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Everyone Matters — A Lasting Lesson from a Lost Brother

As one of Kurt Vonnegut’s characters in Slaughterhouse-Five says, “It’s a crime to be poor in America.” This is a truth my brother Larry experienced for decades. Larry taught me that everyone matters, and this lesson fueled a longing for a world whose policies and conditions reflected this basic fact.

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Living in the Dark Ages in Modern America

There is no excuse for political leaders and for the wealthy people who influence them to allow widespread poverty, hunger and disease. The starvation and disease that continue in many places would not exist if the people who hoard most of the wealth cared about helping their fellow human beings.

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Homelessness Means Being Cast Out of Civilization

If we become homeless, we find that the police aren’t here to protect and serve. Instead, they have become the strong arm of the law that tells us where we can’t be. It is the same arm that could punish us by taking us to jail for panhandling, trespassing, and disorderly conduct.

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Keeping Promises, While Remaining Open to the Spirit

My Moslem friends say “Insha’ Allah.” My Jewish and Christian friends say “God willing” or “If the Lord wills.” What is sacred and sagacious in these expressions is the admission that all of our plans and promises are subject to the unexplained, unsolicited and, at times, unwelcome veto of the Almighty.

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Oakland Pastor Reflects on the Occupy Movement

We, like 99% of the people marching in Oakland, were unified by the desperate condition of our world, our families and our future. We were the cry of the lost oak trees that once lived here, as well as the moans of the Ohlone people who once thrived here.

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Surviving Uncaring Board and Care Homes

I have experienced endless abuses in board and care homes, including substandard housing, lack of food and rigid rules that treat adults like children. Even the name “board and care” is a misnomer. All too often, the people who ran these homes couldn’t care less about their residents.

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The Mosaic Tree: A Community Creation

The tree we created is a fascinating reminder of what can be accomplished by a full spectrum of people working together toward a worthwhile cause. When it storms, this tree will hold fast to its roots. Raindrops can resemble tears. And like tears, they will one by one dry.

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Answers to Our Prayers: The Bearing Witness Chronicles

I was sitting at a cafe watching the world go by when the world came to me and taught me about answered prayers and belonging. A homeless person who had been sitting near us said, “I believe in miracles.” I turned to him and said, “Oh yeah?”

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The Bearing Witness Chronicles: Fly Like an Eagle

The Bearing Witness Chronicles: Fly Like an Eagle

I was walking down the street one day when I decided that it was time for my life to take off. I looked down and found my arms slowly flapping up and down. A homeless man saw me and began to sing, “Fly like an eagle.”

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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.