Archive | January, 2014

How We Found a Safe Haven at the Albany Bulb

Once-respectable environmental activists have shown their preference for “parks over poor people” again and again. They refuse to acknowledge that pushing for the eviction of homeless people goes against their own environmental justice policy. And rather than using the “Housing First” model, the City Council has chosen the “eviction first” approach.

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St. Mary’s Center Honors the Countless Lives Lost on the Streets

These reflections from the Homeless Memorial held at St. Mary’s Center in December 2013, are in honor of those who died on the streets of the East Bay. We must remember the people who died homeless and poor and reclaim our awareness of the sanctity and dignity of every human life.

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The Moral Beauty of Acts of Goodness and Justice

Wherever we find love, courage, sacrifice, generosity of spirit, resistance to injustice and a faith kept with others — ah, it is there that beauty appears, shining forth. Many “ordinary” people manage, perhaps in lesser ways than did Mandela, but not unlike him, to bring the Good into the world through their courage and devotion.

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Nelson Mandela Always Focused on Building a Better World for All

“As poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest… Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.” — Nelson Mandela

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Albany’s Inhumane and Irresponsible Eviction Plans

Even while Albany has refused to develop any housing, shelter beds or homeless services at all, for the past 14 years, homeless people have been camping on the Albany Landfill, taking care of the land, cleaning up construction debris, planting trees, creating works of art, and making it their home.

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‘Follow Your Passion’: Philip Rosheger’s Lifelong Love of Music

“He was a musical angel,” said Suzanne Sastre. “His head was in the clouds or somewhere magical.” This man who would have given anyone the shirt off his back left very little behind except that same starry look in the faces of those who knew him, heard him, and loved him.

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It Is Socially Acceptable to Discriminate Against Disabled Persons in Employment and Housing

It remains socially acceptable to pick on people with mental disabilities. We are discriminated against in employment and in housing. We are essentially forced into segregation kept from participating in mainstream society. We are forced to live on meager incomes. We have been criminalized, locked-up, humiliated, overmedicated, shunned and abused.

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A Missing Mother: The Transfer

“I remember staring at barbed wire and armed sentries,” Yuki said. “I remember being engulfed by scattering dust in the whirling wind. I remember laying in my bed at the Topaz internment camp wishing I could raise my voice and say people should not be mean to one another.”

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The Poverty Line

More enforcement droids were coming with their weapons readied. But people had taken enough. Those who had been waiting in the long line so that they could continue their meager existences were angry. They surged at the enforcement droids and collectively smashed them to bits in a process of spontaneous rebellion.

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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.