Archive | July, 2016

Oakland’s Cruel Attack on Homeless Recyclers

Homelessness is a nationwide epidemic, yet Oakland officials are shutting down Alliance Recycling and cruelly depriving poor and homeless recyclers of their livelihood. They are criminalizing an entire class of people by outlawing their profession.

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On the Streets, Under the Trees

David Bacon’s photographs of homeless people in cities and rural areas were born out of his commitment to social justice. They capture the uphill struggle for survival faced by millions living in the virtually invisible landscape of poverty.

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No Country for Old People

Market ideology undermines human rights for elders. Old people, children and the disabled are vulnerable in a profit-based economy that ignores the rights to housing, education and health care. Popular struggle is necessary to demand these needs be met. When movements weaken, the safety net is slashed.

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No Alternative But To Keep Working

Workers are aging in the fields. Women especially start to worry after they pass 50. They depend on the fields, but the work is hard and as they get older, it gets harder. Crew leaders won’t hire older people for many jobs. They have to work, because there’s no alternative.

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Oppression After Death: The High Cost of Dying

I guess we all think about death. The popular vision of a line of black cars following a sleek Mercedes stretch hearse. If you are homeless, a garbage truck will probably be your hearse. That’s how I envision it. Be nice if they at least had a long one — painted black.

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Who Will Watch Over the Watchers?

Berkeley’s downtown streets and open spaces are watched over by the DBA and its employees who tear down public posters, physically attack people who don’t comply with their orders, or abuse people who don’t meet their standard of beauty. All too often, DBA ambassadors are abusive and unaccountable.

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Criminalizing Homelessness Cost $20 Million in S.F.

Last year, San Francisco spent more than $20 million policing so-called “quality of life” ordinances for more than 60,000 incidents, nearly all involving homeless people. The City’s Budget and Legislative Analyst concluded that the $20.6 million could be better used to provide housing for its homeless residents.

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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.