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The Mississippi Delta: Birthplace of the Blues – “This Is Where the Soul of Man Never Dies.”

This is a story about how poverty, segregation and racial discrimination harm human beings. This is also a story about how beauty flowers from the fields of brutality. This is a story of the blues. “This is where the soul of man never dies,” as Sam Phillips said about Howlin’ Wolf.

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I Want Every Person to Have A Decent Life

I want everyone to have a decent life in America. People are running around hungry and homeless. People need to help one another. I got help and want others to get help too. I’m about giving. If I can advocate and play music for the benefit of other people, I will.

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They Care for the Lives of the People They Serve

“Coming Together to Eat.” People line up to eat at a church in Berkeley.

The staff at the church have a passion for people. They serve meals on a regular basis without pay. They wouldn’t show up unless they cared. Inside the church, people from all races come to eat. A balanced meal is served and fresh vegetables are available to take home.

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I Feel Connected to Their Suffering

Homeless people have the burden of carrying their belongings wherever they go; they do not want to lose their things. Carts with their life possessions can be seen throughout town. Homeless people often walk all day long to eat, be safe, and sleep. It is hard work and necessary.

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I’m Concerned for the Human Family

The spirit connects us. When I hear the truth of our shared life, I know I have a chance to survive and overcome adversity. When I see people who are homeless, I see a bit of myself. People need places where everyone is equal and recognized for their creativity and ability.

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Life Gets Better and Better Every Day

Susan Werner pins a boutonniere on Keith Arivnwine to honor his work as a photographer in documenting the conditions facing homeless people. Lydia Gans photo

Finally, I had a key in my hand for my own apartment. Every time I turn the key to open the door I feel appreciation and accomplishment. I’m now living where God wants me to be. I feel good about myself and fit into the lifestyle of being housed and mentally stable.

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The Streets Became My Home But I Did Not Give Up

“Food Served with Love.” When I was homeless, I needed to be treated like a human being and offered a life preserver so I would not die on the streets. Keith Arivnwine photo

As a gypsy traveler, I rode buses during the night. Sometimes I’d pass the wee hours of the night on a park bench. I’d wake up early morning. The park bench was my couch, the green grass and trees were my living room. I’d take in the simple pleasures of life.

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I Learned I’m a Warrior and a Survivor

“Anything Helps.” A man’s sign asking for help is seen through a car’s windshield: “Homeless and hungry. Can you help us please?” Darrell Black photo

I’ve learned from being homeless that I’m a warrior, a survivor. When I was going through rough, raw stuff, people said things to me that felt hurtful. It matters to offer encouragement and hope, and to tell a person, “Don’t give up. Life is not over. You can make life better.”

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Finding a Home in the World

“Urban Camping.” Many homeless people are resourceful and skillful. They find ingenious ways to live outdoors by creating a sense of home. Pedro Del Norte photo

Many homeless people are ingenious, intelligent, and resourceful. They establish comfortable ways to live outdoors by finding a quiet place, and create accommodations. They arrange their bedding and stuff to make a niche with a certain amount of comfort and safety. Having a spot gives a person a sense of “home.”

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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.