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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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.