Judy Graves photo by Christine McAvoy.
The City of Vancouver’s sole advocate for the homeless, Judy Graves, retired May 29, 2013. To commemorate her decades spent working to connect homeless people with housing, Judy’s colleagues at the city compiled a book featuring writing, artwork, and remembrances by the wide circle of people affected by her work.
Megaphone vendor Suzanne Kilroy contributed the following piece of writing to Judy’s book:
I first met Judy the second year I started selling Megaphone. I was still trying to get used to the sales pitch and find my groove. I met a lot of different people, some of whom I became friends with. And some became mentors.
This one lady stuck out, kind of like I did in this world. Her name was Judy. She didn’t buy a magazine the first time I met her. But when I saw her, she was like an aunt. I didn’t want to say grandma because she’s not that old. Though I’m only 45, I reluctantly call myself Grandma; my oldest daughter has six kids.
I would see Judy in the neighbourhood from time to time. She was always happy. When you’re a person who helps other people, you often feel tired and frustrated inside and try not to show it. I’m really pleased to say that this person that stuck out of the crowd, whose name was Judy Graves, is one of my best friends today.
My life has changed dramatically since I started selling Megaphone. I call it growing up. And Judy, my friend, one of the dear people I look up to, someone I’m always happy to see with her dog, is one of the people who helped me grow up. The way she stopped and talked and had time to share her ear or a hug helped me feel human and back to earth again.
At this point in time in my life I would like to say thank you, not only to Judy , but to all the people in the world who are working with marginalized, dysfunctional, addicted people and people with hardships. Because it helps this world go around a little bit smoother.
And just so you know, Judy and all other hard workers, the angels kiss all of our foreheads at night.
Way to go, Judy!
I love you.
From an Indian Princess,
Suzanne sells Megaphone in downtown Vancouver.