“Nobody should be criminalized for the necessities of life. We have to realize these are our sisters and brothers who deserve and need our help.” — Franciscan friar Louie Vitale
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The Downtown Berkeley Association tries to look respectable while pouring their out-of-town real estate money into robbing the poor of their blankets. The real-estate juggernaut prefers to knock down cheap housing and kick out the artists, hippies and musicians who pester them about civil rights and democracy.
Spending one night outdoors was a powerful lesson in how miserable it is to be homeless. And in Berkeley, it can take two years of miserable nights to get into affordable housing. “We have thousands of people in our country that are refugees just living in our doorways,” said Sally Hindman.
Proponents of the Right to Rest bill — including a busload of advocates of homeless people from San Francisco and Oakland — turned out in great numbers. Supporters outnumbered opposition lobbyists from business alliances and city governments by 6 to 1 during legislative hearings in Sacramento.
Someone making minimum wage would have to work 163 hours a week in Oakland and 212 hours a week in San Francisco to be able to afford housing. — Working class Blacks and Latinos are being displaced at incredible rates from their neighborhoods. The historically Latino Mission neighborhood went from being 50 percent Latino in 2000 to just 38.5 percent in 2013 and Oakland has lost almost a quarter of her Black residents in the last decade.
Twinkle is beloved by volunteers and clients, and his desire to do good for his own community inspires many of us at Suitcase Clinic. “I’m just trying to bring people together,” he says. “I believe that we all have a right to happiness — in whatever way we believe that to be.”
“It is bad enough that homeless people are criminalized in our community. Do we really have to humiliate them as well?” asked Housing NOW Santa Cruz founding member Linda Lemaster. “Let’s hope that now is the time for basic dignity, an idea whose time has surely come,” said Rabbi Phil Posner.
Activists from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and across the state of California trekked to Sacramento on April 7, 2015 to lobby for the “Right to Rest. They are part of the growing movement aimed at ending the criminalization of homeless people and stopping police profiling and harassment of all people in public places.
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.
Gentrification has created a housing crisis for urban, working class, tenants of color that is compounding historic racial and economic fissures.
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.