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The Essential Role of Bravery

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.

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Oppression After Death: The High Cost of Dying

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.

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Who Will Watch Over the Watchers?

Berkeley’s downtown streets and open spaces are watched over by the DBA and its employees who tear down public posters, physically attack people who don’t comply with their orders, or abuse people who don’t meet their standard of beauty. All too often, DBA ambassadors are abusive and unaccountable.

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A Purgatory of Lost Souls and Redeemed Humanity

Through the camera’s eye, I observed grief and laughter, violence and love, addiction and redemption. I saw these recyclers at their best and worst, with all that makes us human. The film will have succeeded if it reveals their humanity, and helps erase the invisible barrier between us and “them.”

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Treating Homeless Recyclers Like Human Beings

They worked harder than anyone I have ever seen. They took tons of recyclables carelessly thrown in the trash and kept them out of the landfill and put them back into circulation. They saved trees, natural habitat and the energy it takes to make aluminum, glass and paper from raw materials.

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Oakland Is in the Throes of a Housing Crisis

Oakland faces a housing crisis that has displaced thousands and more than doubled the number of residents who are homeless and unhoused. While the City struggles to rebound from the recession, redevelopment funds have been stripped, federal HUD money is rapidly shrinking and legislators are struggling to find resources.

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As the Economy Unravels, the Poor Are Criminalized

Quality of life laws resurrect a disgraceful tradition of discriminating against poor people. Like Jim Crow laws, these new laws segregate our country by race and class.

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The Injustice of Poverty and the Worship of Money

“March” Drawing by Josh MacPhee See http://wraphome.org for art relating to social justice

“The love of money is the root of all evil.” Our society has turned this truth upside down so that seeking wealth is now perceived as godlike.

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No Place at the Table: Feeding the Poor Is a Crime

Feeding the hungry is an act of faith in many religions. Art by Christa Occhiogrosso

After closing the public feeding facility, San Diego officials quickly moved against the Salvation Army and got their meal program closed. Then, one by one, they began began picking off the smaller homeless providers who offered food and day shelter. Some churches have resisted.

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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.