All That Matters is Where You Are Now
A hotel is “an establishment providing accommodations, meals, and other services for travelers and tourists.” (Merrian-Webster, 2003). What a word to describe a safe house for the chronically homeless with special needs. Roberta Goodman, the General Manger of the Empress Hotel, thinks it fits just fine. She started managing the facility in 2004 (Department of Public Health Direct Access to Housing). The facilities hold people from all backgrounds, groups, and shockingly from all social classes. Many of the dwellers of Empress Hotel lived very different lives before they arrived at the building’s front steps (Saraf & Light, 2009). This very idea showed that all the social privileges once afforded to individuals in a socially structured society were directly connected to their ability to fit in, not skin color or any other characteristics they may have believed mattered.
The film details the life and history of some very interesting residents. There is a close look at the life of a few of them, while watching their interaction with the other residents in the house. The film opens with Sonya, a woman suffering from crack addiction, who loves the hotel and the room she has been allotted. Her life took a bad twist after her mother died and she lost her children. She spends her days walking around her city, attempting to make the most of life, occasionally smoking marijuana. Marguerite used heroin, but got clean four years prior to the making of the documentary. Before getting clean, she gave her children up to her family members and lost her house. She felt that when she was an addict, people did not talk “to” her; they talked “at” her. “That is why addicts nev...
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Department of Public Health. Retrieved September 21, 2011, from http://www.sfdph.org/dph/comupg/oprograms/DAH/housingSites.asp
Lin, N. (2002). Social capital: a theory of social structure and action. New York:
Cambridge University Press.
Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (11th ed.). (2003). Springfield: Merriam-
Saraf, I & Light, A. (Director). (2009). Empress Hotel [Documentary]. United States:
National Film Network.
Sligte, D. J., de Dreu, C. W., & Nijstad, B. A. (2011). Power, stability of power, and
creativity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(5), 891-897.
Weir, R. E. (2007). Class in America: an encyclopedia. New York: Greenwood Press.
Williams, D. (Director) (2011, September 19). The Empress Hotel. Ethics. Lecture
conducted from West Chester University, West Chester.
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