Archive | May, 2013

Vincent Harding and the Legacy of the Southern Freedom Movement

The Freedom Movement left an enduring legacy by overcoming a brutal and seemingly all-powerful form of segregation that Vincent Harding calls a “terroristic system” of violent subjugation. Its legacy now extends far beyond America’s shores, for it has ignited the hopes of millions of people waging struggles for freedom overseas.

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The Street Spirit Interview with Vincent Harding

Martin was attuned to the Hebrew prophets, and that was their constant message: Don’t talk about loving God or being religious unless you stand with the outcasts and the weak. Jesus said the same thing. There’s no way to understand Martin’s urgency about standing with the poor without taking into consideration his deepest religious grounding.

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The Patron Saint of Charity and Justice

Martin de Porres was a defender of homeless people, a healer of the sick, a protector of unwanted animals, and the patron saint of all victims of racial prejudice. Martin broke through all the stereotypes and racial prejudices of his society and offered charity wherever it was needed.

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A Poet’s Sendoff for ‘Saint Carlos the Melodious’

In a city full of poets, there are few whose very lives are poetry. Carlos was one whose whole life was poetry. He radiated kindness and good will. No one can remember hearing Carlos say an unkind word about another person. His phone message was a musical invitation that included waltzing bears.

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First Victory for Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights in California

Rhode Island has already passed a Homeless Bill of Rights. Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut and Missouri are joining California in calling for one. A Homeless Bill of Rights is particularly significant today. The federal government has abandoned any pretense of its responsibility to “ensure safe, decent and affordable” housing for the poorest people.

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Nationwide Protests Demand That Congress Uphold Immigrant Rights

Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin accused ICE of undermining her city’s devastated economy in the middle of a recession. “Their firing is a violation of their human rights. When they say that [immigration] raids are targeting criminals, it’s not true. People who are just trying to make a living are being targeted big time.”

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A Cup of Coffee

When I became poor, I learned that there are big jars of sugar and entire pitchers of milk available free to anyone who buys a cup of coffee. You can add enough sugar (carbohydrate) and milk (protein and fat) to relieve your hunger for a couple of hours.

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One-Way Ticket Home

The streets were alien to me. I was defenseless. Cops and security guards hassled me for just being in a particular area or store and minding my own business. And when night descended, I was scared out of my wits sleeping in doorways. I became guarded and hyper-alert.

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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.