Archive | November, 2012

Berkeley’s Choice: Compassion or Repression

“I really think it’s a stupid measure and it’s not going to do anything to help people on the street,” said Jesse Arreguin of the Berkeley City Council. “It’s not going to solve homelessness, it’s not going to do anything to improve the plight of small businesses in our city.”

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International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

“What an honor it was to accompany J. Fernandez to the United Nations and listen to him read his poem on a really big screen, and to see in front of the General Assembly the pictures of St. Mary’s Center and all of you. It was really inspiring and tear-provoking,” Carol Johnson said.

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A Poet’s Journey from the Streets of Oakland to the United Nations

This man with the weatherworn face made me realize that people living in extreme poverty have to make a strong effort to dispel the darkness, especially now that our rights are being systematically stripped away. There’s an urgent need for us to speak up whenever and wherever we can.

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I Lived on Violent, Ruthless Streets

The streets where I lived were ruthless and frequently violent. I often suffered from hunger, and would go days without something to eat. There was violence almost every night — from shootings to robberies and rape. This caused me extreme fear. Every little noise, you wake up.

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No Proof of Correlation Between Homelessness and Business Decline

Kriss Worthington denounced Measure S as immoral and a diversion from the issues of homelessness and poverty. Sales taxes have declined the most in places with a smaller concentration of homelessness. This gives the lie to the repeated efforts by some business owners to blame homeless people for declining profits.

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A Real Poem

Whether you’re in prison in New York/ or a detention camp in the fields of Nebraska/ I am you/ Whether you’re sleeping on a square
of cardboard in Oakland/ or under a grid in Philadelphia/ I am you/ I am in every living pulsating cell/ that hungers for justice

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The Bonds of Love: Cast Off on the Street, Homeless People and Abandoned Pets Take Care of Each Other

It is remarkable to see the reciprocal acts of kindness and love shared between unsheltered people and unwanted animals. Many homeless persons refuse to go into emergency shelters if their pets cannot go with them — sacrificing their own well-being and safety for the animal they have come to love.

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Finding an Abandoned Dog Led to Our New Home

The connection between homelessness and animals arose for me when I found my dog Clair on the street in downtown Berkeley’s business district after she’d been dumped out of a car. We found a home together. Clair was home to me for 17 years, and I was home to her.

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How Berkeley Police Office #145 Protects and Serves the Public

A group of artists sketched a large chalk representation of “The Last Supper,” a painting by Leonardo da Vinci of Jesus eating at a table with his disciples. Across the top was the statement, “Let Us Sit Together and Break Bread.” It was a colorful protest against Berkeley’s proposed anti-sitting law.

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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.