Archive | April, 2016

Songs of Healing in a World at War

Country Joe McDonald’s songs denounce the atrocities of war and pay tribute to Vietnam War combat nurses and the legendary icon of mercy, Florence Nightingale, for bravely bringing medical care into war zones.

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Country Joe: Singing Louder Than the Guns

Country Joe McDonald stands nearly alone among the musicians of the 1960s in staying true to his principles — still singing for peace, still denouncing the brutality of war.

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Street Spirit Interview with Country Joe McDonald Pt 1

Women coming home from the Vietnam War never were the same after their wartime experiences. They were shoved into a horrific, unbelievable experience. That’s what I wrote about in the song: “A vision of the wounded screams inside her brain, and the girl next door will never be the same.”

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Street Spirit Interview with Country Joe McDonald Pt 2

“It was magical. All at the same time, amazing stuff happened in Paris, London, and San Francisco — and BOOM! Everybody agreed on the same premise: peace and love. It was a moment of peace and love. It was a wonderful thing to happen. And I’m still a hippie: peace and love!”

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Suitcase Clinic Holds Town Hall on Homelessness

“Homeless people are the most creative, talented people I’ve ever met — we have to be. I’ve seen it through artwork, musicians, the places we design to sleep,” one woman commented about the lack of employment for homeless people. “We are wasting huge amounts of human potential and talent.”

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Mike Deserves a House

Recently I had the misfortune to interact with Berkeley’s newest scheme in combating homelessness. It’s called the coordinated entry system. In a nutshell, it is supposed to be a one-stop shop for homeless services. In reality, it is piles of paperwork and, quite frankly, a complete waste of time.

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Sleeping Ban Defeat in Santa Cruz Raises Many Questions

For decades, Santa Cruz has progressively sought to criminalize homelessness and the recent vote is little more than a sad confirmation of that well-established and deeply entrenched policy. Following the vote, one longtime observer commented that “now our community is officially homeless unfriendly.”

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Dogtown Redemption: Finding Gold in the Garbage

“We started making a film about poverty,” said Amir Soltani. “We ended up making a film about love.” The poverty of the recyclers profiled in the film is illustrated as people find or lose housing and shelter, find or lose loving relationships, and get a handle on their health and hope.

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Tiny House Movement Spreads Across the Country

Dignity Village in Portland started when homeless activists claimed space under a downtown bridge. It has grown into a 60-person village with tiny homes built of recycled materials by residents and volunteers. Community members practice self-governance, and select their own members under their own community agreements.

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Berkeley shelter closes

The closure of the largest homeless shelter in Berkeley leaves many with nowhere to go

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.