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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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.