Archive | October, 2012

Keeper of the Dream: Bernard Lafayette Carries on the Living Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement

Dr. Bernard Lafayette was with Martin Luther King in Memphis on the morning of his assassination. In King’s final words to Lafayette, he said it was crucial to “institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence.” Lafayette has spent his entire life in steadfastly carrying out King’s very last words to him.

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Will Berkeley Abolish the Human Rights of the Poor?

“This isn’t some problem of bored kids from Oregon coming to Berkeley for the summer,” said Pattie Wall. “This is our problem, these are our kids and we have a responsibility to them — and our responsibility to them doesn’t include arresting them for not having any place to go.”

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Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement: The Street Spirit Interview with Dr. Bernard Lafayette

“From my conjecture and my observations, the assassination was designed to stop the work of Martin Luther King. And the reason I went and prepared myself for this work is because I wanted to make sure that those who attempted to assassinate Martin Luther King’s dream — missed.”

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Berkeley Mayor and Business Execs Shun Scrutiny of Their Support for Measure S

Berkeley’s political and business leaders have ducked public scrutiny of their support for the sitting ban. But in a statement to Street Spirit, the mayor has admitted he put the sitting ban on the ballot because merchants demanded it. In Berkeley, human rights can be violated if it pleases the merchants.

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On October 16, Clergy Will Speak Out Publicly Against Measure S

Clergy and leaders of faith communities have signed a letter opposing Berkeley Measure S, the “no sitting” law, on the November 6th ballot. Religious leaders and young people will present the letter and list of signers on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m., Berkeley Old City Hall, 2134 MLK Jr. Way.

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Religious Leaders Speak Out Against Berkeley’s Measure S

Measure S is unjust and violates our spiritual call to seek justice. This harsh approach to dealing with the extreme difficulties people face during this painful economic period is ill-timed and cruel. As clergy and religious leaders, we could never condone this approach to “kicking someone when they are down.”

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After Being Beaten to Death by Fullerton Police, Homeless Man Is Cleared of Any Wrongdoing

The police repeatedly shocked Kelly Thomas with tasers and smashed his face with the butts of their flashlights, causing brain injuries, severe injuries to his face and neck, and fractured ribs, resulting in the homeless man’s wrongful death. Now the police have admitted that Thomas was innocent of any wrongdoing.

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Historic Call from Prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison to End Racial Hostility in State Prisons

The American Friends Service Committee finds this call by prisoners for a sweeping end to hostilities unprecedented. This is an opportunity that cannot be ignored. By their call, the prisoners are addressing the tensions between racial groups that have been used by the Department to justify long-term isolation.

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‘The Death Penalty: We Can Live Without It’

Two-thirds of the planet’s nations, and 17 U.S. states have already abandoned executions, but ours would be an abolition by the voters ourselves, not a governor or legislature. On November 6, California voters may make history, as we try with Proposition 34 to repeal our state’s death penalty.

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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.