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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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.