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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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.