Archive | April, 2013

A Power That Can Overthrow Dictatorships

Nonviolent movements have toppled dictators all over the globe, in Mali, Serbia, Poland, Bolivia, the Philippines, East Germany, Latin America, and Africa. During the Arab Spring, it became clear that the power of nonviolence to overthrow tyrannical governments is giving new hope — and new revolutionary strategies — to people around the world.

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The Street Spirit Interview with Stephen Zunes

In Bolivia, after a coup by General Busch, the whole country went on strike and 600,000 people massed in La Paz. Union leaders walked into the president’s house, and asked him, “What’s your program?” He looked at them, then he looked at the 600,000 people in the streets, and he said, “Yours!”

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Berkeley Celebrates Luxury Housing for the Elite

I would have no problem with building luxury apartments if we weren’t in a housing crisis. Build for the rich, I would say. Build crazy stuff with gold-plated toilets and let them buy it. But we are in a housing crisis. The Downtown Berkeley Association tried to outlaw sitting on the sidewalk.

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Trials and Tribulations of Homeless Folks in San Francisco Courts

After spending 30 days in jail, a 52-year-old homeless man was sentenced to three years probation for illegal lodging, or sleeping outdoors. “A tired homeless man faced up to three years in prison for dozing off on a milk crate,” said Elisa Della-Piana. “Prison! For sleeping while sitting up…”

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Activist Linda Lemaster Convicted of Illegal Lodging

Homeless advocate Linda Lemaster asked, “Is Santa Cruz County still under the Constitution that we think of as the lead legal document of our land, where people — even if they happen to be homeless — have certain civil rights, and even some human rights are acknowledged in our constitution?”

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What if They Gave a War and Nobody Paid?

The government needs us to pay our taxes to cover the cost of soldiers, bombs, guns, planes and aircraft carriers. At what point do we the people refuse to cooperate with these immoral, illegal and senseless wars? The government cannot fight these wars without our tax dollars and moral support.

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Taking Down Telegraph Avenue’s Last Hippie

I have known Bob Meister for 25 years. I have watched him raise a family, and help homeless people regain a sense of their self-worth and restart their lives. I took lessons from Bob that helped me end my own homelessness, raise two children and start a new day in my life.

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The Rich and Poor Live in Very Different Worlds

Rich people won’t give you anything for free, unless something is in it for them, while poor people will help you when they can. Rich people can afford to buy the latest home security system to protect their valuables, while poor people are protected through having nothing worth stealing.

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Court Victory for Homeless Advocates Seeking Vacant Federal Property

The federal government is obligated to offer homeless service providers unused government property for free before trying to sell it. However, the court found that many federal agencies “appear to be hiding potentially eligible properties from the Title V process” — and that this widespread form of land banking is illegal.

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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.