I’m swathed in the “free at last!” feeling! My journey from homelessness has ended. I left Toronto’s Maxwell Meighen Center men’s homeless shelter on Thursday, April 7. I stayed with a dear friend the next Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, I found a place and moved in the next day, Sunday, April 10.
My new place is exactly where I’d have built my castle if I’d it my way: within a 2km radius off the heart of Downtown Toronto… 5 minutes’ walk from the lakefront… and a few Obert steps from the subway line.
Why did it take me a week to tell? Well, I wanted to be 101% sure this was just an illusion. The last six months have been quite “interesting”.
At the end of last August, some directors of my former employer, CAP AIDS, abruptly fired me so that they could hire a white executive director. Apparently, they believe that only a white executive director can boost the organization’s fundraising prospects in Canada. Pretty racist and ignorant. Canadians responded enthusiastically to my accented and black-man fundraising efforts when I was CAP AIDS executive director from May 2008 to August 2010. My achievements speak louder than I can scream.
From September to December, I undertook a carefully-controlled, doctor-monitored hunger strike to protest my exploitation and racially-motivated neglect, manipulation, sabotage, harassment, discrimination and victimization by some directors of CAP AIDS.
On February 28, I lost my apartment after I failed to pay rent for five months.
On March 1, I moved into homeless shelter.
On March 24, a fellow inmate at the shelter “borrowed” my wallet. My credit cards, debit cards, Canadian Permanent Resident card, health card, SIN card, etc. – gone!
On April 5, I met and befriended this guy – Aaron Myers or Aaron Leigh – and he conned me out of $1 100 on the pretext that he’d find me a place of my own. He’s disappeared without a trace.
Now I’m 101% sure this is real. I’ve arrived home. It’s a new day! I feel like I own half the world. And I emerged intact from the jaws of a monster that feeds on life’s very essence. A homeless shelter is not a home.
I’m especially relieved to be free of that haunting voice at the shelter, which announced the arrival of every new day with: “It’s six a.m., gentlemen… time to wake up… and be sure to be out of the dorm by 7am…”
(Article cross-posted on Obert Madondo’s CAP AIDS Ordeal)