Archive | December, 2012

Berkeley Chooses Compassion: Measure S Rejected by Voters

The victory over Measure S is the first time since 1994 that a ballot measure to criminalize homeless people has been defeated anywhere in the nation. This victory is even more remarkable considering that Berkeley’s powerful business organizations vastly outspent the financially strapped homeless organizations that opposed the initiative.

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Occupy Our Homes Successfully Fights Foreclosures

Occupy Our Homes Atlanta is a great sign of hope for all people caught up in the shattering experience of eviction. Their actions give us hope that we can overcome — no matter how powerful and well-entrenched the banks may be, no matter how many lawyers and lobbyists they employ.

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Stories of Recycling and Redemption on the Street

The incredible thing about these recyclers is that they are surviving in spite of immeasurable odds against them. Their stories are an invaluable asset—akin to living maps which illustrate the holes in our safety nets and the true beauty, dignity, and value of those who fell through them.

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Bringing Dr. King’s Message to a New Generation

This is how a legacy is passed on to a new generation: Martin Luther King gave his life to spreading the message of nonviolence. After he was assassinated, Bernard Lafayette picked up the fallen torch, and passed it on to Kazu Haga and Jonathan Lewis. Now they are sharing this vision with the next generation.

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Building the Positive Peace Warrior Network: The Street Spirit Interview with Kazu Haga

Kazu Haga is dedicated to spreading Martin Luther King’s vision of the Beloved Community to the next generation. Rev. King believed that his philosophy of nonviolent resistance could be effective not just in the struggle against segregation, but also in the struggle against militarism, and in the struggle against economic injustice.

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The Unmourned Death of Elvis Presley in San Francisco

Elvis had been homeless in this neighborhood for over 15 years. His broken, tired, ravaged body provided sad evidence of what that was like. But he never complained, and didn’t see himself as a victim. Despite the toll taken by living on the street for so long, Elvis was unfailingly friendly.

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Berkeley’s Finest Moment: The Defeat of Measure S

I want to thank you, Berkeley, for seeing through the B.S. surrounding Measure S. As City Councilman Jesse Arreguin said, Berkeley’s spirit is better than this law. And some said he was naive. But no, he was right, and the defeat of Measure S was one of Berkeley’s finest moments.

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A Family’s Disturbing Encounter with Berkeley Police

Imagine coming to visit friends in Berkeley and being tackled, torn from your family’s side, and forced to spend the night in a psychiatric ward without charge or explanation. Would you ever come back to visit? That’s what happened to Hila Sulme and her son one Sunday recently in Berkeley.

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Federal Housing and Poverty Programs Are Threatened by the Fiscal Cliff

Unless the Obama administration and Congress agree on a new plan to avoid falling over the “fiscal cliff,” several disastrous, across-the-board spending cuts to non-military programs are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2013, and may cause great harm to programs serving the elderly, disabled, low-income and homeless people.

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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.

Joy in the Midst of Sorrow in Santa Maria Orphanage

This amazing priest not only housed 300 orphaned children from the streets of Mexico City, but he also took care of 20 homeless elders in his own house and started a home for children dying of AIDS. Father Norman also ran a soup kitchen that fed many people in the village.