17 July 2018

Homeless Man Volunteers at the White House Peace Vigil in Washington DC

Like many people released from prison, Barry found himself with no resources to get back into society and end up homeless. Barry decided to relocate to ...

- [Interviewer] Barry, you're homeless,

we're in front of the White House, tell me about it. - Well, I just got out of prison from Arkansas and they don't really have a system of allowing people to come out and you know, have any film or foothold to go to out here and so I decided to come to DC, this is where my representatives are, this is my seat of government, so to intermingle with the big wheels, you gotta play where the big wheels play, so I decided to come to DC and start advocating for prisoners needing more rehabilitation and rehabilitation into society programs out there. - [Interviewer] It's an important cause. - So I decided to come here and start my own non-profit organization, based on the concept of each one to each one, bring people out of prison into a group home kind of a place, that gives them rehabilitation programs that the judicial system should be giving to the prisoners, so that whenever they get released, they can contribute to society and we just don't have that in our judicial system right now. - [Interviewer] So you're part of an activist community here doing kind of a protest in front of the White House? - Right and this organization is all about world peace,

humanities being met, stopping torture and bombings, so it covers a wide range. - [Interviewer] But a bunch of you rotate? You're not staying here? - That's right, this is not allowed to be lived in, it is a protest that's been going on, since 1979, it was founded based on anti-nuclear technology. - [Interviewer] This here's been going on since 1979? - That's correct. - Wow! So different people rotate? - The primary caregiver, taker of this program is a guy named Philipos and he's been out here since 1984. - [Interviewer] Wow! - He actually took President Reagan to court over the issue of being allowed to stay here. - [Interviewer] Wow! - Reagan tried to kick him out, which is the only reason he's the only one here, because they enacted a new law saying that you can't, you know, maintain a vigil or something without permits and time gaps and he took 'em to court and the Supreme Court ruled, saying that because they were here prior to the enactment of a new law, they were grandfathered in to the ability to stay here. - [Interviewer] So what happens, I mean, earlier, the Secret service pushed us all out the park, I'm told they do that a couple of times a day, what happens to you?

- Whenever the street is shut down, they pull a strip across here and we all just gotta get on the sidewalk and we stay here, but if they close the whole park down, then I have to walk over to the fence and maintain a vigil of the vigil. - [Interviewer] Okay, so this stays here, but you have to move? - Right. - Okay, that's gotta be tough. - That would. - [Interviewer] So where are you staying at now? - During the shifts that I work here, of course I'm here, but at nighttime I sleep wherever I may be at any given moment. The whole, entire summer of last year, I spent right here in the park, you know, across from the White House, 'cause that was my inspiration, every morning I woke up and I looked at the White House and it gave me aspiration to achieve the things that I'm trying to achieve. - [Interviewer] You must know Elijah Nature Boy? - The who? - [Interviewer] Elijah Nature Boy, he spends a lot of time in this park or there's Daisy Dukes. - I've been gone for four months, I've been visiting my Mom, so I just got back two days ago and I've been here the entire time, except other than to walk to go get something to eat.

- [Interviewer] If you had three wishes, what would they be? - Wow, three wishes, well, world peace, that would be my first one. More love and joy and compassion in the people. Three, just to have my basic needs met, you know, that's all I can really hope for in life, you know. - Great wishes. - Do the best that I can and always move forward. - [Interviewer] Well, thank you very much for talking to me. - Hey, no problem. Thank you. (light melodic music)