, however, it isn’t always about what you “feel”, it’s about what you can convincingly present to the courts in conjunction with applicability of the law.

If you are involved in a lawsuit or criminal case as either a plaintiff or defendant, be sure to check out our “Legal Services” page.  Our programs there offer legal defense funds for people starting as low as $20 per month with unlimited consultations with licensed attorneys.  If you want to consult with me personally, follow instructions on my Consulting Page .  I can offer you one-time friendly advice, educational lessons, templates, and other resources to you, however I cannot offer you legal advice as I am not a licensed attorney, thus, anything I advise you on will have to be taken as “friendly” advice, not legal advice.  I have been working in the legal-field as paralegal/researcher for about 7 years and have experience in various jurisdictions and areas of law.

feel free to contact me Naliniglobal@yahoo.com 

 

Copywrite 2017- NaliniGlobal

Randell Stroud

 

Kentucky Police Department tests the 4th Amendment

To: Paducah Police Chief, Brandon Barnhill-  bbarnhill@paducahky.gov

From: Nalini-Global- Naliniglobal@yahoo.com 

The Paducah Police Department of Kentucky has recently launched a new initiative known as the, “Lock it or Lose it” campaign. Officers will now be encouraged to conduct sweeps around the city to check vehicles parked on public property, to see if they are properly locked and/or if valuables are in plain-view. If the vehicle is found to be unlocked and unattended by the owner, the officer will run the license plate and make attempts to reach the owner of the vehicle by telephone. If the officer cannot make contact, the officer will place a door hanger on the owner’s registered home address linked to the license plate. The informational door hanger will contain a warning to keep their vehicle properly locked up.

Officers who come across vehicles that are properly locked, will leave a “Thank you” card on the windshield of the vehicle. On the back of the card, a survey can be completed and mailed to the Paducah Police Department. Those who fill out the survey are automatically entered into a drawing contest to win prizes.  Officer Christopher Fearon recently spoke on a local Television program called “The Paducah View“, promoting the initiative stating that , “….Paducah is a safe town to live in, and sometimes people gain a false sense of security because of that.”   The initiative is not a nation-wide federal mandate, however, other cities and states have launched similar programs such as the “Lock it or Lose it” program launched in Lakeland,Florida last year. The Lakeland Police Department uses even more invasive tactics such as placing a bright orange cone on the top of an unlocked vehicle and leaving “lock it or leave it” brochures inside of the vehicle in order to send a “wake up” message to the car owner to lock up his/her valuables.

According to an article written by the West Kentucky Star, Officer Fearon states that, “……the Paducah Police Department will not leave warning hangers on the car itself nor will they open the car doors.” However, there is a million dollar question that comes with such a statement.

How can you know if a car is unlocked unless you try to open it?

On the surface, such a program may seem innocent or even well-intended. To be honest, it probably is well intended. Some may jump to conspiracy theories about, “Big Brother is Watching”, or claim that there is some secret agenda, yet, I believe it is simply a plan that is not well-thought out albeit well intended.

I have two problems with this initiative.

  1. A potential breach of the 4th Amendment
  2.  An abuse of power 

For an officer to make contact with a person or his property, there generally has to be “probable cause” or “Reasonable Suspicion”. “Probable cause” is a principle that is highly debated, especially with practices such as the “Terry Stop” being the norm these days.  A “Terry Stop”, is more a less an officer’s legal right to stop someone for questioning if the subject is doing something “suspicious” but is not engaging in a blatant activity that warrants probable cause for arrest or seizure of property.

Looking at the “Lock it or Lose It” program, I can see many pitfalls with this well-intended program.

Under the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, a private individual has the right to be secure in his possessions and maintain his privacy. This includes his home, his personal belongings, his e-mails, text messages, and yes……his vehicle! If an officer wants to enter the home of a citizen, search a vehicle, or seize property, he must obtain a warrant signed from a judge or the subject must voluntarily consent.

If an officer routinely approached your house, unwarranted, and began to “jiggle” the locks on your door to make sure they are “secured”, would you feel safer or violated? If your answer is “violated”, then you are probably not a supporter of this initiative. Or at least you shouldn’t be.   In order for an officer to determine whether or not a vehicle is locked, unless the door is left wide-open, the officer will have to physically attempt to open the door of the vehicle. The Paducah Police Department claims that they will not open doors, but how else could they test whether or not a car door is locked?

If this program becomes the norm around the nation, citizens will begin to develop a false-sense of trust for law enforcement officers who “check” their locks. While I believe most officers have good hearts and truly want to protect their communities, who is to say that this program wouldn’t be alluring to an officer who may be inclined to use this program to conduct full on searches or to plant evidence illegally? This type of program could create a curtain for abuse of power and make it easier for law enforcement to target citizens or to obtain an arrest and/or conviction.

If my car is stolen, or my valuables are taken because of my own negligence, I have no one to blame but myself and the person who lacks the moral aptitude to refrain from stealing.  Our local police are already burdened with investigators looking to track down murderers, pedophiles, rapists, and other violent criminals.  We cannot expect law enforcement to protect us 24/7 unless we all agreed to live in a militarized police-state where our every action, thought, and movement were all being recorded or monitored.

With the rise of the TSA, Terrorist threats and the controversy surrounding the “NSA Spy Program” leaked by former intelligence officer Edward Snowden, many Americans look at this program with the same question that has plagued us all since September 11th, 2001.

“How do we balance security while respecting our individual liberty and privacy?”

The police and military have a job to do. Their #1 duty is to protect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of their fellow residents and citizens. Their job is not to make sure we button up our shirts correctly, brush our teeth every morning, or lock our cars when we run inside the grocery store to purchase a loaf of bread.

Not only is this program disrespecting the 4th amendment of the Constitution, but it is also creating unnecessary, “Busy Work” for police officers who could be applying their time and resources towards tackling and solving crimes that are actually taking place or have already taken place.  From a tax burden issue, who will pay for these informational cards to be printed up? What will be the administrative cost of this program a year from now?  How many man hours will be dedicated to this program? These, among other issues, certainly need to be addressed before further implementation of this program continues.

What are your thoughts? Should the program be discontinued, altered, or do you see it as perfectly innocent?

Let me know at, NaliniGlobal@yahoo.com

Thank you,

With love and honor

Randell D Stroud,

Founder of Nalini-Global

2017

(To be Submitted)

From Vietnam to Nashville: Migrant brings awareness to homelessness

SUNDAY OCT 9TH, 2016

When we think of homelessness, images of alcoholism, criminal records, and drug abuse tend to come to mind. However, the causes of homelessness and the factors that keep the homeless from re-entering society are not necessarily interchangeable.  A young woman named, Leah Huynh,26, a migrant from Vietnam who was raised in Tennessee, decided to take it upon herself to understand the plight of the homeless through the lens of her own past struggles.

“Back in Vietnam,  I remember my parents working from dusk till dawn, just to provide a place to stay for us. Often times we had very little to eat, yet my father instilled in me that a little can go a long way, and whatever we had, someone else had less, so we must take it upon ourselves to give and share.” 

Huynh, wanting to be a role-model to her son, had always wanted to give back to the down-trodden and had finally decided to take action! Ms.Huynh reached out to Nalini-Global’s very own, Randell Stroud-Sagara, in order to strategically create an out-reach mission. Sagara himself, having experienced a brief period of homelessness in 2014, due to a series of unfortunate events, was somewhat acquainted with the homeless community through his time spent at the Nashville Rescue mission.

We began our quest at Nashville’s “Tent City”, located in East Nashville, off of a major parkway. The campsite, located adjacent to a railroad system, was fairly well kept. Approximately 15 patrons were held up in the location. Upon entry into the camp, the scene was quiet in the midday. We peaked our heads around for several minutes, noticing tables, laundry lines, and tents scattered inside a bushy yet well groomed forrest that effectively camouflaged their whereabouts from the public.

Eventually a man approached us from his dwelling and nervously asked, “What can I do for you?”. I said, “My name is Randy, I came here the other day and spoke to “Jeff”, we are the one’s who are bringing water.”   He replied, “Oh right! He told me about you!” . Courtesy of Ms.Huynh, over 30 gallons of water was donated to the campsite. While we unloaded the canisters from our car, more camp-dwellers approached us from the bush. A young man and his girlfriend who appeared to be in their early 20’s were the first to do so.

They shared their stories of struggle and explained the cycle of poverty. As one of the dwellers explained to me,

” We are the secret side of America that are routinely forced outta sight. Living as third world refugees in a 1st world country. Most Americans are one paycheck away from being evicted, one car repair from losing their job, one divorce away from losing half your income, one health problem away from going bankrupt, one traffic ticket away from losing your drivers license. With the average rent in Nashville being close to $800 dollars per month, plus electricity, and other costs, including transportation, the advice of “go get a job” isn’t enough. The average entry level job pays between 8-10$ per hour. Good luck trying to keep a damn roof over your head on that! Many of us get so depressed that once we end up on the street, that yes, many of us do turn to alcohol and drugs to ease the pain, and that ends up landing us in jail for petty offenses or we lose our licenses for not being able to afford to pay off a simple traffic ticket. It costs over $80 a month for metro transit. Once we lose our transportation and acquire records, we become slaves to our parole officers that we must pay every month, then employers dont want to hire us, and on top of all of it, many of us who end up on the streets suffer from bad credit, therefore no apartment complex even wants to take us in. I truly feel like those who live in poverty are made into criminals, not the other way around.” 

I asked about the dwellers’ view on the Nashville Rescue mission, and they all tended to have similar views and experiences that I too hold even to this day. The Rescue mission panders to donations, shoos away competitors, and has strict admittance rules into their program. Many who enter the mission become dependent and never make it out. The strict rules make it almost impossible to maintain a work schedule unless you are lucky enough to find a traditional 9-5 job working on the weekdays only.

For these reasons, among many others, the dwellers of the “Tent City” elect to brave the elements for the sake of less restrictions and more flexibility in who they trust. Unlike the Rescue mission, which operates more like a prison, the campsites act as a community, where they make newcomers earn their keep and develop trusting relationships. As one of the dwellers told us,

” Many volunteers and other homeless people come through these parts who seem innocent enough, yet they take advantage of us for media gain or in the case of outsiders who wish to join our camp, seek to take advantage of our kindness by selling the food that we gave to them for free in order to profit off of other homeless people. We really have to police ourselves in this community and help eachother rise out of this situation.” 

Most of the dwellers wanted to remain anonymous and expressed fear of those claiming to want to help them. Due to Governor Bill Haslam’s “anti-camping law”, that was passed back in 2013 as a retaliation against “Occupy Nashville Protestors”, the state has the discretion to arrest anyone they see sleeping on so called, “public property”. Luckily, these particular tent dwellers, have the local railroad company backing their plight through their own land deed on the soil they temporarily call home.

During our initial water drop, we noticed a caravan arrive with two men inside. One of the camp-leaders pulled me aside and said, “There is Steve and Eddie”.  Apparently, they were the founders of “Homestreet  Home Ministries”, a local non-profit that spends its days driving around the city feeding the homeless and mentoring at-risk individuals through lectures and seminars. Steven Young, was once homeless himself he states. Upon meeting us he explains,….

” I was homeless for 3 years. I thought it was only going to last about two months but it turned out to be a more difficult situation than I had imagined”.

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(Eddie Sanchez,Steven Young, Stroud, Leah Huynh at a homeless campsite.)

Things turned around when he met Eddie Sanchez. A passerby who walked past Young on a daily basis. Eventually they formed a friendship, Young worked his way off the streets, and the pair formed their non-profit.  Both men have stark contrasts. Steven, a tall heavier set male, who is has a bear-like grip and a non-nonsense attitude, yet speaks with honor and great passion. Whereas Eddie has long hair, very soft-spoken, and has a razor-sharp focus.  The pair have quite the chemistry!

As myself and Ms.Huynh finished passing out the water, we engaged in a two hour long discussion with the pair alongside the camp dwellers. Young shared my sentiments about the Rescue mission and other so called non-profits in the area who had turned “corporate”, (a slang term meaning that the organizations had become recognized and profitable, thus you saw very little of their presence in the field of out-reach, instead you can find their workers on the phone begging for monetary donations.) Young and Sanchez explained that their organization uses about 95% of their donations to directly aide the homeless, whereas the rest was used to cover gas and website expenses.

Young, the more vocal of the two, gave me his straightforward analysis,

” About 30% of the homeless are committed to getting off the street. The rest have given up and succumbed to addiction or depression. We try to give extra resources to those we feel are putting in the extra work to get off the street, yet, regardless of how you live your life, it is our oath under God to feed anyone who is hungry and cloth anyone who doesn’t have a shirt on their back. Everyone has potential, and we want that 30% number to rise, but it’s going to take some tough love,reforms in the economy and justice system. We don’t sugar-coat anything, and we hold these people accountable. I too was once homeless and understand the pit-falls they face. I am not afraid to show tough love to those we help. And by tough-love, I mean, taking away their beer bottles and giving some heart to heart lectures that they don’t want to hear but need to hear!”  

Some may be shocked to hear a non-profit leader who is also a minister to speak in such blunt terms, but you cannot really argue with his logic. While many organizations coax their donors into pity and victimhood in order to seek larger donations, Young and Sanchez obviously believe in a pragmatic and balanced approach! An approach that is noble and quite refreshing, especially after having worked in the non-profit sector where seeking donations tend to take precedent over actually helping those intended to benefit from said donations.

After sharing stories and making friends with Steven and Eddie, Ms.Huynh organized a fleet of her friends and family on sunday Oct.9th to distribute over 50 boxes of pizza, 13 cases of water bottles, and care packages hand-made by Huynh and her friends, which mainly consisted of hygienic products to the homeless population in Nashville.  I decided to meet Ms.Huynh alongside her friends at “Tent city” to start “Operation Pizza”.  Steven and Eddie later met up with us and agreed to aquaint us with other homeless outposts scattered throughout Davidson county.

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What we saw was life-changing and profound. People living alone in tents alongside intricately carved paths in secluded forests,  larger groups living next to river embankments, young people with college degrees sleeping on couches underneath bridges, and the list goes on.  During our journey, as we drove around town with our fleet of cars, passing out supplies, we came across all types. Those who had given up, and those who clearly were working to get out of the situation. One person I came across even had a business-plan written  up and was asking me for advice on how to obtain a business license. He had saved money for lawn-care equipment and a hotdog stand through his work with temp agencies.

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During our journey, we also came across many innovations. One homeless man had an interest in “off the grid” living tactics and managed to build a wind-turbine energy generator and a solar generator that he made himself using spare parts from toys and leftover electronic equipment.  It allowed him to charge his cell-phone, power a small fan, and a radio for entertainment.  He explained the mechanics of how he built it, however, his knowledge was vastly superior to mine on the subject material. I was truly impressed.  The man, who called himself, “Terry”, humorously explains.

” I cant get a job without a phone to answer. And I cant make it to work if I die of a heat-stroke. And I can’t smile without a song to dance to!” 

I also kept hearing the name, “Champ”, being mentioned in the homeless camps that we came across. Apparently he was a bit of a legend. I briefly mentioned my background in boxing, and his name would come up everytime.  “Champ”, was a former state boxing champion who had a promising career in the sport of boxing before he lost his family and ended up on the streets. I asked to arrange a meeting with him, but later learned from another homeless man that he had checked into rehab. I hope to look for him in the future and possibly connect him with the boxing scene in Nashville and allow him to teach some of my students as I myself am a boxing coach. Anyone who has his resume in the sport can surely be an asset to young up and coming fighters. His story and expertise could potentially make him the perfect coach and mentor for other fighters. (Stay tuned for that developing story)

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(Ponce and Stroud: Ponce is a homeless single-father with a heartbreaking tale. )

As our day of outreach came to a close, we shared moments of laughter, encouragement, humbleness, outrage, pity, empathy, and a whole slew of emotions. In fact, we even managed to attract a few hecklers who criticized our efforts stating that we were wasting our time. Nevertheless, as Ms.Huynh put it so eloquently in her own words,

” This isn’t about what they decide to do with the resources we give them. It’s about doing what is right. Standing by those who are going without, and letting society know that we do care. Even if there is only a percentage of homeless who are dedicated to getting off the streets, it doesn’t matter to me. I give because it feels good to give, and I have seen first-hand what it feels like to be hungry. My father instilled this quality of compassion in me. It’s here and I can’t get rid of it, so I’am going to continue my efforts because it feels right! If you have a bed, a roof over your head, and you know where your next meal is coming from, then you’re in a position to help! Because these people don’t have those things. If for nothing else, do it for your karma. Someday, you may find yourself in need of its blessing.”