Reporting from “the shelters, back alleys, soup kitchen lines and slum hotels where mainstream reporters rarely or never visit,” Street Spirit runs stories on economic inequality and the daily grind of human rights violations that poor people face. It also chronicles the movement that is dramatically working for human rights.
The streets where I lived were ruthless and frequently violent. I often suffered from hunger, and would go days without something to eat. There was violence almost every night — from shootings to robberies and rape. This caused me extreme fear. Every little noise, you wake up.
Whether you’re in prison in New York/ or a detention camp in the fields of Nebraska/ I am you/ Whether you’re sleeping on a square
of cardboard in Oakland/ or under a grid in Philadelphia/ I am you/ I am in every living pulsating cell/ that hungers for justice
However bad conditions are for the middle-class, they are far more acute for the poor, who are trapped in squalid circumstances far below middle-class standards of survival. The “help-the middle-class-first” option, which might accurately be termed “trickle-down lite,” will not help those at the bottom of our society.
The New Priorities Campaign protests military spending as a direct cause of increasing poverty and homelessness. National security needs to be defined by more than our missiles, ships, planes and drones. Our country has been turned into “fortress America” to protect the interests of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.
For hundreds of thousands of U.S. households, public housing, Section 8, and other HUD rental assistance programs are lifelines. These programs make the difference between having a home and being homeless. And yet, both Congress and the White House are now proposing significantly rent increases in these programs.
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.
Reading the book, Wisdom Under the Bridge, I re-learned that one can be saved by one’s guts, by the grace of God and pastoral helpers, by kindness, love, shelter in time of need and a good dinner — whatever it takes for a particular person and/or set of circumstances.