Welcome to Speak Up

It is a voice for those without.

“It was the reality of poverty upon poverty.”

Those words were written by Angel Williams as he reflected on the barrenness of his homeless situation coupled with the negativity of his thought life.

“Make a gratitude list when you are feeling sad or depressed. Your whole outlook on life will improve. Don’t take my word for it; try it just once, and you’ll see for yourself.”

Vince Shumate writing about trying to stay sober while homeless.

“In my left hand was a cardboard sign that read ‘Truth’ with an olive branch drawn beneath the greeting. The thumb of my right hand pointed toward the western horizon serrated with scotch pine trees.”

So wrote David Alan Goldberg as he reflected on hitchhiking homeless across the country.

The essays you’ll find at speakupmag.com are eye-opening, sharpening, and honest. They are woven with wisdom, integrity, and humility.

It would be foolish to think that experiencing homelessness makes one a wise person by default. But suffering can sometimes lead to a settled wisdom. Certain sober insights that can only be gained by experience. Such is the case of many of the pieces you’ll read on Speak Up.

Our mission is to give a voice to those without.

At launch, that means writing from folks who are homeless, incarcerated, and addicted. With more to come.

From me personally: this has been an uneasy season. I’ve struggled. Many have. Spending time with these folks through their writing has refreshed me in unexpected ways.

I needed Angel Williams to challenge that my thought life was slipping toward poverty. (It was.)

I needed Vince to advise me on making a gratitude list. (I did.)

Elsewhere I needed to read that “my past is not my potential.” I needed to be reminded of life’s “greatest lesson” by Dustin. I needed a few minutes with Mark and his faithful dog. I needed to see Goldberg thumbing a ride on a lonely American highway, holding up a “Truth” sign for all to see. 

I needed those reminders that things could be worse. And that they get better.

The essays and stories you’ll find here are genuine and unvarnished. They are written with skill, but without pretense. More often than not, they are hopeful, inspiring, and illuminating. 

To the writers: thank you for entrusting us—and me—with your memories, thoughts, and hearts. We are better for it.

Welcome to the New Speak Up

Until now Speak Up has been a printed magazine only, available exclusively from a homeless vendor. Now it is online. Read it on your phone, computer or anywhere you access the internet—a few articles each month for free, then full access for a fee. Your subscription supports writers facing homelessness.

We published the first print issue of Speak Up nine years ago. Hundreds of people have sold the magazine and earned money to get off the streets.  Many dozens of writers. Thousands of readers. Story upon story. 

Today we released the final printed issue, the end of an era.

Today we launch the online magazine, the start of something new.

We’ll be publishing 2-3 articles weekly. Some of them will come to your inbox, but not all. Check the website on a regular basis. Paying subscribers will have access to all content, comments, discussion threads, and more.

(If you donated to the Give Speak Up campaign, you’ll receive an email shortly notifying you of your 3-month gift subscription.)

Please share forward and share these articles. Leave comments. Happy reading!