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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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.