Archive | June, 2014

The Streets Became My Home But I Did Not Give Up

“Food Served with Love.” When I was homeless, I needed to be treated like a human being and offered a life preserver so I would not die on the streets. Keith Arivnwine photo

As a gypsy traveler, I rode buses during the night. Sometimes I’d pass the wee hours of the night on a park bench. I’d wake up early morning. The park bench was my couch, the green grass and trees were my living room. I’d take in the simple pleasures of life.

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I Learned I’m a Warrior and a Survivor

“Anything Helps.” A man’s sign asking for help is seen through a car’s windshield: “Homeless and hungry. Can you help us please?” Darrell Black photo

I’ve learned from being homeless that I’m a warrior, a survivor. When I was going through rough, raw stuff, people said things to me that felt hurtful. It matters to offer encouragement and hope, and to tell a person, “Don’t give up. Life is not over. You can make life better.”

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Finding a Home in the World

“Urban Camping.” Many homeless people are resourceful and skillful. They find ingenious ways to live outdoors by creating a sense of home. Pedro Del Norte photo

Many homeless people are ingenious, intelligent, and resourceful. They establish comfortable ways to live outdoors by finding a quiet place, and create accommodations. They arrange their bedding and stuff to make a niche with a certain amount of comfort and safety. Having a spot gives a person a sense of “home.”

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First Bay Area Transgender Shelter Aims to Open Doors

“When’s the Last Time You Slept on the Street?” A question raised by demonstrators calling for shelter, housing and services for transgender youth who are homeless.

Many transgender people in the Bay Area have been forced to live on the streets due to the harassment, abuse, and neglect they have encountered in shelters. Transgender women are specifically impacted by the lack of safe or affordable housing, while experiencing high rates of discrimination in employment and education.

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The Ruthless Economic Elite at the Top of the Pyramid

The deadly poverty created when billionaires hoard wealth is symbolized by the skulls worn around the neck of these tycoons. Art by Victor Arnautoff

People of lower socioeconomic status have become “trailer trash” or worse. Anyone who is not in the country-club set doesn’t count as a “real” person. Homeless people are perceived by mainstream society as being something less than a person, to be avoided, or to be driven out of sight.

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Mary Rudge’s Luminous Poems of Peace and Justice

Mary Rudge, the late poet laureate of the city of Alameda, holds up peace leaflets next to the statue of another peace activist, St. Francis of Assisi. by sculptor Harriet Moore.

In your streets, around your home,/ bombs burst in air, we put them there./ We have so many bombs to spare,/ and crave your oil, a major share./ Say, are you safe within our care? / We bomb your land because we can,/ kill your neighbors to show we dare,/ destroy your home, pollute your air…

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June Poetry of the Streets

A shopping cart is converted into a bedroom. Photo credit: “One American Reality” by Dong Lin.

until all people are free/ will I be forever thru eternity/ singing for rights of women children and the poor/ until they are treated with dignity/ walking the walk living the talk/ singing boldly and strong/ against all injustices I see/ until all women children and the poor/ are treated with dignity — From “Walking the Walk” by Judy Joy Jones

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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.