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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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Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.