Editor’s Note: Mr. Raymond Mosley passed away in the fall of 2016. All of us at Sarah’s Circle mourn the loss of this very special resident and hope to continue his legacy by featuring his story for the remainder of 2016.
Once tired of living and feeling as though he was of no use to himself or anyone else, Mr. Mosley’s story is a journey from “needing housing” to “finding purpose and community.”
Born in Manhattan and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Mr. Mosley relocated to DC about twenty years ago. He recalls that the news about DC at that time centered on drugs, thugs and corruption. His take was slightly different: He immediately recognized that opportunities existed here that were not available in Detroit and decided to make DC his home. Until his official retirement, Mr. Mosley worked in a variety of capacities at Union Station (and took on odd jobs to earn extra income) and lived happily in a house he shared with several others. Shortly after his retirement, his life took a turn when he learned that his landlords were losing their home, resulting in the displacement of Mr. Mosley and the other tenants. With no affordable alternatives on his fixed retirement income, Mr. Mosley spent the next several years bouncing around a series of halfway houses, rooming houses, and shelters, experiences that only added to his determination to make a better life for himself. He says that during this period of uncertainty, his main goal was to “find a place to hang my hat and keep my personal belongings.”
Mr. Mosley happened to be acquainted with the late Beulah Rivers, a longtime Sarah’s Circle resident and passionate community advocate. She suggested Mr. Mosley research Sarah’s Circle, which she described as independent living for seniors in a caring environment where residents are treated with dignity and given opportunities to increase the quality of their lives. Fourteen months later, he did indeed find that place to “hang his hat” and “keep his personal belongings.” What he didn’t know at the time was that he would also find himself.
While he was reclusive at first, over time and with encouragement from retired executive director Ruth Sachs and his neighbors, he began to explore what the Sarah’s Circle community had to offer. Mr. Mosley began assisting in the kitchen and maintaining the property and was later asked to serve as resident manager, a position he held for a number of years. As a volunteer within the Sarah’s Circle family, he developed an interest in contributing to the Adams Morgan community as a whole, receiving one of his most notable accomplishments: the Tax Preparation Certificate of Excellence from Jubilee Jobs. In 2013, Mr. Mosley ran for the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, a time he remembers fondly and with a smile: “I didn’t win, but a lot of people voted for me!”
What happened next turned out to be the opportunity of his lifetime. Referred by Sarah’s Circle to an employment training program, he excelled in this capacity and was hired to work in the chambers of the Magistrate Judge of the DC Superior Court. After serving the Magistrate for many years – and with a glowing recommendation from his employer – he later applied for and successfully garnered a position with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where he continues to work to this day as the office assistant for administration. Mr. Mosley says he feels honored to work with people who are dedicated to advancing civil rights as envisioned by our constitution.
As Mr. Mosley reflects on his life, he attributes much of his transformation from recluse to community member, from homeless to neighbor, to the compassion and care provided by Sarah’s Circle residents and staff. This community accepted him and, in turn, he became a good neighbor and good friend by learning to accept others despite cultural, religious, or racial differences. He also learned that “people will come along if you don’t give up.” He says, because Sarah’s Circle never gave up on him, he never gave up on himself.