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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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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.