Archive | May, 2012

Who Are These Children Dressed in Red? Nonviolent Resistance and the Cost of Conscience

Narayan Desai taught us about nonviolent resistance in Birmingham, a city notoriously known as “Bombingham” because so many churches and homes were bombed by the forces of racism. We saw the parallels between Gandhi’s embrace of the risks of prison and police attacks, and the courage of Birmingham’s civil rights activists.

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Spending on U.S. War Machine Creates Rising Poverty

The New Priorities Campaign protests military spending as a direct cause of increasing poverty and homelessness. National security needs to be defined by more than our missiles, ships, planes and drones. Our country has been turned into “fortress America” to protect the interests of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

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Massive Protest at Wells Fargo Exposes Corporate Misconduct of Big Banks

Thousands of marchers protested the unjust gap between rich and poor by nonviolently disrupting Wells Fargo’s shareholders meeting in San Francisco. They confronted bank executives about Wells Fargo’s role in the country’s financial crisis, the high number of foreclosures that reduce families to homelessness, and the bank’s investment in private prisons.

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New Director Revitalizes Street Spirit Vendor Team

J.C. Orton, the new director of Street Spirit’s vendor program, has revitalized the entire program and made remarkable improvements in the number of vendors working, the number of issues sold, and the overall morale of vendors. Best of all, vendors now feel they have someone truly cares about them.

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Thousands March in May Day Protests in Oakland

More than 5,000 protesters marched in Oakland on May Day to call for economic justice, full human rights for immigrants and poor people, and to demand an end to corporate greed and bank bail-outs. Demonstrators represented Occupy Oakland, immigrant rights organizations, anti-war activists, faith groups and labor unions.

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How Mississippi Beat the South’s Anti-Immigrant Wave

When Republicans championed HB 488, an attempt to drive immigrants from Mississippi, many black legislators and labor unions spoke against it. Some objected to the term “illegal alien,” while others said it justified breaking up families and “ethnic cleansing.” Even many white legislators were inspired to speak against it.

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Everyone Matters — A Lasting Lesson from a Lost Brother

As one of Kurt Vonnegut’s characters in Slaughterhouse-Five says, “It’s a crime to be poor in America.” This is a truth my brother Larry experienced for decades. Larry taught me that everyone matters, and this lesson fueled a longing for a world whose policies and conditions reflected this basic fact.

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Federal Government Shreds Housing for the Poor

For hundreds of thousands of U.S. households, public housing, Section 8, and other HUD rental assistance programs are lifelines. These programs make the difference between having a home and being homeless. And yet, both Congress and the White House are now proposing significantly rent increases in these programs.

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Living in the Dark Ages in Modern America

There is no excuse for political leaders and for the wealthy people who influence them to allow widespread poverty, hunger and disease. The starvation and disease that continue in many places would not exist if the people who hoard most of the wealth cared about helping their fellow human beings.

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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.

Joy in the Midst of Sorrow in Santa Maria Orphanage

This amazing priest not only housed 300 orphaned children from the streets of Mexico City, but he also took care of 20 homeless elders in his own house and started a home for children dying of AIDS. Father Norman also ran a soup kitchen that fed many people in the village.