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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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.