Tag Archives: Slider

The Mississippi Delta: Birthplace of the Blues – “This Is Where the Soul of Man Never Dies.”

This is a story about how poverty, segregation and racial discrimination harm human beings. This is also a story about how beauty flowers from the fields of brutality. This is a story of the blues. “This is where the soul of man never dies,” as Sam Phillips said about Howlin’ Wolf.

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Songs of Social Justice

“It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.” Sam Cooke saw that change coming, and sang it, and wrote it down in indelible words for all of us to see. Nothing can ever erase his voice now. Nothing can stop that change from coming.

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The Flower Girl

Dostoyevsky’s Prince Myshkin believed/ “Beauty will save the world.”/ By taking beauty to the shelter,/your flowers saved one part of it./ You smile in the spirit of Don Quixote:/ Free flowers for the poor/ could subvert the whole economy,/ beauty could ruin the banking system,/ kindness could wreck capitalism.

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The Shelter of Love

What about street dogs,/ the soft undersides of paws/ laid at night/ upon face or arm/ warding off cold & harm./ Dogs with hungry sorrowful/ eyes will gaze into our own./ If we have zero food/ to offer, not even a bone,/ a dog still claims us,/ downtrodden as we are,/ as his home.

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The Comfortable and the Cold

We still have the highest/ percentage of homeless/ people per population/of any city in the nation/ It’s 2013 and still / the drained and pained/ unhoused battalions/ of brokenhearted shopping cart/ soldiers come and go

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BLOCK BY BLOCK: A BID by Merchants to Seize the Public Commons and Erode the Rights of the Poor

Business organizations in Berkeley have adopted the Block by Block approach to erode the human rights of the poor. The Measure S initiative was the most expensive campaign in Berkeley’s history. It was funded almost entirely by large property-holding companies which play an influential role in the Downtown Berkeley Association.

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Occupy the Auctions vs. the Foreclosure Vultures

Foreclosed homes in San Francisco are particularly appealing to buyers, especially since they can snap them up reasonably cheaply. Occupy the Auctions champions affected families by declaring a halt on home evictions and auctions and instead insisting the banks come up with a fair, affordable arrangement for financially strained families.

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Doug Minkler: An Artist on the Side of the People

Berkeley artist Doug Minkler approaches his work with a passionate commitment to social change. He wields the artist’s brush like a hammer with which to reshape an unjust society. His poster art battle corporate polluters, predatory banks, nuclear weapons laboratories, brutal police, union-busting businesses and “the masters of war.”

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Berkeley Chooses Compassion: Measure S Rejected by Voters

The victory over Measure S is the first time since 1994 that a ballot measure to criminalize homeless people has been defeated anywhere in the nation. This victory is even more remarkable considering that Berkeley’s powerful business organizations vastly outspent the financially strapped homeless organizations that opposed the initiative.

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Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.