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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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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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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.”