Huffpost Super User Elijah “NatureBoy” Alexander, Jr’s Office is a Park Across from the White House
I have been blogging for Huffington Post since December 2009. Probably my most popular post is a short story I wrote about my first night homeless. My “claim to fame” is that one of my posts actually made it to the front page. My most controversial post is a post were I shared my views on regulating public feedings. I was called the Antichrist for that one. The two posts I share the most, because they are part miracle is Power of Social Media Helping Homeless Services After Hurricane Sandy and Twitter Magic Brings Miracle to Homeless Family. The post that had the most immediate impact is when I stood in front of a National Guard Armory in the pouring rain asking that the armories remain open. And the greatest reward I receive for blogging on Huffington Post is when my friend Elijah “NatureBoy” Alexander, Jr leaves a comment.
During my very first ever U.S. road trip, I was kind of taken back by all the homeless people living near the White House. The TV producer in me was attracted to the irony of homeless people living only feet away from the Obama’s front door. Well, if you have ever walked through Lafayette Square in Washington D.C. on a summers day, chances are you at least noticed Elijah “NatureBoy” Alexander, Jr. How could you not!
I taped Elijah “NatureBoy” Alexander, Jr’s story, which you can watch here. Almost immediately people started to leave comments on Youtube and InvisiblePeople.tv that they knew Elijah, or that Elijah told them to find his video on the internet. Then something even stranger started to happen; Elijah started to comment when I blogged on Huffington Post. If you have followed me at all, a big part of my work and vision is to empower people experiencing homelessness with access to the internet and social media, so when I started to receive comments from Elijah, who was homeless at the time (Elijah prefers the term “houseless”) I was ecstatic. To this very day, when Elijah comments, I get this overwhelming feeling of happiness because I am so happy he approves of my work, and that I know he is OK .
In the summer of 2010, I was passing through Lafayette Square, and there he was again. This time, Elijah shared a link to his Facebook profile. I just love seeing all the photos people post taken with Elijah. He has become an icon of Lafayette Square that’s for sure.
This past week I happened to be in D.C. and connected with Elijah via Facebook. He told me he was no longer homeless, and that Pathways to Housing was able to get him inside, which was probably nothing short of a miracle for their outreach team. Elijah has been on the streets for a very long time, and in all of my travels, Elijah is the only person who I have ever met that I actually believe enjoyed homelessness.
I recorded this video interview update of Elijah in his “office” using Google Glass. I love his first expressions as I set Glass to record. I really adore Elijah and consider him a friend. Yes, he is colorful and different, but he is harmless and, from what I can see, lives to give other people smiles. If you’re a Huffington Post blogger and you get comments from Elijah consider yourself to be lucky.