Halloween costume controversy sparks discussion with local homeless people

Elizabeth Worthington, News Editor

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In light of a recent controversy involving female students dressing up as homeless people for Halloween, a group of students and members from the Lewisburg community gathered with three local homeless people, two men and one woman, to discuss the issue. The discussion took place on Oct. 30 in Hufnagle Park.

Graduate student Yargo Melo organized the event and advertised it via Facebook. One of his friends, Dean Snook, works with the homeless on a daily basis, and he was able to bring them to the park for the discussion. On Facebook, Melo was critical of those who chose to post pictures of the students who dressed as homeless people and instead encouraged the community to engage in productive conversation that raises awareness about the issue.

Melo began by presenting the incident to the three homeless people, and although they were saddened by the students’ choice, they did not focus heavily on it. Instead, they urged the students present to save and be careful with their money, and to speak up to a friend if they see them going down a bad road.

Someone did comment on the incident, however.

“If they were homeless they wouldn’t think it was funny,” one man said.

The three stressed that they were not poor to begin with, but extenuating circumstances caused their lives to change, whether it was gradually or abruptly. Only the woman wanted to share her full story, and she chronicled how her struggles with alcoholism eventually led her to become homeless.

Melo and his peers are in the process of creating a group whose goal would be to help the homeless from nearby towns by providing them with food, clothes, or simply conversation.

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