Community Stories: K-sean Handberry, Detroit

Published on أبريل 10, 2022 in

There’s a lot you wouldn’t know about me if you saw me at my job welcoming students into the building and making sure they stay safe throughout the day. You wouldn’t know my day began at 4 a.m. when I woke up from a rough night of sleep at the men’s shelter that I’ve lived in since just after Christmas. You wouldn’t know that it took me three buses to make it to my job, or that at the end of the day, I will have to take those same three buses back to the shelter. When I get back around 8 p.m., they will have already served dinner. Without extra money or a way to cook, I’ll eat whatever I can find to quiet my stomach and try my best to get some rest in a place that feels more like a prison than a home. At 4 a.m., I’ll start over again. By the time you see me, I’ll be smiling – even with my mask on.

Last year, I had a security job in Pontiac and my own apartment in Detroit. Sometimes I’d pay more to get to work than I’d make that day. Eventually, I got evicted. My dad and sister both live here but neither had room for me so I ended up at the shelter. It’s been very hard with the pandemic. I’ve also been dealing with depression since I was 12, when my 16-year-old brother was killed. Like a lot of the kids I see, I became normalized to violence. It was all around me. I didn’t realize it was abnormal until I was a teenager and I visited other, nicer neighborhoods. It was so peaceful that it seemed like a totally different world to me. My biggest lesson is to never take anything for granted. People who have the things they need are so lucky. Life isn’t guaranteed to be pretty for a lot of us.

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