Archive | July, 2012

Berkeley’s Segregation Measure Fails the Test of History

In voting to place this discriminatory sitting ban on the November ballot, the Berkeley City Council has betrayed the very concept of equal rights for all. Laws that banish certain groups of people from public spaces — whether based on appearance, economic class, or race — are modern-day segregation decrees, plain and simple.

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Sharing Food as a Form of Nonviolent Protest

Food Not Bombs stages a daily protest against a system that values profits more than people. It expresses its values in a supremely nonviolent way. Sharing food is an act of nonviolent resistance to the violence of hunger and simultaneously a protest of the corporate state’s military and economic violence.

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A Man of Spirit: The Long Journey of Kenneth McCoy

Kenneth McCoy, age 64, has been selling Street Spirit since he was diagnosed with colon cancer six years ago and found he had no way to pay for the medicine he needed to survive. Now he has a roof over his head and the income from his Street Spirit sales.

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Challenging Berkeley’s Anti-Sitting Measure

Elisa Della-Piana, director of the Neighborhood Justice Clinic in Berkeley decried the anti-sitting measure as punitive. “It will achieve nothing except create division in the community,” she said. “Enforcement of the ordinance would keep people homeless and create criminal records that could prevent them from getting housing or jobs.”

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One Million Students Are Homeless in America

For the first time in history, public schools reported more than one million homeless children. The data also shows the troubling depth of America’s housing crisis. “The severe lack of affordable housing for families has yet to be addressed, and over one million children are paying the price,” said Maria Foscarinis.

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Santa Monica Students Pepper-Sprayed for Protesting Fee Hikes

“It really creates segregation between the haves and the have-nots,” says Board of Trustees member Margaret Quiñones-Perez. “If you can pay, you’ll get your classes. That’s guaranteed if you have money. But if you don’t have money, you may get classes, and you may not. Community colleges were not created for this.”

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University Student Suffers Due to Unaffordable Dental Care

Growing up I didn’t have the privilege of going to a dentist. My parents couldn’t afford it and my parent’s employers would never offer us dental coverage, nor would I ever qualify for help under a public program. Now, my oral hygiene is in poor health because I couldn’t afford dental care.

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‘The System Is Broken — The People Are Not’

The Courts of Women on Poverty have launched a challenge to economic injustice. Their gathering was held in Oakland, a city of extreme contrasts — from the hills of green abundance and million-dollar homes to a parking lot at Eastmont Mall, where a homeless woman sleeps in her car with three small children.

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No Pity in the Cruel City: Yet Friendship Flourishes for Molly and Lloyd

He opened his desk drawer. Next to his medals, he fingered the black-and-white photo of Molly and mutely kissed it. He treasured the photo more than the medals. Tears were slowly rolling down his cheeks and for the first time in his life he did not try to keep them back.

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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.