Archive | March, 2015

John Lewis and the Spirit of Selma

“I thought I was going to die on that bridge. I thought it was the last nonviolent protest. But somehow I survived, and a group of nuns took care of us at a hospital.” — John Lewis

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California Vagrancy Laws Violate Human Rights

“Anti-homeless laws today and the vagrancy laws of prior eras — restrictions like anti-Okie laws, the Sundown Towns and Ugly Laws that explicitly discriminated against migrants, people of color and people with physical disabilities — have come back with a vengeance.”

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Home Is Where the Heart Is

It is heartbreaking to go out to the Albany Bulb and see what has been done to our former home. Those of us who still live on the streets are under constant persecution due to the inhumane laws that criminalize our very existence.

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The Sense of Loss When a Community Is Erased

Andy Kreamer asked people to call out the names of Albany Bulb residents who had been lost. The amount of loss that has been suffered in the past year is overwhelming. The residents have lost more than their homes. They’ve lost their safety, their friends, their peace of mind.

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An SRO Hotel Is Hardly a Home in San Francisco

An eye-opening film by a UCB student exposes the degrading conditions and overcrowding in SRO hotels in San Francisco. Many low-income families are caught in slum conditions and live in cramped, unsanitary and dangerous rooms. They endure drug-dealing in hallways and managers who threaten tenants and their visitors.

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Food Not Bombs Sues for Right to Share Food in Florida

Fort Lauderdale faces a lawsuit by Food Not Bombs for criminalizing food sharing. Laws to criminalize homelessness are “a response to the visibility of homelessness in public spaces,” said Kirsten Clanton of Southern Legal Counsel. “It’s business interests. It’s an effort to sanitize public space, often for tourism and tourist dollars.”

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The Genesis of Street Spirit in a Berkeley Seminary

We blocked the roads into Livermore laboratory for hours until the police pulled up with giant earth-moving machinery. Father Bill O’Donnell, a priest who had joined with Spirit on many acts of resistance, warned the driver, “We are chained to this missile. If you use that machine, you will crush us.”

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Berkeley City Council Takes Action on Police Abuse—Finally

In response to beatings and the indiscriminate use of CS gas and projectiles shot directly into crowds by the Berkeley police during the December protests of police killings, the City Council votes for a moratorium on CS gas, wooden and rubber projectiles and over-the-shoulder baton strikes.

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Lawsuit Filed Over ‘Stay-Away’ Law in Santa Cruz

Homeless people in Santa Cruz have precious little voice at City Hall, and much less in the court system. They have been pushed around and forced out of public spaces. It’s time to push back. That is why advocates have filed a lawsuit to challenge the city’s “stay away order.”

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Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.