Archive | May, 2015

Faith Leaders Denounce Berkeley’s Anti-Homeless Laws

“Nobody should be criminalized for the necessities of life. We have to realize these are our sisters and brothers who deserve and need our help.” — Franciscan friar Louie Vitale

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Frances Beal: A Voice for Peace, Racial Justice and the Rights of Women

Fances Beal was a founding member of the SNCC Black Women’s Liberation Committee, and did a pioneering study of “the triple oppression of race, class and gender.”

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The DBA Paints a Happy Face Over a Brutal Beatdown

The Downtown Berkeley Association tries to look respectable while pouring their out-of-town real estate money into robbing the poor of their blankets. The real-estate juggernaut prefers to knock down cheap housing and kick out the artists, hippies and musicians who pester them about civil rights and democracy.

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An Interfaith Vigil for the Rights of Homeless People

Spending one night outdoors was a powerful lesson in how miserable it is to be homeless. And in Berkeley, it can take two years of miserable nights to get into affordable housing. “We have thousands of people in our country that are refugees just living in our doorways,” said Sally Hindman.

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Right To Rest Legislation Held Over in State Senate

Proponents of the Right to Rest bill — including a busload of advocates of homeless people from San Francisco and Oakland — turned out in great numbers. Supporters outnumbered opposition lobbyists from business alliances and city governments by 6 to 1 during legislative hearings in Sacramento.

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Planning For People, Not for Profiteers

Someone making minimum wage would have to work 163 hours a week in Oakland and 212 hours a week in San Francisco to be able to afford housing. — Working class Blacks and Latinos are being displaced at incredible rates from their neighborhoods. The historically Latino Mission neighborhood went from being 50 percent Latino in 2000 to just 38.5 percent in 2013 and Oakland has lost almost a quarter of her Black residents in the last decade.

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Stories from Suitcase Clinic: A Desire to Do Good for His Community

Twinkle is beloved by volunteers and clients, and his desire to do good for his own community inspires many of us at Suitcase Clinic. “I’m just trying to bring people together,” he says. “I believe that we all have a right to happiness — in whatever way we believe that to be.”

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New Campaign for Basic Dignity Launched in Santa Cruz

“It is bad enough that homeless people are criminalized in our community. Do we really have to humiliate them as well?” asked Housing NOW Santa Cruz founding member Linda Lemaster. “Let’s hope that now is the time for basic dignity, an idea whose time has surely come,” said Rabbi Phil Posner.

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We Will Not Be Moved

“Families for tenant protections now.” The youngest are threatened by displacement. Photo: JCCJ

Gentrification has created a housing crisis for urban, working class, tenants of color that is compounding historic racial and economic fissures.

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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.