John Lewis and the Spirit of Selma

“I thought I was going to die on that bridge. I thought it was the last nonviolent protest. But somehow I survived, and a group of nuns took care of us at a hospital.” — John Lewis

California Vagrancy Laws Violate Human Rights

“Anti-homeless laws today and the vagrancy laws of prior eras — restrictions like anti-Okie laws, the Sundown Towns and Ugly Laws that explicitly discriminated against migrants, people of color and people with physical disabilities — have come back with a vengeance.”

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Home Is Where the Heart Is

It is heartbreaking to go out to the Albany Bulb and see what has been done to our former home. Those of us who still live on the streets are under constant persecution due to the inhumane laws that criminalize our very existence.

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The Sense of Loss When a Community Is Erased

Andy Kreamer asked people to call out the names of Albany Bulb residents who had been lost. The amount of loss that has been suffered in the past year is overwhelming. The residents have lost more than their homes. They’ve lost their safety, their friends, their peace of mind.

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An SRO Hotel Is Hardly a Home in San Francisco

An eye-opening film by a UCB student exposes the degrading conditions and overcrowding in SRO hotels in San Francisco. Many low-income families are caught in slum conditions and live in cramped, unsanitary and dangerous rooms. They endure drug-dealing in hallways and managers who threaten tenants and their visitors.

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Food Not Bombs Sues for Right to Share Food in Florida

Fort Lauderdale faces a lawsuit by Food Not Bombs for criminalizing food sharing. Laws to criminalize homelessness are “a response to the visibility of homelessness in public spaces,” said Kirsten Clanton of Southern Legal Counsel. “It’s business interests. It’s an effort to sanitize public space, often for tourism and tourist dollars.”

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The Genesis of Street Spirit in a Berkeley Seminary

We blocked the roads into Livermore laboratory for hours until the police pulled up with giant earth-moving machinery. Father Bill O’Donnell, a priest who had joined with Spirit on many acts of resistance, warned the driver, “We are chained to this missile. If you use that machine, you will crush us.”

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They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Skid Row was an oppressive place where thousands were locked in merciless, grinding poverty. Every day, the Catholic Workers served meals to countless destitute people on Skid Row. And every day, they sang. I never got over that — the songs they sang in the midst of terrible hardships.

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Berkeley City Council Takes Action on Police Abuse—Finally

In response to beatings and the indiscriminate use of CS gas and projectiles shot directly into crowds by the Berkeley police during the December protests of police killings, the City Council votes for a moratorium on CS gas, wooden and rubber projectiles and over-the-shoulder baton strikes.

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Lawsuit Filed Over ‘Stay-Away’ Law in Santa Cruz

Homeless people in Santa Cruz have precious little voice at City Hall, and much less in the court system. They have been pushed around and forced out of public spaces. It’s time to push back. That is why advocates have filed a lawsuit to challenge the city’s “stay away order.”

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Oakstop Gallery Is a Showcase for “Black Artists on Art”

Oakstop Gallery is displaying 36 artists from three generations in its exhibition, “Black Artists on Art.” It was inspired by Samella Lewis. an African American historian and artist, and the author of two volumes of Black Artists on Art. Trevor Parham and Samella Lewis’s grandson, Unity Lewis, collaborated on the exhibit.

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Good Friday Protest at Livermore Laboratory

The Good Friday protest at Livermore Laboratory on April 3 has the theme: “Beyond Nuclear Weapons, Beyond Empire, Beyond Racism.” We will remember Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech. David Hartsough will lead the service, followed by the Stations of the Cross. Some will commit nonviolent civil disobedience.

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A Right Delayed Is a Right Denied

“We are here to let San Francisco know that we will resist these laws. We will resist any law that criminalizes the bare necessities of life activities and the basic existence of our people!”

Right to Rest Campaign Updates

Testify to the Senate, Rally and Press Conference! TUESDAY, 11 am April 7, 2015

The Right to Rest Campaign is defending the human rights of homeless people by supporting legislation in California, Colorado and Oregon to decriminalize homelessness. These Bills would protect the rights of homeless people to move freely, rest, eat, and perform religious observations in public space as well as protect their right to occupy a legally parked motor vehicle.

My Journey from San Francisco to Selma

Bishop James Pike of Grace Cathedral thundered from the steps of City Hall: “I’ve been there, and friends, we need more bodies down there, more bodies, and especially more white bodies.” In that instant, I knew I would go to Selma.

The Martin Luther King We Didn’t Know

Sister Eva Lumas teaches the community at St. Mary’s Center about “The Martin We Didn’t Know.” Janny Castillo photo

Martin Luther King believed that the founding principles of the United States required the creation of what he called “the beloved community” — a society that is not driven by making profits, but one that was built by developing relationships of mutual concern and care.

Oakland Celebrates the Radical Political Heritage of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

During the Martin Luther King celebration this year, people in East Oakland’s African American and Latino neighborhoods made the connection between the radical politics of Dr. King and the Black Lives Matter movement in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and all those fighting for social justice.

Why Selma Was a Crucial Turning Point for Democracy

Selmapolice.jpg Police in Selma, Alabama, wait for civil rights marchers as they cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Many former slave-holding states in the South blocked black citizens from voting by requiring literacy tests, exacting poll taxes, and using intimidation to exclude black voters. After one hundred years of struggle, the march in Selma culminated in the effort to overcome this injustice.