Are Homeless People Beautiful?

We all find sunsets and meadowlarks and fields of flowers beautiful, whether we are rich or poor, housed or homeless. How did beauty become a cudgel to beat people up?

Silicon Valley’s Brilliant Design: Homeless Families in the Rain

Developers and Silicon Valley billionaires are so busy trying to milk profits out of our communities they don’t see the inevitable result of ignoring people’s housing needs: Families in the rain.

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The Eviction of America’s Largest Homeless Camp

The Jungle was lodged in the heart of the venture-capital drenched Silicon Valley, 10 miles from the headquarters of the world’s most profitable corporation. It is important to remember that those living in the Jungle were not there “by choice,” but because they had nowhere else to go.

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Gentrification Is Making Us Sick

Oakland activists are working with the Public Health Department to create a vision of healthy development without displacement. Also, Just Cause won a landmark victory with the Tenant Protection Ordinance that will protect thousands of tenants from harassment by landlords — the first protection for Oakland tenants in more than a decade.

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Remember the Children Born On Our Streets

The International Day for Human Rights, held at St. Mary’s Center, was an occasion to honor the memory of people who had died homeless on our city streets during the past year. But more than that, it was a time to reaffirm a commitment to the fight for social change.

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Dave Ferguson’s Lifelong Mission of Opening Doors

Dave Ferguson gave his entire life in service to the poorest of the poor. He was the director of the Open Door Mission in Oakland for 41 years.

“Dave has been constant, like a rock, offering the welcome, free food — and basic human kindness to everyone,” said Susan Werner. The message for all who are hungry and homeless, and who need not just food and shelter, but love and support, is that Dave Ferguson’s spirit continues to live.

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New Vision of a ‘Camp of Last Resort’ in Santa Cruz

The proposal for a “Camp of Last Resort” was created in response to the lack of permanent housing for homeless people in Santa Cruz. Supporters believe that such a camp will provide shelter for some of the thousands who are illegally hunkering down on streets, trails or along the river.

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January Poetry of the Streets

A homeless woman sets up a lonely camp on the side of the road in Santa Cruz.

Outside our window/ We spot on a rain-stripped/ eucalyptus trunk/ colors we’ve never seen,/ before: shades of yellow,/ gold, lime green, tan./ A homeless woman/ stripped of an easy life/ also reveals colors/ when we pause long, enough to sense and see.

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Blues for Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the despairing days after Dr. King’s death, the nation was overcome by the blues, so it was fitting that the pre-eminent blues band in the land would play for the activists in Resurrection City.

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We’ll March on Resurrection Day

The final stanza is like a dream. Big Joe Williams looks down at Martin Luther King’s face, and vows to the slain civil rights leader that we’ll keep marching on — even unto Resurrection Day.

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Treasure Island or Toxic Island?

Treasure Island is not a recreation destination — it’s a radiation destination. Fifty years of Naval activity have contaminated it with a horrifying array of radioactive and chemical pollutants. Eight of the “dirty dozen” banned chemicals on the Stockholm Convention’s list of the most dangerous chemicals are found at Treasure Island.

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Abuse of Tenants at Notorious Slum Hotel in Oakland

“There is no heat. They do not allow tenants to use the elevator. The building has bed bugs, rats, and is loaded with flies from the garbage piled up at the property. Our toilet does not work, the shower barely drips, and the building lacks smoke detectors in most apartments.”

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Mission Residents Battle Gentrification from New Condo Development

At the first action against the condo development, Guillermina Castellanos, a mother who lives in the Mission, said: “This building they want to build, it won’t be for our families. It will be for another class of families that have money. We don’t have sufficient money to pay for these condominiums.”

Sorrow in the Spring: Memories of Dr. King’s Memorial

As I write of the memorial services for Martin Luther King, Jr., we’re in a similar crisis today, as Ferguson, Missouri, joins the ranks of Memphis, Watts, Selma and far too many other locations where our nation’s racism has given us a shameful record of violations of human rights.

Veterans Group Revives Thanksgiving Meal for Homeless in Santa Cruz

“We take care of our own but in Santa Cruz, ‘our own’ includes the entire community. This meal has always been about community and we will continue to keep this tradition of service to the homeless community alive as long as there is one vet to keep it going.”

Missouri Grand Jury Shows Impact of Systemic Racism

Those who pay the cost of these policies are often young people of color – and with alarming frequency that cost is death at the hands of police. Ominously, police increasingly rely on militarized tactics and weapons not only to arrest but to contain people exercising their right to assemble and peacefully protest.

December Poetry of the Spirit

This poet connects/ the one word “gather”/ with the Quaker faith/ as in geese gather/ at lake’s edge before/ the V-flight south,/ as in snowflakes gather,/ mounded on roof tops/ before the downward slide,/ as in two homeless men/ gather around a steam vent/ on a city sidewalk.

The Death of S. F. Tenant Hero Ted Gullicksen

Ted Gullicksen was a true hero and will be remembered as such. Ted never sacrificed principle for money. This was the true source of his power. Since he could not be persuaded to act against tenants’ interests for money, power or access, he had an independence that increased his clout.