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Home » Libby Birky: Dignity, Community and a Side of Veggies at TEDxMileHigh (Full Transcript)

Libby Birky: Dignity, Community and a Side of Veggies at TEDxMileHigh (Full Transcript)

Libby Birky – TRANSCRIPT

Hi everybody. I want to tell you a little bit about growing up in my house. My dad used to take us out to dinner when we were little – on the rare occasion that we got to go out to dinner – he’d play this joke on us, at dinner. At the end of the meal, he’d act like he forgot his wallet, and he would tell us we had to go back in the kitchen and do the dishes, and I think this is what laid the path for my life.

This is Marlene. Over the past couple of years, Marlene has learned that life isn’t fair. Marlene is an educated woman. She is three credits away from a Master’s degree, and she’s had to sleep in her car from time to time. Marlene has so much to give to people, and yet what she struggles with is that people make assumptions about her. She never thought she’d struggle to find a safe place to eat, or a safe space to sleep, or what she was going to eat. She never thought she’d worry about what to do with a squash that she got at a food bank, and she’d cook it in her stove at home, if her stove worked. She lives in an efficiency apartment and hasn’t been able to pay rent for the last three months, so she can’t really complain about the stove not working.

Marlene is an interesting woman, who is trying to get her life together. She has struggled from time to time, but what Marlene thinks is the most frustrating about her situation is that people make so many assumptions about her. They assume she’s lazy, uneducated, or an addict of some sort or another. What Marlene really needs is dignity.

This is Aaron. Aaron eats at SAME Café almost every day. He comes in full of life, sober, most days. Some days he’s drunk as a skunk or high as a kite, depending on his drug of choice for the day. Aaron is homeless. He sleeps in an abandoned home on the West side of town, or in the park.

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