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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.

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Easy to Be Hard, Easy to Say No

Imagine the hurt and pain I felt when my own brother refused to let me stay in a spare room at his house after I had become homeless. Multiply that pain by 15, when, one by one, my closest friends and family told me I could not stay with them.

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We Must Listen to the Voices of the Streets

All we really wanted out there on the street, any of us, was to be treated with human respect and dignity, and treated as equals, not as inferiors. We wanted to be listened to, we wanted our voices heard. But people wouldn’t listen to us. They sure talked to us though.

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The Woman in the Donut Shop

Never think that you too can’t become homeless. You could have everything — a house, a car, a family, a job — and overnight lose it all, God forbid. No one should ever close their eyes and say, “It will never happen to me.” Because it could happen and then what would you do?

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How to Save a Life

On the street, I see someone who looks like my brother, dresses like him, moves like him. For a moment, I suspend the truth and say, “There’s my brother.” The moment passes too soon. But there are many who suffer still, and I try to treat them like brothers, for my brother.

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Coffee and Conversation with a Homeless Man

Art by Christa Occhiogrosso

This man was in his early sixties and had been homeless for many years. Yet he kept his hair combed, and he spoke clearly and reasonably. Sure, he had some anger concerning his plight, but who wouldn’t? It seems that fate had dealt him a few too many blows, and this is where he had ended up.

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Reflections on Homelessness in Oakland

Martin Luther King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” If people know their history, King’s Poor People’s March, completed after his death, has not resulted in a society where all citizens matter, especially black men, the majority of men seen on Oakland streets.

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You’re Stronger Than You Know

If you’re homeless, blind with fear and sick down to your soles, broken down and so alone you want to crawl out of your skin and be someone else, somewhere else, look my way and know: I’m that voice that flows from your heart that says you’re stronger and more than you know.

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Gimme Some Truth

“I’ve always resented the smug statements of politicians, media commentators, corporate executives who talked of how, in America, if you worked hard you would become rich. The meaning of that was if you were poor it was because you hadn’t worked hard enough. I knew this was a lie…”

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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.