On Thursday, December 21 and Friday, December 22, 2017, PFFC held it’s fifth annual vigil to remember people who died on the streets in Washington DC during 2017. The Vigil very appropriately is in honor of Michael Stoops, fondly remembered by so many of us, who devoted his life to helping the homeless and who himself passed away this year.
Following tradition of prior years, the Vigil began at 5 pm with a services at Luther Church with over 150 in attendance. Following the service participants carried out a police-escorted candlelight march down 13th St. to a large tent erected at Freedom Plaza. Following dinner there was an open-mike where people spoke, sang, read poetry remembering those who had died on the streets during 2017. Following a “overnight challenge” (spending the night in sleeping bags in the tent) and breakfast on Friday, December 22 participants did a walk-around to the offices DC Council Members where they presented a series of asks. Following the walk-around participants regrouped in front of the tent at Freedom Plaza for a police-escorted march, with an empty casket symbolizing those who died on the streets, up 14th St to the New York Ave. Presbyterian Church where participants were given lunch. Following memorial service, co-hosted by PFFC and the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), where the names of everyone who died on the streets or in shelters in 2017 were read, a smaller group took the casket to a garden in front of Luther Place Church where the ashes of Mitch Snyder and other homeless individuals are buried.
Five DC Council Members (Nadeau, Grosso, Gray, Bonds, Robert White) joined in and spoke at different times during the Vigil.the Vigil was covered by most of DC’s TV and radio media.