Some Good News From Athens

I noticed this last week, and meant to post it Friday.

Then the L.A. Times covered it in detail today.

Ted Hayes is a leading advocate for the homeless in Los Angeles. While I do a fair amount of volunteer work around homeless issues (mostly in working on mediating ongoing disputes between a homeless services agency and it’s neighbors), I’ve never met him.

But he came to prominence as an advocate for the homeless who lived among them himself; he runs a charity from which he takes a $30,000 salary (as compared, say to the $400K salary the head of the NRDC takes). His views are – to put it mildly – iconoclastic, but he’s done a lot in Los Angeles to both create political support for programs to serve homeless people and help raise some of them out of homelessness and back into society and find ways for those homeless people who won’t live in society to live in a manner that respects them and reduced their impact on the community.

But that’s not the good news.

The good news is that his daughter, Joanna Hayes, set an Olympic record in winning the women’s 100-meter hurdles in Athens.The Times story doesn’t spare the consequences on Ted’s family of his decision to “…give up his family to live on the streets.”

But there’s a summation.

As Joanna grew older and politically aware, she came to respect the choice her father had made.

“Obviously, with my dad, there have been times when I’ve been angry with him,” she said. “But there are so many more times when I’ve been proud of him.”

“I will,” she said proudly, “always be the Dome Village girl.”

Ted Hayes was cheering in the stands in Athens this week along with Joanna’s mother and other family members.

I was cheering when I read about her victory as well.

One thought on “Some Good News From Athens”

  1. That’s funny – I left a comment at Sekimori’s blog last week, in a post about Olympic primadonnas who were annoying Sekimori. The comment basically said, I have no time for the cry-babies, either, but I could watch Joanna Hayes get the gold medal all day long.

    She looked so beautiful as the American anthem played – it seemed to mean so much to her that one had the feeling “this is what the Olympics are about”. Not the crooked judging and the Dream Team egos and the doping scandals. And, as a Canadian, I have to say, not the casual declarations of “we gave it all we had” from athletes who brought up the rear and don’t seem at all bothered by that. Extraordinary achievement by a radiant young woman who clearly felt the moment so deeply – that’s the hope for the future of the Olympics.

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