Archive | January, 2013

BLOCK BY BLOCK: A BID by Merchants to Seize the Public Commons and Erode the Rights of the Poor

Business organizations in Berkeley have adopted the Block by Block approach to erode the human rights of the poor. The Measure S initiative was the most expensive campaign in Berkeley’s history. It was funded almost entirely by large property-holding companies which play an influential role in the Downtown Berkeley Association.

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Occupy the Auctions vs. the Foreclosure Vultures

Foreclosed homes in San Francisco are particularly appealing to buyers, especially since they can snap them up reasonably cheaply. Occupy the Auctions champions affected families by declaring a halt on home evictions and auctions and instead insisting the banks come up with a fair, affordable arrangement for financially strained families.

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Doug Minkler: An Artist on the Side of the People

Berkeley artist Doug Minkler approaches his work with a passionate commitment to social change. He wields the artist’s brush like a hammer with which to reshape an unjust society. His poster art battle corporate polluters, predatory banks, nuclear weapons laboratories, brutal police, union-busting businesses and “the masters of war.”

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Sanam’s Search for Freedom Leads to Berkeley

When Sanam Kazerouni left her native Iran, she says, “I lost my country, my culture, my friends and family.” But she has found freedom and many friends in Berkeley who have welcomed her to a new home. She recalls a favorite saying: “Wherever you stop running is your home.”

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Gratitude for My Home — and Sympathy for Those Without

In my nice neighborhood, I see many destitute people standing by the side of the road with cardboard signs, begging so they can buy something to eat. When we understand our common humanity, we are obliged to be grateful for what we have, and to not scoff at those who have less.

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Christian Church Homes Offers Affordable Homes for Seniors

The “silver tsunami” represents an overwhelming new wave of aging seniors. Every day, about 10,000 Americans become seniors. The 65-and-older population will more than double from 40 million in 2012 to 80 million by 2050. Considering the nation’s economic troubles, countless seniors will need more affordable housing.

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January Poetry of the Streets

70 and Determined by George Wynn It’s strange to be an old man and begging for spare change and the coins don’t give you any new joy. At seventy you’re restless and depressed you fear the road but anything rather than face another day in the city by the bay. You pack your bag start […]

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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.