Democracy Under Attack on the Streets of Berkeley

It took the savage beating of a homeless man to reveal the terrible cost of allowing business owners to create their own private patrols on the streets of Berkeley.

The Wrong Men Were Sent to Jail in Berkeley

The video clearly shows that the violence was initiated by the ambassadors. The wrong men had gone to jail. The report given to Berkeley police by the DBA ambassadors was dishonest — itself a fairly serious crime.

Recent News


Why Criminalizing Poverty Sells in Berkeley

The DBA’s board is dominated by large property owners who were the primary funders of the failed anti-sitting law campaign in 2012. It takes courage to say no to the merchant association’s short-sighted effort to make homelessness and poverty invisible. Courage is in short supply in the Berkeley City Council.

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Berkeley’s Sweeping Anti-Homeless Legislation

The Downtown Berkeley Association and the City Council pushed the anti-homeless laws without even consulting any of the city’s commissions. The DBA requested these measures in a wholehearted attempt to transform Berkeley into one of the most repressive cities in California in targeting poor and homeless citizens.

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Phone Videos Document Police Assaults on Homeless People

He is not cowed, and will keep protesting the criminalization of homelessness. “What am I supposed to do? If the shelters are full and I got to sleep here, I got to sleep here. It can’t be illegal for me to sleep. It’s highly inhumane. I will fight it.”

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Nationwide Epidemic of Anti-Homeless Hate Laws

More and more cities turn to curfews, prohibitions on begging, sleeping, or “camping” in response to the visible poverty in their public spaces, despite the fact that criminalization is “the most expensive and least effective” method of addressing homelessness. Jail costs two to three times the cost of supportive housing.

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A Long Search to Find a True Home

My sons have helped bring gifts to the poor on Christmas and meals to the homeless in the cold winter. They’ve hugged strangers and told them that not only God loves them, but that they love them, after offering prayer and a warm meal and blanket to sustain them at night.

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KAFKA in Santa Cruz: A City Where Sleep Is A Crime

Gary Johnson was one of thousands of people experiencing homelessness when the sheriffs came to roust him. Now he is sentenced to jail for the crime of being caught asleep in Santa Cruz at night. This “criminal” has been smacked down repeatedly by The Law precisely because he was homeless.

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Stories from the Suitcase Clinic

The Suitcase Clinic began when a group of UC students gave medical aid out of suitcases at the Berkeley Flea Market to homeless individuals. Great value is placed on truly listening and it is in these dialogues of love and understanding that the heart of the Suitcase Clinic lies.

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The Poet, the Police, and the Spirit of the Sixties

“There was going to be a big demonstration the next day — people throwing things and stuff. Everybody was angry and I was just as angry as anybody else, but I was a pacifist and besides, if I threw anything, I’d probably hit my foot.” — Julia Vinograd

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Three Generations

One day a child was laid in my arms/ My first born, a daughter who looked like me,/ Who showed me unconditional love,/ This was a beautiful new experience/ To have a daughter,/ I was changed to my core … I was transformed/ I became somebody’s mama.

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The Poor Get Prison: How the U.S. Criminalizes Poverty

A new Institute for Policy Studies report, “The Poor Get Prison,” declares: “A democratic society that purports ‘freedom and justice for all’ can’t coexist with one that profiles, criminalizes and blames poor, black and Latino communities. We need to take collective responsibility for our hostile nation where the poor get prison.”

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Republicans Cuts Will Harm the Hungry, Poor and Disabled

If approved by the full House and Senate, the massive budget reductions will amount to more than $500 billion in cuts per year to the federal government’s domestic programs during the next ten years, totally counter to President Obama’s recent budget proposals that would fund domestic programs in FY 2016.

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.”

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.

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.

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.