Archive | October, 2016

The Desperate Housing Crisis in Berkeley

Every day I hear the desperation of people on the street. I worked as a community organizer for 14 years for BOSS, helping homeless people, but now I am jobless and homeless myself. I see how ineffective our housing policies are. We need a revival of street action and protest in Berkeley.

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Youth Spirit Artworks Tries to Save Street Spirit

“We can’t afford to lose this essential platform for human rights and social justice, and we can’t let down the 100-plus vendors for whom this is a literal lifeline.” — Sally Hindman

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Death in the West: Memorial for a Day Laborer

Roberto worked without medical coverage or a living wage. Not a cent went into Social Security for the aging worker. When he died in a doorway of the defunct U-Haul rental shop in at Allston Way and San Pablo in Berkeley, it took a day or so for anyone to notice.

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Miss Raynel’s Shanty

The structure, if you can call it that, is made from heavy plastic tied to a fence facing a field where trains speed by many times a day. Inside the tent, Miss Raynel’s young nieces are under a blanket. There’s nothing behind them but fencing and a wild dog running in the field.

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The U.S. Relationship to Violence in Mexico

More than 150,000 people have been killed in Mexico since former president Felipe Calderón declared a drug war, with U.S. support, in 2007, and another 27,000 disappearances have been reported. The most well-known example is the forced disappearance by police of 43 student teachers in Ayotzinapa in September 2014.

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Oakland Officials Distort the Law to Punish the Poor

What a masterful demolition job. There is nothing like deploying the law to perseucte the poor — to crush them, silence them. You stripped Oakland’s recyclers of the right to their labor, the right to their freedom, and the right to eke out an existence on the margins of society.

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Richmond’s Mayor Does the Bidding of Landlord Lobby

Richmond’s mayor accepted contributions from California Apartment Association (CAA) and then voted against a proposed 45-day urgency moratorium on rent increases and no-cause evictions. The CAA is a wealthy organization representing the interests of landlords, not tenants. They have been spending big money in Richmond to block renter protections.

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Oakland’s Evictions of Encampments Hurts Everyone

Even as Oakland was evicting many of its most vulnerable citizens from homeless encampments, the City declared a shelter crisis. Oakland officials had reports of the severe lack of available beds in homeless shelters, and they knew these displaced people had nowhere to go.

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Making a Home in an Oakland Encampment

It takes creativity to survive on the street and create a home near the freeway. Lance’s belongings are neatly arranged and he clearly takes pride in his abode. A feeling of being at home is a vibe felt at this address, as well as in the neighboring tiny homes or campers.

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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.