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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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.