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Artist’s Portraits Reveal the Human Faces in Our Midst

I realized that bringing them to life in drawings was quite unique, seeming to have more joy in it than I’d ever experienced before. Walter was delighted. Nate always greets me now with a thankful smile. Donald, the very gentle one, spoke proudly and warmly when pondering his portrait.

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Oakstop Gallery Is a Showcase for “Black Artists on Art”

Oakstop Gallery is displaying 36 artists from three generations in its exhibition, “Black Artists on Art.” It was inspired by Samella Lewis. an African American historian and artist, and the author of two volumes of Black Artists on Art. Trevor Parham and Samella Lewis’s grandson, Unity Lewis, collaborated on the exhibit.

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How We Find Our Silenced Voices and Learn to Sing

This child who had been silenced went on to become a world-famous poet who won three Grammys and spoke six languages. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. She had an abounding love for everyone. She was asked by the United Nations to write a poem for the world.

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St. Mary’s Center — Community in Action

This special section features stories published in Street Spirit that report on the crucial work of St. Mary’s Center in providing shelter and life-supporting social services to low-income and homeless seniors in Oakland. These exciting stories describe St. Mary’s inspiring work in building a vibrant community and involving seniors in creating beautiful art and organizing […]

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Feeling Broken and Blue: The Life and Art of Paul Nicoloff

Paul “Blue” Nicoloff, dressed in blue, on Telegraph Avenue. Blue was a Berkeley street artist who had survived bouts of homelessness, but then committed suicide in the fall of 1999.

Blue was a gaunt, emaciated, crazed-looking, street person dressed in torn rags. Blue’s sense of humor was the tiny life-raft that he clung to all his life, amidst the raging seas of his stormy soul. Perhaps that’s why his sense of humor was so brilliantly honed: He needed it so badly.
This article first appeared in the October 1999 issue of Street Spirit.

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Young Artists Take Stance on Prisons

“We cannot truly exercise our freedom until we allow everyone to be free, and most important, free ourselves. ” — Julia Tello

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Beautifully Composed Art with a Social Conscience

“Wet Night On Sutter Street.” A homeless person sleeps in a cardboard box outside an expensive clothing store in San Francisco on a rainy night. Painting by Christine Hanlon, oil on canvas, 20” by 32 1/3”

Christine Hanlon’s beautifully composed images of outcast souls struggling to survive in barren urban landscapes seem to be ripped from today’s news stories about increasing poverty in America. Yet, her deeply felt paintings also are timeless in their portrayal of classic themes explored by great painters through the ages.

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Artists Encounter the Poor in Image and Imagination with the Photography of Dorothea Lange

Today’s artists joined with Dorothea Lange to document the side of American life that is forced to live in the shadows — in the brush under an overpass. The writers in the Encounter with Lange project try to give voice to these images and to see the human faces of the poor.

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Shining New Light on the Desolate Streets of ‘The Other America’ — Dong Lin’s Photographs

A policeman tries to nudge awake a homeless man on the streets of San Francisco, but the man cannot be awakened. Photo by Dong Lin from his book One American Reality.

In one of Dong Lin’s chilling images, a policeman stops to nudge a homeless man lying on a San Francisco sidewalk, only to find he is already dead, just another accident statistic. The faceless fatalities in our midst are almost never seen. They live and die in a faraway place — the Other America.

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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.