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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.

Joy in the Midst of Sorrow in Santa Maria Orphanage

This amazing priest not only housed 300 orphaned children from the streets of Mexico City, but he also took care of 20 homeless elders in his own house and started a home for children dying of AIDS. Father Norman also ran a soup kitchen that fed many people in the village.