Archive | April, 2017

Beautiful Murals Express the Soul of Humanity

The murals that young artists have created in Berkeley are a deep expression of their humanity and spirit. Prophetic art expresses their deepest feelings about gentrification and displacement, public health and social justice.

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The Visions of Young Artists Flourish in Berkeley

The beautiful mural splashes the brilliant colors of wild nature on the drab gray streets. Hummingbirds, zebras, giraffes and black panthers show the ecological connections of life on Earth.

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Compassion: A Solution to Oakland’s Homeless Crisis

So much compassion has been lost in our society. Many people have become desensitized to seeing homeless encampments. They remind us that the unexpected can hit any of us at any time. We can lose our job or suddenly get too sick to work. Many don’t want to think about this.

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Berkeley Activists Created a Park That Still Lives Today

For nearly a half-century, the community has continued to defend and maintain the park in spite of periodic confrontations with the University of California. The latest threat to the park — the announcement that UC officials are considering building student housing on the land — will not go unchallenged.

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Preserving People’s Park as a Public Commons

People’s Park provides refuge for the “indigent” (as the University of California calls us), and remains important as a place for free speech and alternative cultural events. The Park is a public commons, and preserves trees and green space. It is a historic symbol of the era of peace and freedom.

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The Significance of People’s Park — Now More Than Ever

People from all over the world were coming to the Bay Area for the poetry and music, for the recognition of Howl as free speech, and for the chance to participate in a cultural change that has never stopped, any more than has the university’s ham-handed efforts to repress it.

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Tiny Houses: Salvation for the Homeless or a Dead End?

Depending on who you ask, moving homeless people into wooden cabins either rescues them from the streets or paves the way for dead-end shantytowns. Rhonda, homeless after losing her job as a restaurant manager, is grateful for the shelter but says it’s a cramped place to bring up her five-year-old daughter.

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Cost-Free Improvements for the Pathways Project

Berkeley’s public was tired of paying for the destruction of poor people’s tents decades ago, let alone picking up the tab for circling them through courts and jails. Criminalizing people with nowhere to go is unethical, expensive, a ridiculous assault on the dignity of everybody involved, and a civil rights violation.

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An Eternal Home Outside of Time

In Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, the love of a friend melts a captive boy’s frozen heart and sets him free. The Snow Queen tells him that if he is able to put together some pieces of frozen ice to spell the word Eternity, he will be set free.

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Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”