Parable of the Basket
A wise street brother suggested Plato Negro place a basket on his table at his open classroom downtown Oakland. The basket, according to the wise brother, would be for donations people might want to make to his cause of education by giving out books and other literature, also by facilitating conversation by providing a free speech zone and safety zone wherein people could gather to share their pain, suffering, trauma and unresolved grief. Persons included street people, youth, intellectuals and politicos who came by on their way to City Hall across the street.
The basket was immediately filled with dollars, fives and tens. When people asked Plato Negro for a dollar or two to buy a hamburger, Plato told them to reach into the basket and get what they needed.
A lady came by who said she needed two dollars to get on the BART train so she could pick up her check. The basket became a micro-ATM machine for the poor, the hungry or those who wished to help people in need. They could make a generous donation.
Many who took from the basket would return a few days or even weeks later with a donation, even though they were not required to do so.
The basket became the poor people's petty cash fund. Plato Negro thanked the wise brother who suggested the idea. And the people appreciated having a place where their small needs could be met.
Yuba City Jail