Over 300 souls were honored at the 37th Annual Minnesota Homeless Memorial March and Service on Thursday, December 16th, 2022. This year’s event was organized by a coalition of housing advocacy partners, including Catholic Charities.
As nearly 180 people gathered in the parking lot of Plymouth Congregational Church, bundled against the wind, they exhibited the solemnness of the experience in murmured words and sober expressions.
Behind them, names of individuals who passed away having experience with housing insecurity were inscribed on signboards leaning against the stone chapel wall.
Some placards were picked up by friends, some by family, most by strangers. A few were nameless, as they had yet to be identified, and the ages of those lost were reflected in the marchers, from infants to elders. Many died from COVID and other illnesses, such as addiction and depression. All were remembered as fellow human beings, members of our communities, as well as loved family members.
After a brief welcome filled with gravity and gratitude, the signs were carried on a silent walk through the southern edge of downtown Minneapolis.
Sounds of shuffling boots, crunching snow, and the whisper of coats guided the marchers past towering buildings and rush hour traffic as the sun set, attracting curious glances and moments of pause.
After the group of marchers returned to the church and turned in their signs, they made their goodbyes and departed with heavy and grateful hearts.
A virtual service was conducted in the church’s Sanctuary later in the evening, broadcast on Simpson Housing’s Facebook page. Taped and live memorials were given, mainly shared by a variety of housing advocates and workers from around the state. As a contingent of musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra played, every name was then read and a candle lit in their honor, filling the screen with an ethereal glow.
The service ended with gratitude and a call for neighborliness. The Reverend Dr. DeWayne Davis shared the parable of the Good Samaritan and asked, “What will you do to Educate, Advocate, and Donate?”.