Archive | June, 2017

A Journalist in Defense of Human Rights

“At night when you’d be sleeping, you’d hear the spectral sound of the shopping carts outside in the streets. I’d think to myself, ‘Who is out there at 3 in the morning by themselves with a shopping cart?’ Just the loneliness of it was hard to ignore.”

Read More Comments Off on A Journalist in Defense of Human Rights

How to Save a Life

On the street, I see someone who looks like my brother, dresses like him, moves like him. For a moment, I suspend the truth and say, “There’s my brother.” The moment passes too soon. But there are many who suffer still, and I try to treat them like brothers, for my brother.

Read More Comments Off on How to Save a Life

The Street Spirit Interview with Amir Soltani

People wanted the recycling center gone because they just didn’t want the poor around them. It’s a game of Monopoly in which everybody’s interests are linked to the price of real estate, without the slightest concern about what speculation in land prices does to communities.

Read More Comments Off on The Street Spirit Interview with Amir Soltani

The Debate Over Tiny Homes: Ask Those Who Have No Home

Living on the streets is dangerous and debilitating. People’s meager belongings can be stolen; they can be assaulted. If we listen to people who are currently housed but have experienced periods of homelessness, it is clear that the effects, physical and psychological, have never left them.

Read More Comments Off on The Debate Over Tiny Homes: Ask Those Who Have No Home

Remembering Dave Linn: An Attorney for the People

It is hard to defend high-profile People’s Park defendants in a contemporary legal world. It is hard to be the one man in Birkenstocks surrounded by Italian suits. But Dave Linn took the cases most people would assess as unwinnable, and gave them his full attention.

Read More Comments Off on Remembering Dave Linn: An Attorney for the People

Out on the Street, Hope Is Out of Reach

I recently spent the night at the homeless encampment near West Grand Avenue in Oakland. We sat on milk crates on a cold night, and we ate sandwiches while I listened as they talked about their fears, despairs and why help takes so long to reach them.

Read More Comments Off on Out on the Street, Hope Is Out of Reach

Sidestepping Democracy: A Berkeley Tradition Lives On

The anti-panhandling law, the anti-sitting law, the two-square-feet-of-possessions-only law, and the proposal to equip the smoke-free downtown with ashtrays have one thing in common: the Downtown Berkeley Association. This unelected group was given a free hand in crafting contradictory and unconstitutional legislation.

Read More Comments Off on Sidestepping Democracy: A Berkeley Tradition Lives On

Next Step in Santa Cruz: Task Force on Homelessness

Several wondered why service providers and members of the homeless community were not included in the preparation of the report. The Task Force must include the faith community, neighborhood groups, local businesses, advocates for the homeless and, most importantly, members of our local homeless community.

Read More Comments Off on Next Step in Santa Cruz: Task Force on Homelessness

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.