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.
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.
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.
A panhandler does not get “something for nothing.” Being a beggar is not what I would call enviable. They must endure the danger of being harassed, jailed or beaten by police. They must deal with repeated rejection and insults. They must deal with the elements — hot weather, bitter cold, rain or wind.
A community slowly robbed of spaces to live, places to worship or recreate, let alone places to sleep, has a deep poverty of leadership. The few reporters who notice need to write about that deficit: the real story.
Destroying Alliance Recycling is not about compassion, Mayor Schaaf. It is hateful and harmful prejudice masquerading as law. By any definition, the systematic discrimination, incrimination and elimination of a vulnerable population of poor and homeless people is a form of state-sanctioned violence.
Given technological advances, our warlike tendencies threaten to wipe out all life on our planet. We must shed violence and militarism or suffer the consequences, which could include our extinction. The rest of the creatures on our planet would be innocent victims of the Earth becoming uninhabitable.
Transgender, gay and lesbian people may experience the danger of physical attacks, and the specter of social rejection. Many involved in the Civil Rights Movement put their lives on the line for the sake of a larger purpose. When bullying takes place, the victim of it exhibits bravery — not the perpetrator.
I guess we all think about death. The popular vision of a line of black cars following a sleek Mercedes stretch hearse. If you are homeless, a garbage truck will probably be your hearse. That’s how I envision it. Be nice if they at least had a long one — painted black.