Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

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Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

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Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

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Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

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The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.

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Compassion: A Way Out of Conflict and Enmity

Compassion means empathy and imagining the perspective of others. The idea that “we are all one” may be dismissed as straight out of the 1960s. But that idea stays with me and continues to influence me. This consciousness of love and compassion is one of the pillars of most religions.

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Art and Venture Capital Go Hand in Hand

When I called, they gave me the whole “this stuff doesn’t really matter” treatment. I asked them how, in a world in which the Berkeley City Council had just restricted sidewalk use for the poor, this was in any way possible — except in the most cynical of kleptocracies.

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Hospitals Dump Homeless Patients on the Streets

With homelessness rising and shelter beds scarce, hospitals are accused of abandoning people following treatment. When homeless patients are discharged not to shelters or housing but to the streets, it can be impossible to follow a treatment plan and there is a higher likelihood that they’ll fall ill again.

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A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

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The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

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Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

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Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.

A Person’s Worth Cannot Be Measured by Wealth

Jesus lived in poverty. Yet, his name has outlived the names of millions of wealthy people who were buried long ago and forgotten. The Buddha left his mansion and his kingdom to live in poverty, because he needed the answer as to why suffering exists.

Can Pepper Spray Save the World?

Aiming pepper spray at a crowd exposes people to a chemical implicated in at least 25 deaths in California alone. Pepper spray causes temporary blindness and panic in a crowd. Pepper spray is by nature indiscriminate. No police officer can tell who has cardiac or pulmonary issues.

The Homeless Crisis: We’re All In This Together

In the “new” Oakland, we see “cool” new nightclubs across the street from encampments. The hip new people hang out in front of the club and stand in line to get inside. The “hip” people seem not to care about the homeless people facing them — and whom they helped displace.