Seattle's Women in Black have lately had to move quickly to keep up with the demand to stand still. They stood in silent vigil last week to remember two homeless women who died on our streets, and yesterday stood vigil for a third homeless woman who was killed by a train. That makes at least 22 homeless folks who've died outdoors or by violence this year.
The latest to die was Tiffany Rose Farrar. According to Women in Black spokesperson Carol Cameron, she was run over by a Sounder train on Monday, an apparent accident.
Cameron called Farrar "a quiet, gifted person, and so very young." Just 21.
Five of this year's deceased are women, a "disproportionate number" compared to other years and the smaller population of homeless women, according to the vigil group,which is sponsored by WHEEL, a homeless women's organizing effort, and the Church of Mary Magdalene, an ecumenical day ministry.
In 11 years of vigiling, the group says, it has stood in remembrance for more than 400 homeless women, men and children.
They include Charles N. Tompkins, 49, who body was found near the Ballard Locks in March.
He'd been living outdoors in a wooded area, and died from hypothermia.
According to an obituary in his California hometown newspaper, Tompkins was a 1979 National Merit Scholar, a graduate of UC Berkeley, and earned a Master's degree in Anthropology at the University of Arizona, where he also completed Ph.D. course work.
Others who died this year include Zachary Lewis, 37, victim of blunt-force injuries on Capitol Hill. Many of those who died are listed here at the Leaves of Remembrance project.
Last month, the project added three more Leaves of Remembrance, bearing the names of homeless who died in recent years, at the Women in Black vigil site outside Seattle Justice Center. The display now has 13 leaves, with, unfortunately, room for many more.