Archive | Commentary RSS feed for this section

Considering the Best Ways to “Kick Nazi Ass”

SNCC members in the Bay Area are capable of telling their stories of personal sacrifice and nonviolent organizing — undeniably one of the greatest American stories ever told. Their insights into nonviolence can be shared with those who wonder what might be more powerful than makeshift shields from Home Depot.

Read More Comments Off on Considering the Best Ways to “Kick Nazi Ass”

Are Coffee Shops the New Homeless Drop-In Centers?

In areas of cities with a large homeless population, employees not only put “Out of Order” signs on their restroom doors, they remove the chairs and tables, forcing customers to stand to drink their coffee, hoping to deter the poor from coming in to bathe and sleep.

Read More Comments Off on Are Coffee Shops the New Homeless Drop-In Centers?

Psychiatric Cruelty in the Modern Era

Before the first medications were developed, lobotomies were used on the most difficult cases, and electroshock was often used as well. Even with modern treatments and knowledge in the field of psychiatry, senseless cruelty continues to be perpetrated upon persons who suffer from mental health problems.

Read More Comments Off on Psychiatric Cruelty in the Modern Era

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

Tiny Homes: Homeowners’ and Developers’ Scam?

Any empty residential or commercial space should be used in this housing emergency to situate people in need. The only thing missing is the key — not a metaphorical key, the actual key to an actual space with heat, electricity, cooking and bathroom facilities, etc. No miniaturization, no shanty-town necessary.

Read More Comments Off on Tiny Homes: Homeowners’ and Developers’ Scam?

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

Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”