Archive | October, 2010

As the Economy Unravels, the Poor Are Criminalized

Quality of life laws resurrect a disgraceful tradition of discriminating against poor people. Like Jim Crow laws, these new laws segregate our country by race and class.

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Fighting for the Right to Affordable Housing

The right to affordable housing is a right recognized by the United Nations and several national governments, but not the United States. Photo by Tom Lowe

“There is a human rights crisis in the U.S. that can no longer be ignored… millions of Americans are unable to secure one of their most basic rights — the right to adequate housing.” — UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

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Lessons Learned from The Greening of America

“Peace Is Not A Radical Idea.” Activists confront giant corporations and the war machine. Art by Tiffany Sankary

With hopes for immediate change fading, some have become disenchanted with organizing. Yet, retreating from activism to seek personal liberation leaves us powerless to resist war, economic injustice, and corporate tyranny.

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PETRA Would Eliminate Public Housing and Undo Over 70 Years of Progress in Housing the Nation’s Poor

Art by Tiffany Sankary

by Lynda Carson On Sept. 27, 2010, activists and public housing residents gathered in front of the Los Angeles Housing Authority Commission to protest the agency’s plan to privatize 15 large public housing projects in 2011. In addition, the housing activists protested against the scheme by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) […]

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A Poet’s Deep Compassion for Life

A portrait of Berkeley poet Julia Vinograd painted by her sister Deborah Vinograd

Vinograd’s deep-rooted compassion for life makes her portrayals of suffering, death, and destruction overwhelmingly poignant.

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Short Fiction: The Greek Couple; Turn and Burn

The Greek Couple— Fiction by George Wynn
When Tito came back home to Boston, where his father and mother were dead, he’d always screw up. Nostalgia for his parents drove him to the bottle. He was persona non grata with his two married sisters on the South Shore.

/—/Turn and Burn— Fiction by Joan Clair

“You need to think of it as a business,” one of the property managers said. “It’s not about his humanity or yours, even though, of course, none of us likes to put anyone out on the street.”

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Short Fiction and Poetry – October 2010

“Sacred Heart” Art by Jos Sances, ceramic tile

  REFLECTION by Joan Clair A friend tells me she no longer has much or as much sympathy and compassion for the poor as she once had. For herself? In her 70s, her income hovers under $1,000 monthly with more than half of that going for rent. In another year or so her income may […]

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Berkeley shelter closes

The closure of the largest homeless shelter in Berkeley leaves many with nowhere to go

Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.