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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A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.