Archive | September, 2011

Glimpses of the Spirit – Defending People’s Park and the Spirit of Peace and Justice

The Telegraph Business Improvement District wants to drive homeless people and meal programs out of People’s Park. Compassion for the poor was a foundational ideal of the peace movement that created the Park. Tearing out that legacy of compassion for the poor would tear the heart out of People’s Park.

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Hobos to Street People: Artists Uncover Hidden History of Poverty

The art exhibit, “Hobos to Street People,” unites the viewer with workers of past generations who overcame unjust economic conditions. It reunites us with our dispossessed counterparts by reminding us of our own historic political vulnerabilities and losses — but also, what justly belongs to all citizens of civilized societies.

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No Human Being is Illegal—Y Cada uno Tiene un Sueno

This towering new mural is a passionate statement from the youth that politicians cannot ignore. It depicts indigenous symbols, the crosses of those who died tragically while trying to cross the border, and a vibrant central image of immigrant youth leading a renewed movement for justice.

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Fighting the Firings and the Workplace Raids

Unions have said little, even as their own members were fired in “silent raids” instigated by the Department of Homeland Security, and immigrant workers have been afraid to speak out. Over the last few months, however, a wave of protest is starting to break that silence.

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Oakland Slum Hotel Owner Goes to Prison for Arson Plot

Richard Singer, a Tiburon millionaire and owner of slum hotels, was sent to prison for hiring an arsonist to torch his own hotel. Singer told an informant that since there were no fire alarms or fire escapes in the substandard hotel, the arson plot would be easier to carry out.

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Arrested for ‘Sleepcrimes’ at Peace Camp in Santa Cruz

Laying down for the right to sleep is dangerous in Santa Cruz. The jurors found all but one of these “sleep criminals” guilty. Actually, it was a homeless man’s dog who was found not guilty. When the courts have criminalized sleeping by the poor, how can anyone sleep well tonight?

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Reforming Solitary Confinement at Pelican Bay Prison

Nearly 4,000 inmates in the Security Housing Units in California’s prisons endure harrowing conditions of extreme isolation for years and even decades in concrete, soundproof cells measuring only six feet by eight feet, leaving only to exercise for about an hour a day in windowless “dog runs.”

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The Care Congress: Caring Across Generations

Several hundred people attended the first Bay Area Care Congress in San Francisco. In the face of massive federal and state budget cuts, the Care Congress was held to launch a bold new campaign for quality care and support and a dignified quality of life for all Americans, across generations.

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An Alternative to Psychiatry and the Drug Industry

The concept of the wellness model – the kind of peer help and advocacy practiced at the Berkeley Drop-In Center – is a welcome alternative to the powerful drug industry’s proliferation of psychotropic drugs for their newly invented mental illnesses.

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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.