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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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.