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The Poverty Line

More enforcement droids were coming with their weapons readied. But people had taken enough. Those who had been waiting in the long line so that they could continue their meager existences were angry. They surged at the enforcement droids and collectively smashed them to bits in a process of spontaneous rebellion.

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The Soldier’s Box of Memories

Miles and I had a strange bond: I was a conscientious objector and he was a Special Forces guy. He took some shrapnel in Vietnam and walked with a limp. After the war, Miles became a wandering man for years on end, spending time in homeless shelters up and down the East Coast.

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The Jazzman Follows The Sky Up To The Roof

“You’re trespassing. This is private property, plus you can’t sleep outside in this city.” The bespectacled cop writes out a ticket and hands it to Hank. “We’ll escort you downstairs.” Once back down on the street, the other cop says, “You’re free to go, but next time it’ll be the county jail.”

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Willa’s Way to Walden Pond

He’s engrossed in Walden and the memorable quote from Thoreau: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

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Here Come the Men in Gray

The men in gray uniforms arrived and restrained the errant man. One of them jabbed him in the neck with a hypodermic needle and pushed the plunger home. The violator immediately went pale and rigid. The two men roughly threw the now deceased violator into the back of their truck and drove away.

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The Professor

He had been a professor of classics at a small southern college before the nightmare frame-up and 10 years on prison. A model inmate, he received an early release, but not early enough to attend the funeral of his only son, Isiah, an innocent bystander killed in a crossfire of gang violence.

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One-Way Ticket Home

The streets were alien to me. I was defenseless. Cops and security guards hassled me for just being in a particular area or store and minding my own business. And when night descended, I was scared out of my wits sleeping in doorways. I became guarded and hyper-alert.

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No Pity in the Cruel City: Yet Friendship Flourishes for Molly and Lloyd

He opened his desk drawer. Next to his medals, he fingered the black-and-white photo of Molly and mutely kissed it. He treasured the photo more than the medals. Tears were slowly rolling down his cheeks and for the first time in his life he did not try to keep them back.

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Finding an Escape from the Streets of Broken Dreams

Mitch suffered the double whammy of a pink slip and divorce from a red-haired beauty half his age. After months of depression and passivity, he arrived in the Golden State and wound up sleeping on the cold concrete of Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco.

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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.