Archive | February, 2016

Can Oakland Fix the Homeless Crisis It Created?

Many of Oakland’s homeless people are African Americans displaced or evicted, and now forced to move into illegal encampments. Oakland officials have used the decline in the African-American population to market Oakland to outsiders.

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Berkeley Declares an Official Shelter Crisis

The critical mass of people shivering in doorways, behind dumpsters and in parks has stuffed a sock in the “we do enough for the homeless” song Mayor Tom Bates usually sings.

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Berkeley Fails to Control Police Misconduct

During the Black Lives Matter protests in Berkeley, people trying to nonviolently protest police misconduct were obstructed and injured. Press officers were injured. Religious leaders were injured. People trying to help the injured were injured. Yet the Police Review Commission report about police tactics has glaring omissions.

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Greyhound Therapy: Symptom of a Failed Mental Health System

Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas handed out bus tickets to about 1500 gravely disabled patients, “transferring” them to states all over the country. Patients were sent to states where they had never been a resident and areas that had no mental institution prepared to receive them.

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The Growing Plight of Internally Displaced Persons in Oakland

After Robert’s wife died two years ago, he lost his will to survive. Since then he has lived on the streets. He says what is most disheartening is the stigma attached to homelessness. He said he is looked upon as if he isn’t human.

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Serving the People on Martin Luther King Day

Leajay lost everything all at once — her job, her housing, her belongings in storage, her children, and then her freedom when the Berkeley police arrested her and put her in jail. This happened many times. Homelessness is a crime in Berkeley, she said, and the remedy, incarceration.

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New Shelter System — and New Attacks on Berkeley’s Homeless

Under Mayor Tom Bates, Berkeley has become more conservative in its social policies, and much more intolerant towards homeless people. Mayor Bates and some City Council members have tried repeatedly to criminalize homelessness. As a result, people on the streets have been under attack repeatedly in recent years.

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San Francisco Supervisor Tries to Ban Tents in Winter

Activists condemned Supervisor Wiener’s proposal to ban tents during the winter, saying: “Mr. Wiener’s letter is in direct contrast to the very spirit of the City of St. Francis. His timing was telling, as was his lack of solutions. Homeless people are suffering enough, and his letter was surprisingly cruel.”

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Santa Cruz Activists Join Together to Defend Right to Sleep

The UN Human Rights Committee condemns the criminalization of homelessness in the U.S.. Santa Cruz attorney Ed Frey says, “Sleeping is and has always been a human right that should be protected and defended by international convention. The time is right for a full-throated advocacy of that right at the highest levels.”

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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.