Archive | June, 2015

Life at Ground Zero of the Nuclear Arms Race

Jim and Shelley Douglass moved right next door to the Trident submarine base — Ground Zero of the nuclear arms race — and organized a boat blockade that led to an epic confrontation with the Navy and Coast Guard on the waters of Puget Sound.

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Street Spirit Interview with James Douglass (Part 1)

One Trident submarine can destroy a country. A fleet of Trident submarines is capable of destroying the world. Jim Douglass explains how Ground Zero Center organized a visionary campaign of nonviolent resistance to confront “the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.”

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Street Spirit Interview with Jim Douglass (Part 2)

When Father Dave Becker came to dinner at the home of Jim and Shelley Douglass next to the Trident base, the first sentence he said after he sat down on the sofa was, “I want to understand from you what it means to be the chaplain of the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.”

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Stop the Anti-Poor Laws in Berkeley

The new anti-poor laws come to the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday, June 30. It is vitally important to come to the meeting and speak out against these unjust laws. We can stop them now, just as we stopped them in the 2012 election when Berkeley voters defeated a ridiculous anti-sitting law.

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It’s Time to Abolish Berkeley’s Ambassador Program

The ambassadors of the Downtown Berkeley Association are an absurd gang of civil rights violators. Homeless people are in the worst position to try to combat this institutionalized discrimination. The City Council has failed to provide responsible oversight, and city commissions have too little influence to truly protect the public.

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Religious Leaders Say: “Do Not Criminalize Homeless People”

In an open letter to the Berkeley City Council, religious leaders say: “Do Not Criminalize Homeless People in Berkeley. We stand lovingly and firmly united in opposition to new proposed laws criminalizing homeless people. The new homeless laws violate our deep conviction to express compassion for all living beings.”

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Instead of Positive Change, It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

Positive Change boxes in Berkeley are merely repeating a failed model from the past. Cities that have adopted these programs as a model have all ended them for the same reason: They simply don’t work. Voucher programs get brassy press coverage until they fail, and then they fail in quiet obscurity.

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Housing First — But Not in Berkeley

Berkeley brags about its somewhat mythological tradition of compassion for the poor. Yet many services are designed to help people get off the street and find housing in some other town — not in Berkeley. Evicted with nowhere to go? Service providers will help you find scarce shelter space — in Richmond.

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Vitally Needed Programs in South Berkeley Face Cuts

City officials intend to drastically cut funding for ten South Berkeley nonprofits serving homeless and other underserved people, including youth and people with mental health challenges. The City must either show respect and concern for its longtime residents, or else let the “market” drive out programs that serve our poorest citizens

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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.