“We Are Human Beings” | Hyacinth King
It wasn’t supposed to be this way for Hyacinth King. As a young person, she had a solid path ahead of her: She went from a private elite high school to Temple University, where she studied business, with the probability of someday taking over her parents’ independent grocery store. She hadn’t planned on the severe mental illness that would disrupt that path, causing her to live first in her car, then later in cardboard boxes on the streets of Center City.
But Hyacinth gradually pulled herself up, with lots of help, and ended up in permanent supportive housing at Project HOME. Not only did she find a stable situation where she could take care of herself, she began pouring herself out to support the mission of Project HOME in countless ways. She learned computer skills and build computers for fellow residents. She works with our outreach teams, encouraging those still on the streets to come in. She served for nine years on our Board of Trustees. She puts in hours as support staff at several of our residences. She is a tireless advocate and frequent public speaker, communicating a message of dignity and hope to many groups. You might find her speaking to college students or to elected officials at a congressional hearing, or working on a voter registration campaign for persons living on the streets and in shelters.
“We are human beings,” she asserts. “We are not invisible when we’re on the streets.” And Hyacinth herself is far from invisible – she is constantly active, involved, on the go. And she won’t rest until our society truly sees that all persons are human beings, full of dignity and deserving of the chance to flourish despite their struggles.