Archive | April, 2015

Right to Rest Act Gets Hearing in Sacramento

Activists from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and across the state of California trekked to Sacramento on April 7, 2015 to lobby for the “Right to Rest. They are part of the growing movement aimed at ending the criminalization of homeless people and stopping police profiling and harassment of all people in public places.

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Democracy Under Attack on the Streets of Berkeley

It took the savage beating of a homeless man to reveal the terrible cost of allowing business owners to create their own private patrols on the streets of Berkeley.

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The Wrong Men Were Sent to Jail in Berkeley

The video clearly shows that the violence was initiated by the ambassadors. The wrong men had gone to jail. The report given to Berkeley police by the DBA ambassadors was dishonest — itself a fairly serious crime.

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Why Criminalizing Poverty Sells in Berkeley

The DBA’s board is dominated by large property owners who were the primary funders of the failed anti-sitting law campaign in 2012. It takes courage to say no to the merchant association’s short-sighted effort to make homelessness and poverty invisible. Courage is in short supply in the Berkeley City Council.

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Berkeley’s Sweeping Anti-Homeless Legislation

The Downtown Berkeley Association and the City Council pushed the anti-homeless laws without even consulting any of the city’s commissions. The DBA requested these measures in a wholehearted attempt to transform Berkeley into one of the most repressive cities in California in targeting poor and homeless citizens.

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Phone Videos Document Police Assaults on Homeless People

He is not cowed, and will keep protesting the criminalization of homelessness. “What am I supposed to do? If the shelters are full and I got to sleep here, I got to sleep here. It can’t be illegal for me to sleep. It’s highly inhumane. I will fight it.”

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Nationwide Epidemic of Anti-Homeless Hate Laws

More and more cities turn to curfews, prohibitions on begging, sleeping, or “camping” in response to the visible poverty in their public spaces, despite the fact that criminalization is “the most expensive and least effective” method of addressing homelessness. Jail costs two to three times the cost of supportive housing.

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A Long Search to Find a True Home

My sons have helped bring gifts to the poor on Christmas and meals to the homeless in the cold winter. They’ve hugged strangers and told them that not only God loves them, but that they love them, after offering prayer and a warm meal and blanket to sustain them at night.

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KAFKA in Santa Cruz: A City Where Sleep Is A Crime

Gary Johnson was one of thousands of people experiencing homelessness when the sheriffs came to roust him. Now he is sentenced to jail for the crime of being caught asleep in Santa Cruz at night. This “criminal” has been smacked down repeatedly by The Law precisely because he was homeless.

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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.