There are certain events that ripple through communities, changing minds and touching hearts. The 2011 death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man in Fullerton, has become one of these flashpoints.
Kelly Thomas lived on the streets, mostly invisible to the community around him until the night he was killed and his name became a fixture in conversations and news stories across the Southland. The story of his death has been inextricably linked with his homelessness and his physical and mental health issues, which were at times sadly used by the defense in the officers’ case.
This past week, the trial came to an end with the acquittal of two officers, and with this unfortunate decision, Kelly Thomas’ story seemed to conclude…but NO! We must move forward with the memories of these individuals as our momentum. We must come together for those Kelly Thomas’ on our streets to link them to the permanent housing and support services they need to successfully move from street to home. We must ensure all of our systems are fully equipped to respond with compassion and understanding to individuals struggling with mental health problems on our streets
Kelly Thomas was seen too late to receive essential services, but there is still time to see and support the rest of our homeless neighbors. Please take a moment to reflect on the death of Kelly Thomas, but don’t stop there…join in the solution and help turn his ripples into waves!