Oakland Attacks the Poor on Behalf of the Affluent

Oakland adopted “Love Life” as its motto. It is another way of saying “Love thy neighbor” — even if you live in a luxury apartment and your neighbor lives in a homeless encampment.

Carrying on the Spirit of Peace and Love

Country Joe McDonald has carried on the spirit of the 1960s by singing for peace and justice, speaking against war and environmental damage, and advocating fair treatment for military veterans and homeless people.

Recent News

Categories:

Kayla Moore — Bias Opened the Door

For Kayla Moore, a black, transgender woman struggling with mental illness, contact with the Berkeley police was a death sentence. Within minutes, this charismatic, adventurous woman was suddenly dead.

Read More Comments Off on Kayla Moore — Bias Opened the Door

Interview with Country Joe McDonald, Part 3

“We’re still struggling as a species with how we can stop war. The families (of Vietnam veterans) were so grateful that anybody would acknowledge their sacrifice. And I don’t mean sacrifice in a clichéd way. The war had reached out and struck their family in a horrible, terrible way.”

Read More Comments Off on Interview with Country Joe McDonald, Part 3

Interview with Country Joe McDonald, Part 4

I knew a lot of the people had to escape or they were killed by the junta in Chile. It was just tragic and terrible. I had grown up with a full knowledge of the viciousness of imperialism from my socialist parents. So I knew that, but I was still shocked.

Read More Comments Off on Interview with Country Joe McDonald, Part 4

Freedom Sleepers Anniversary in Santa Cruz

To their great credit, it has been the homeless community itself that has continued to spend their Tuesday nights in front of City Hall regardless of weather and in the face of unabated harassment by law enforcement. July marks the One Year Anniversary of the Freedom Sleepers Sleepouts in Santa Cruz.

Read More Comments Off on Freedom Sleepers Anniversary in Santa Cruz

Oakland’s Closure of a Recycling Center Destroys an Economic Lifeline

A vocal group of housed residents demanded that the City of Oakland shut down a recycling center. Their emails stated that “those people” walking down “their” streets are a nuisance, a torment with which with they could not live. They succeeded. As of August 2016, that recycling center will close forever.

Read More Comments Off on Oakland’s Closure of a Recycling Center Destroys an Economic Lifeline

Youth Spirit Artworks Brings Art to the Streets

The entrepreneurship program began running outdoor sales three years ago by taking tote bags and other products designed by Youth Spirit Artworks to sell in front of the Berkeley Bowl. That turned out to be popular with the shoppers and provided needed income for the young people.

Read More Comments Off on Youth Spirit Artworks Brings Art to the Streets

Redemption Rises on the Midnight Streets

Like Ulysses, the homeless wanderers of Dogtown Redemption were exiled for years on journeys through a landscape of deprivation and despair — an Odyssey on the streets of Oakland.

Read More Comments Off on Redemption Rises on the Midnight Streets

A Parent’s View of Homelessness

My son lives on the streets of Oakland. Legs painful and swollen, health compromised by Hepatitis C and heart damage, he pushes a cart full of other people’s trash in the darkest hours of the night.

Read More Comments Off on A Parent’s View of Homelessness

Meet Hayok Kay

She is the 4-foot-10-inch fireball pushing a shopping cart down the streets. She has been homeless for too many years to count. She is barely surviving. She loves and loses. In the end, she is the broken body in a Highland Hospital bed, after being beaten in her sleeping bag.

Read More Comments Off on Meet Hayok Kay

A Song for Miss Kay: “Stand By Me”

In a broken and trembling voice, she sings “Stand By Me.” Yet her protector has died homeless on the streets and will never stand with her again. It is a song for Miss Kay, and it reveals the staggering impact of this loss on a fragile heart.

Read More Comments Off on A Song for Miss Kay: “Stand By Me”

The Myth of Sisyphus on the Streets of Oakland

Jason Witt has mastered the art of recycling and the art of the samurai sword. His hands have been toughened into recycled steel and he hauls mountainous loads all by himself. It looks as if he has the strength to pull these impossible burdens forever — yet he faces life-threatening illnesses.

Amir Soltani: The Dogtown Redeemer

Amir Soltani’s friendship with Miss Kay is the behind-the-scenes story of the film. He cared for her in many ways. As often happens when we give to others without judgment, he received much in return from the volatile, loving, emotionally broken, chronically homeless, but so full of hope woman, Miss Kay.

Green Versus Gentrification: The Smackdown

Street recyclers and the recycling businesses that work cooperatively with them are under pressure from skyrocketing land prices, city hurdles, and community perceptions which can make or break the razor-thin margins of even the strongest and oldest of Oakland’s traditional businesses. Community support is crucial.

Dogtown Redemption and Street Spirit Collaboration Video

Watch the Trailer: Dogtown Redemption (Official Trailer) from Dogtown Redemption.   Street Spirit and Dogtown Redemption (a film about Oakland’s […]

The Generosity and Good Works of Recyclers in Oakland

“I’ve been so impressed at how hard people work to get their recycling done,” said Joe Liesner. “The thing that impresses me most — and I don’t think I’ll ever get over it — is the older women that go out. You can just see the wear and tear that’s put on them.”

A Purgatory of Lost Souls and Redeemed Humanity

Through the camera’s eye, I observed grief and laughter, violence and love, addiction and redemption. I saw these recyclers at their best and worst, with all that makes us human. The film will have succeeded if it reveals their humanity, and helps erase the invisible barrier between us and “them.”