Tag Archives: Santa Cruz

On Homelessness and Human Rights in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz has enacted bans on sleeping in parks and in vehicles, bans on blankets, and bans on sitting, camping, sleeping, breathing, resting, dreaming and existing. Have the activists been noisy and “boisterous” in protesting the cruel attacks on poor people in their community? Thank God they have.

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Before the Deluge

Instead of focusing on solutions to the loss of homeless services in Santa Cruz, the council has decided instead to pave the pathway to criminalization. The council majority has no capacity to resist the Not In My Back Yard ravings of hostile people promoting greater fear of these roofless, powerless folks.

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Santa Cruz Mayor Questions Anti-Homeless Laws, Calls for Compassion

Bag.jpg Freedom Sleepers stage a protest with sleeping bags outside Santa Cruz City Hall. Alex Darocy photo

Where is a person who attended Santa Cruz High 15 years ago and who is now broke and troubled and living on the streets supposed to sleep tonight? What purpose is served when an unsheltered, impoverished person gets a citation for sleeping outside? Is that having any positive impact on homelessness?

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Activist Responds to Santa Cruz Mayor’s Open Letter on Homeless Issues

The mayor could ask the city manager and police chief to stop all citations of those sleeping, covering up with blankets, camping outside or “being in a park after closing.” He could publicly state he believes the public has the right to be at City Hall after dark in peaceful protest.

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Sleepouts in Defiance of Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban

The “Freedom Sleepers” of Santa Cruz want city parks opened at night so people without homes will have a place to go where they are not targeted by police.

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Support Grows for Freedom Sleepouts in Santa Cruz

“In our view, the situation in Santa Cruz is legally indistinguishable from the situation in Boise. We believe that the Freedom Sleepers are working effectively to bring attention to these important issues and to protect significant constitutional rights.” — Peter Gelblum, American Civil Liberties Union

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Santa Cruz Police Violate First Amendment Rights

The Freedom Sleepers are determined to rouse the conscience of the city against the Sleeping Ban. They plan to return to the park every week in increased numbers to press the community to support restoration of civil rights for homeless people. And they intend to force police to withdraw or arrest them.

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The Freedom Sleepers Demand Repeal of Camping Ban

“As a 1961 Freedom Rider, I served 39 days in the Mississippi penitentiary fighting discrimination. I and others will continue to resist discriminatory local ordinances which forbid individuals a place and opportunity to sleep. We call upon our City Council to find a way to alleviate homeless suffering.” — Rabbi Phil Posner

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New Campaign for Basic Dignity Launched in Santa Cruz

“It is bad enough that homeless people are criminalized in our community. Do we really have to humiliate them as well?” asked Housing NOW Santa Cruz founding member Linda Lemaster. “Let’s hope that now is the time for basic dignity, an idea whose time has surely come,” said Rabbi Phil Posner.

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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.