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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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.