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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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A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

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.