Opportunity.

Hello and thank you for visiting. Please forgive me, I have no idea how to properly express all of this. At any moment, a Fresno County Sheriff is going to come and serve me a 5-Day Notice to Vacate — to lock me out of my apartment.

I am being evicted. Forced to be homeless. Again.

I fought my landlord for negligence, turning off water, not having access to hot water for the past three months, and overall breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability (for a long list of Building Code violations that went neglected for nearly one and one-half years in my apartment). Welp, I lost. So now I owe: back rent, attorney fees, late fees, and service fees. This eviction will stay on my housing record for SEVEN years. I face an impossible situation. Living on less than $900 SSI Disability, trying to immediately secure housing, not enough savings for moving fees, no transportation, physically disabled, and liens against any future income… Meanwhile, my landlord is a direct relative of this horrific Bay Area slumlord.

I’ve suffered some of the most severe injustices. Six years ago, I also lost all that I owned. I know this portrays me as some sort of really bad and irresponsible person. Although I’ve done no wrong. I am disallowed the opportunity to defend myself against negative assertions, prejudices, and foregone conclusions. That’s just how this works.

A losing battle, one I don’t even get to fight.

I ask the impossible of you. I ask that you take me at my word.

That I am open. Honest. Intelligent. Capable. That I constantly strive to be a person of great integrity. That I am not negative. (Ha ha, see what I did there? Ha ha). All I’ve wanted is a chance to live with purpose, help make the world a better place. I’ve lived through extenuating circumstances that allow me a unique perspective on the country’s most serious problems, like: poverty, food security, welfare, blight, education, and job creation for the most disadvantaged.

I have an interminable passion for analyzing difficult topics, breaking them down into their faults/strengths/core strategies/objectives, then brainstorming & researching innovative solutions. My wish is to help implement better solutions to the most difficult socio-economic problems of our times. Social justice for all.

There is so much I still wish to do, share, collaborate on, and contribute. I am ready to move anywhere. Do anything. Help in any ways I can. Overwork me and underpay me. Please just give me a chance. Anybody want to help? Hire me. Fund me to move and work on a difficult issue? Start a nonprofit? Develop urban farms, commercial kitchens, co-share workspaces?

California needs $100 billion to repair its failing infrastructure. Saipan has over 50 blighted properties among major thoroughfares- where tourism is the primary revenue engine. Will Baton Rouge lose up to $1.4 billion in FEMA relief funds to fraud and corruption like New Orleans did after Hurricane Katrina (according to the GAO)?

Don’t we need as many capable people as possible working to address our critical needs? I want to join in and help. I’d be thrilled to work, even for less than $1,000 per month. Anywhere.

Do I care that I undermine my own value? Nope. Just having an opportunity is more important than wealth. Is it relevant that last year my Scope of Work was $30/hour for a major university’s business incubator, innovation, and entrepreneurship program? Nope. Impoverished regions always cite their “brain drain,” where talented workers leave for greener pastures and better jobs elsewhere. Lack of talent in impoverished communities. Okay. Hire me or fund me. Pay my moving costs. I can assure you that I am just as desperate as these poor communities are: Cincinnati, Gainesville, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, El Paso, Albuquerque, Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia, Saipan. Yet, I also have skills from working with some of the world’s top talent and businesses. My hardship (and desperation) is what also makes me available. If I were still successful, maybe you recognize the irony of how I wouldn’t be pleading for a chance to move and work in the worst of places? For barely any pay.

I just want a chance. A job. The ability to do good work on the most difficult problems our society faces. The world may discredit me, prejudice against me, and come to unfounded conclusions… all based on my current circumstances of hardship. Is there anybody still willing to actually listen and consider my abilities?

How can I possibly prove myself when society already judges so unfairly against me? Public perception, negative stigma, unjust conclusions. Isn’t this one exact problem that all impoverished and disadvantaged people face? Lack of consideration, inclusion, opportunity. Criminalized without reason.

Everything about my circumstances absolutely sickens me and leaves me numb. I’ve done nothing wrong. I have no recourse. No discussion allowed. I’ve tried so hard. I’ve suffered so much. I don’t understand.

Once I receive my 5-Day Notice to Vacate…
I do not know what is next for me.

A sincere farewell.

david @ soju . org

I Keep Trying

It seems nearly impossible for me to break whatever innate behavioral programming “most people” hold. An uphill battle to even garner a conversation. See? I already seem like I’m negative and whining with an intro like this. I’m an optimist and idealist, this is why I keep trying. To break through, to reach somebody willing to engage in one. single. conversation.

I cannot possibly address everything, nobody would read all those words. Either I find somebody open-minded enough to want to talk, or I don’t. I recognize the odds are severely stacked against me. I’ve gone up against this before. Everywhere. All the time. If I thought like everybody else in the world, I wouldn’t be needed. If every social program or economic revitalization worked, poverty would already be solved. Clearly that isn’t the case. How does one fight the status quo? How could I possibly appeal to your own personal ambitions if I don’t know what they are?

I’m ready to move on from trying to engage in dialogue with Saipan and the CNMI. Momentum is waning and I see the law of diminishing returns already setting in. I’m offering whatever I can, to dedicate myself and my life, work tirelessly, with integrity. And… for almost nothing in return. Seriously. Just an opportunity. Because I want to help do something amazing. Different. Unique. Impactful. I know what my “market value” should be. I also know that I don’t care, and that I’m too desperate – or motivated – to care.

I’m living 20% below the federally-defined poverty line. LOL. All because people are so willing to judge me rather than listen or talk with me, incapable of seeing what I am. Looking at me and treating me like I’m not even human. It’s not like I’m deformed or dumb or rude. Confirmation bias: people see & hear what they want to. I don’t prioritize wealth, so this part is easy. I know that makes people feel uneasy, skeptical, dubious… that I could possibly be what I claim. Yeah, I’m more open and honest than I should be, I know. It’s a fault of mine.

Have I scared you away? Okay, just another ‘filter.’ Rest easy, others are just like this, too. Preconceived judgments are tough to break. Chances are you would not be the open-mind leader I seek. The one reading my words, valuing my thoughts, recognizing my value. Okay.

Is it that hard to believe somebody wants to do good? Push them out, dismiss them, ignore them, must be crazy. Gosh, what does that say about our world and our society as a whole?

Whatever, you’re seeking to accomplish… I’m offering help and support. I could post links for hundreds of business models, books, resources, white papers, research studies, statistics, and other data. The fact is, if one hasn’t already sought them out on one’s own, why would one bother to read tens of thousands of pages for thousands of hours? Just because I post some link? Hardly. Why not get me involved, with all that I wish to offer? My knowledge, experience, exposure, interests, and ideas? What would it cost?

That there might be the issue? Guess what?

I’m ONLY available because I’ve suffered from terrible loss, pain, suffering, and trauma. I wasn’t contacting the CNMI when I was making $80K in my mid-20’s. Or when I worked for the biggest fashion designers. Or after I established my professional photography business and charged up to $1600 for a single pet portrait. Or when I sold my oil painted canvases for $1500-2500 each. Or when I had my own business with clients as big as The Museum of Natural History in New York, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and SF Jazz.

No. I’m contacting you NOW. Because all of that is gone.

My loss could turn into something beneficial for some community willing to try. Wanting improvements and innovation. Any community leader, politician, or nonprofit/NGO/agency has the ability to help allow me to transform my current life from hardship into something beneficial. All it takes is giving me a chance to help the world. Sadly, I know… Most are too judgmental of my circumstance– or offer– to even bother. Life goes on. So do the world’s problems and biggest issues…

Soon, I’ll be forced to seek other communities. The five weeks of intensive, exclusive research I’ve done into the CNMI will be in my rearview as I look towards dozens of other impoverished communities possibly willing to consider my offer to help. I’ll bet it will be the same process I’ve faced before. Pretty much nothing. I’d be willing to bet that the first city, the first leaders to contact me will be where I’d move to. I really don’t care where. I just want the challenge of helping to solve the most difficult issues. I know I can contribute something. I’d prefer Saipan and the CNMI. But it doesn’t really matter. I’m going wherever I’d be valued and able to participate. Detroit, El Paso, Camden, East St. Louis, Albuquerque, Philadephia, Flint, Baltimore, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina…

I would look forward to starting a dialogue. Sincerely,

david @ soju . org