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Music and Social Change

MusicandsocialchangeThrough the nearly one hundred years of its recorded history, blues musicians have been striking the chords of compassion and crying out for justice.  The history that can be traced in blues lyrics tells the story of how the common people had the soul to survive a soul-crushing system. Along with a far-seeing awareness of economic and racial injustice, many blues songs also express compassion and empathy towards the poor and oppressed, especially in times when the government had ignored and abandoned its hungry and homeless citizens.

Street Spirit has always been committed to documenting and publishing the art and culture of poor and homeless people. We’re pleased to offer this series of articles on Blues and Social Justice as part of our continuing coverage of Music and Social Change.  We’re also pleased to see that our “social justice news and homeless blues” reporting and commentary is now reaching an even broader audience via music-oriented publications featuring our articles. Street Spirit’s blues articles are now being published on two of the finest blues sites in Europe on Early Blues and the United States  on BG: Blues and Music News .

Berkeley shelter closes

The closure of the largest homeless shelter in Berkeley leaves many with nowhere to go

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.