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A Man of Spirit: The Long Journey of Kenneth McCoy

Kenneth McCoy, age 64, has been selling Street Spirit since he was diagnosed with colon cancer six years ago and found he had no way to pay for the medicine he needed to survive. Now he has a roof over his head and the income from his Street Spirit sales.

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New Director Revitalizes Street Spirit Vendor Team

J.C. Orton, the new director of Street Spirit’s vendor program, has revitalized the entire program and made remarkable improvements in the number of vendors working, the number of issues sold, and the overall morale of vendors. Best of all, vendors now feel they have someone truly cares about them.

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Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground

In cold and stormy weather, J.C. Orton opens an emergency shelter at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley. “I think it’s a fantastic situation where we’re able to shelter these people,” Orton said. “The satisfaction of being able to give that depth of service, to my mind, is overwhelming.”

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Rising Hunger and Food Shortages in Desperate Times

Many service providers in Berkeley are reporting increasingly desperate levels of hunger and poverty. Survival for the growing numbers who are homeless or on the edge is very difficult. There is not enough of anything — food, housing, health care or safe places.

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Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan is now the longest in U.S. history, yet it has been rendered largely invisible. A new AFSC art exhibit depicts the impact of this war on Afghan civilians caught in the crossfire. We are present in every shot fired, every missile launched, and every bomb dropped.

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Glimpses of the Spirit – Defending People’s Park and the Spirit of Peace and Justice

The Telegraph Business Improvement District wants to drive homeless people and meal programs out of People’s Park. Compassion for the poor was a foundational ideal of the peace movement that created the Park. Tearing out that legacy of compassion for the poor would tear the heart out of People’s Park.

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Hobos to Street People: Artists Uncover Hidden History of Poverty

The art exhibit, “Hobos to Street People,” unites the viewer with workers of past generations who overcame unjust economic conditions. It reunites us with our dispossessed counterparts by reminding us of our own historic political vulnerabilities and losses — but also, what justly belongs to all citizens of civilized societies.

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Arrested for ‘Sleepcrimes’ at Peace Camp in Santa Cruz

Laying down for the right to sleep is dangerous in Santa Cruz. The jurors found all but one of these “sleep criminals” guilty. Actually, it was a homeless man’s dog who was found not guilty. When the courts have criminalized sleeping by the poor, how can anyone sleep well tonight?

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An Alternative to Psychiatry and the Drug Industry

The concept of the wellness model – the kind of peer help and advocacy practiced at the Berkeley Drop-In Center – is a welcome alternative to the powerful drug industry’s proliferation of psychotropic drugs for their newly invented mental illnesses.

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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.