Archive | Commentary RSS feed for this section

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.

Read More Comments Off on Compassion: A Solution to Oakland’s Homeless Crisis

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.

Read More Comments Off on The Significance of People’s Park — Now More Than Ever

The Desperate Housing Crisis in Berkeley

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.

Read More Comments Off on The Desperate Housing Crisis in Berkeley

Death in the West: Memorial for a Day Laborer

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.

Read More Comments Off on Death in the West: Memorial for a Day Laborer

Oakland Officials Distort the Law to Punish the Poor

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.

Read More Comments Off on Oakland Officials Distort the Law to Punish the Poor

Panhandling in a Society That Worships Money, Not People

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.

Read More Comments Off on Panhandling in a Society That Worships Money, Not People

S.F. Homeless Project Served Only the Status Quo

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.

Read More Comments Off on S.F. Homeless Project Served Only the Status Quo

Oakland Robs the Poor of Dignity and Their Daily Bread

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.

Read More Comments Off on Oakland Robs the Poor of Dignity and Their Daily Bread

War Is Hell — and So Is the Threat of Extinction

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.

Read More Comments Off on War Is Hell — and So Is the Threat of Extinction

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.