Archive | March, 2013

Artistic Spirit Rises Up from the Streets — Art Comes Alive at St. Mary’s Center

Angela Gill’s flower sculpture is now a metaphor for her because it reminds her that with care and support, she too can blossom and grow into the best version of herself. “I put my heart into it and all my struggles. So it’s like it blossoms. Now I feel I’m blooming.”

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One Billion Rising

One in three women on earth — a total of one billion — will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes. We carry the torch for all the women whose voices were silenced by rape and murder. We are their voices now and we will never again choose silence and fear.

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A Photo Essay: St. Mary’s Center Showcases the Artworks of Homeless Seniors

In an art class developed by Susan Werner at St. Mary’s Center, formerly homeless seniors create artistic works to reflect on the trials and hardships of homelessness — and to create new, hope-filled visions of a better tomorrow where all people have access to housing, food, health care, and justice.

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Sequestration Will Shred the Housing Safety Net

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said that “sequestration will place more than 230,000 men, women, and children at substantial risk of homelessness.” The huge budget cuts threaten several hundred thousand households with the loss of their federal housing assistance and housing vouchers — resulting in a massive increase in homelessness.

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Street Spirit Vendor Struggles to Keep Her Hopes Up

“It’s just relentless,” Belinda said. “Living outside, you become feral because you’re out here fighting for your life. It’s cold, it’s brutal, people are crazy.” What’s also dogging her life is police harassment and the threat of jail. It’s the system’s routine treatment of people who are homeless.

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The Disneyfication of Downtown Oakland — Business Improvement Districts and the Battle for Public Space

Large real estate corporations hired New City America to establish two Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Oakland. The Downtown Oakland BID and the Lake Merritt BID are working aggressively on behalf of Oakland’s owning class, focusing on driving youth of color, activists, the poor, and houseless persons out of district boundaries.

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A Disadvantaged Minority Remains Trapped in Poverty

Mentally and physically disabled people have it hard. Our lot is worse than that of most people in the 99 percent who are upset about the top one percent hoarding the wealth. Maybe a movement is needed to seek justice for those at the bottom edge of the 99 percent.

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Big Tobacco’s Unlikely Allies

In the effort to protect the public from secondhand smoke, the main obstacles are “social justice” representatives who worry about the imposition it might create for a smoker to use nicotine gum or step outside to avoid exposing the millions of low-income nonsmoking renters who can’t afford to move.

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Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”