Archive | January, 2015

Are Homeless People Beautiful?

We all find sunsets and meadowlarks and fields of flowers beautiful, whether we are rich or poor, housed or homeless. How did beauty become a cudgel to beat people up?

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Silicon Valley’s Brilliant Design: Homeless Families in the Rain

Developers and Silicon Valley billionaires are so busy trying to milk profits out of our communities they don’t see the inevitable result of ignoring people’s housing needs: Families in the rain.

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The Eviction of America’s Largest Homeless Camp

The Jungle was lodged in the heart of the venture-capital drenched Silicon Valley, 10 miles from the headquarters of the world’s most profitable corporation. It is important to remember that those living in the Jungle were not there “by choice,” but because they had nowhere else to go.

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Gentrification Is Making Us Sick

Oakland activists are working with the Public Health Department to create a vision of healthy development without displacement. Also, Just Cause won a landmark victory with the Tenant Protection Ordinance that will protect thousands of tenants from harassment by landlords — the first protection for Oakland tenants in more than a decade.

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Remember the Children Born On Our Streets

The International Day for Human Rights, held at St. Mary’s Center, was an occasion to honor the memory of people who had died homeless on our city streets during the past year. But more than that, it was a time to reaffirm a commitment to the fight for social change.

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Dave Ferguson’s Lifelong Mission of Opening Doors

Dave Ferguson gave his entire life in service to the poorest of the poor. He was the director of the Open Door Mission in Oakland for 41 years.

“Dave has been constant, like a rock, offering the welcome, free food — and basic human kindness to everyone,” said Susan Werner. The message for all who are hungry and homeless, and who need not just food and shelter, but love and support, is that Dave Ferguson’s spirit continues to live.

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New Vision of a ‘Camp of Last Resort’ in Santa Cruz

The proposal for a “Camp of Last Resort” was created in response to the lack of permanent housing for homeless people in Santa Cruz. Supporters believe that such a camp will provide shelter for some of the thousands who are illegally hunkering down on streets, trails or along the river.

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January Poetry of the Streets

A homeless woman sets up a lonely camp on the side of the road in Santa Cruz.

Outside our window/ We spot on a rain-stripped/ eucalyptus trunk/ colors we’ve never seen,/ before: shades of yellow,/ gold, lime green, tan./ A homeless woman/ stripped of an easy life/ also reveals colors/ when we pause long, enough to sense and see.

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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.