A note from Trinity Center (Austin, TX) that Jenny found tucked in her wallet. Thank you for these words, Reverend. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is celebrated today in America. Many Americans grew up believing today is his birthday, but it is not. He was born Michael King, Jr. on January 15, 1929 […]Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you need to speak to someone about your own experiences with racism or Nazi violence in America, please feel free to contact us using any or all of the methods below. THE THREAT IS SERIOUS AND YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FACE IT ALONE! PLEASE DO NOT FACE IT ALONE. Contacting us is confidential. […]Fight Back
So, this just happened…
The video is here and we are jolted by the experience. Now we have to keep the door locked all the time. Because evidently the police in Austin are allowed to just try the doorknob whenever they please.
Stay safe, everyone. And Happy Holidays.
For a moment in time, I have to bring them back to life. Something in Austin changed this year. It was more than the pandemic. It was more than the protests and riots. It was more than any single one of us here in Austin. Something is just..different.
Even I wonder why I chose to come back. Why do I stay here?
It’s a lot of little things. A few big reasons, sure, but most of it can be summed up in tiny “God moments” I have all over this city in a day. Some of those big things though. Wow. Just wow.
My experience with Street Lit and the incredible opportunities it provided for truly diving into the art of writing is certainly the biggest of the big moments that hold me here. I keep hoping they will open Conference Room A again. I crave the insight of my fellows; Street Lit Guardians of the Galaxy. I need that smoke break on the sidewalk outside, and the fifteen cups of coffee during our totally informal yet somehow life changing sessions.
The link below is in response to an open letter that I wrote to Barry Maxwell, a dear friend and the founder of Street Lit. He’s off somewhere in the big wide world bringing more superheroes into our alliance of Guardians of the [Literary] Galaxy…but he sure left his mark here in the art of Austin. Thanks, Barry.
Looking back on it now, I never would have believed how vital those weekly meetings in that crappy building with those crazy people (that I love so dearly) would be, and even now I wonder if I know just how much that meant.
By the way, they called me “Conference.”
There were so many of my alters that would openly announce themselves in this group. That’s just how close we all became. That’s how raw we were with our writing. That’s how honest we were with each other. My dissociative disorder was apparent and there was simply no point in trying to hide it from these people that were like family.
So, I included them. Instead of destroying my writing, it enhanced it. I didn’t have to write “around” who I was anymore. I just wrote through it. I believe that calling me Conference was just easier for them than trying to figure out which of the “me’s” was hanging with the group that day.
Clearing Things Up
Some weeks, Jenny came to Conference Room A and it was just Jenny.
And some weeks, Jenny showed up, but halfway through Natalya was brought out by something that someone read out of their own work, and then before the end of the meeting Clara had to pop out to remind everyone that she was just there for coffee. Oh, and then Jenny would be back to scan the book shelves one more time before carrying all 20 pounds of new books out on her back.
Other weeks, Angel would show up, and she wouldn’t talk much. Not because she was being rude or didn’t want to…she just didn’t know anyone there. She hadn’t spent as much time with these people, and so she didn’t have much to say. It’s so strange to sit in a room full of strangers you know– people you know you should recognize, but you just don’t.
It didn’t matter to Street Lit. They loved Conference. They still just love ME. Whichever me. Whenever. It doesn’t matter.
What’s in a name?
Part of The Hostile Takeover Project was to just be that raw and truthful in everything we did. So, I absolutely did start the blog under one name and change it back to my maiden name when it became relevant. It will probably change again.
And, yes, we do speak together sometimes (different authors as a “we” voice). Some things we post anonymously because the author prefers that, or there is a security threat that demands anonymity, at least for a while.
Then, other times, the “we” you read on these pages…it’s one body. It’s a single individual. Sometimes, “we” is me…Jenny. Without Street Lit, I just never ever would have had the guts to be me on these pages for you.
Thanks again to all of my Street Lit family and friends. You guys helped make me the writer I am today. Without you, I’d have given this dream up so long ago. I love you guys.
We really hoped for better. The idea of exposing the conditions at the Salvation Army is simply better services for the population they claim to serve. It just confuses us. Year after year, and nothing ever changes.
At all. (11/20/2020)
Photo Credit: Jenny Irelan || Twitter @jennyirelan
Walking by this scene, day after day, week after week…well, let’s just say it feels hopeless. Stay tuned. We are working on another article for #THTB that highlights photos/videos we captured in the past from inside the building.
Open Note to the Salvation Army:
We are so glad that children no longer reside at this shelter, but we’d like to know how you account for all the years they did, and how you justify this scene being acceptable for adults. It simply isn’t. Animals shouldn’t live in this, much less human beings.
How do you escape something that, when proof does miraculously present itself, it seemingly vanishes into to thin air? It isn’t even like sand slipping through your fingers. You don’t even feel it. I’d take that any day. At least there would be proof of some THING existing in the first place.
No, we’re talking about things disappearing with no trace as if they never existed. The easiest thing for society to do is sweep that right under the rug labeled, “She’s Crazy,” or the best one, “What are you on?”
There is an open, standing offer: The Author offers any requests for drug testing to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and says, “I will gladly submit to drug testing, you’ll only find weed in my system, and I challenge you to walk a day in my PTSD and not smoke a joint. But that’s all that’s there.”
Don’t get me…
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Special thanks to Andre for being so cool about letting us film. Even for a moment.
When we tried to embed the video of Andre, our computer went haywire. So, enjoy this old fashioned link to the video on our FB page.(also a great way to find Andre if you were interested in this awesome artist…)
Today, I realized that $1.40 in pennies was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and so I made a trip to my trusty local HEB…ah, CoinStar. Yes…yes.
Before I got off the bus, I noticed a man in the median playing a saxophone, because…well, let’s face it…ya tend to notice a guy in the middle of the road…especially one with a saxophone.
As I left the store, he was still out there…busking away. That’s what it’s about, really. It isn’t about going out to a corner for half an hour or an hour now and then to make a few bucks. It’s about gracing the stages of the sidewalks here in Austin. There are many. It’s about dedicating hours to your craft, and connecting with the art that seeps out of the very pores of the city.
I had to commend him for such a task in a post-Covid crazed Austin. Andre, from Colorado Springs but a former UT student, has just returned to Austin and agrees…things have changed here. I thanked him for helping to bring the music back to Austin. The Live Music Capital of the World needs all the help it can get right now.
Thanks, again and again, Andre! Hope to see you on 6th Street. Go post up at 6th and Brazos. Tell em Jenny says HEY!!! ❤
While security issues are reviewed, the Escaping White Supremacism project is on hold.
The #EWS project will continue. If you need to speak to someone about your own experiences with racism or Nazi violence in America, please feel free to email us at email@example.com and someone will contact you as soon as possible.We Will Return
We would just like to know, after all these years, why aren’t these public safety issues being addressed? Did you guys really think that hosing off the doorway to the Clinic Services (which has not been open to clients for many years) and the pavement and watching it wash off down the alley was really going to work? What is this? Tell me. Where is all that money going?
April 11, 2016
These images were taken in the alley (affectionately referred to as the Sally Alley) between the Salvation Army Downtown Shelter and the ARCH on April 11, 2016 by Jenny Irelan.
After years of disgusting, unsanitary conditions at the shelters, we were not surprised to find this situation in the alley escalating.
July 17, 2020
Photo Credits: Jenny Irelan, Twitter: @jennyirelan
When we took a walk down the Sally Alley, it was cleaner. Certainly, this appears cleaner. However, the metal of the doors is deteriorating. The bottom of the metal doors is rotting away. As of this writing, there are no children living within the downtown shelter.
Children were living at the shelter in April of 2016. They walked past that mess every single day. It’s disgusting and nobody deserves to live in such conditions. Sadly, this isn’t even the worst of what #THTB found at the downtown shelter. Pictures and videos taken from inside the shelter are being investigated and we will report more when we have a better idea of what we are seeing.
At best, it is neglect and misuse of funding. We don’t even want to talk about worst case scenarios at this point, because what we found is terrifying. Images of standing water in bathtubs, rooms that are just out of view for security cameras, and holes in the wall exposing plumbing and wiring; all in the family dorm. Some of these images can be found on our Facebook page, but will be featured here when the article is released.
The Hostile Takeover Blog respectfully asks the Salvation Army to respond to these pictures, and please help us understand what has been going on in Austin at the Salvation Army Downtown Shelter.