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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Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”