Tag Archives: Terry Messman

Blood on the Tracks: Brian Willson Dances in Resistance to the Weapons of Mass Murder

On September 1, 2012, Brian Willson returned to the railroad tracks where a weapons train once ran him down in a nearly lethal assault, fractured his skull, cut off both his legs — and he began dancing. He was forced to dance on two prosthetic limbs— but amazingly, he was dancing.

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The Human Rights of the Poor Are Under Attack in Berkeley

It would be a monumental betrayal of human rights to stand by while a few affluent business organizations attack a vulnerable minority. Can it ever be right to see a brother or sister in need — hungry, ill-clad, destitute and homeless — and then unleash the police on them, merely for existing?

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Who Are These Children Dressed in Red? Nonviolent Resistance and the Cost of Conscience

Narayan Desai taught us about nonviolent resistance in Birmingham, a city notoriously known as “Bombingham” because so many churches and homes were bombed by the forces of racism. We saw the parallels between Gandhi’s embrace of the risks of prison and police attacks, and the courage of Birmingham’s civil rights activists.

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WRAP Occupies Abandoned Building in San Francisco

Housing activists entered the vacant, two-story building owned by the San Francisco Archdiocese. They planned to occupy it so it could serve as housing for homeless people. Occupy SF member Emma Gerould said, “There is no reason why any building should be vacant when people have no housing.”

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Discovering the Unexpected Power of Nonviolence: Street Spirit Interview with Erica Chenoweth

“We found that during the period of 1900 to 2006, nonviolent resistance campaigns are about twice as effective as violent ones in achieving their goals. We also found that these trends hold even where most people expect nonviolent resistance to be ineffective — for instance, against dictatorships and highly repressive regimes.” — Erica Chenoweth

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The Occupy Movement Stands at the Crossroads: Street Spirit Interview with George Lakey

“If we do stuff that justifies — in the eyes of the uncommitted — the repression of the state, we will certainly lose. And the uncommitted are most of the 99 percent. We need a lot more of those people. But the only way to win them over is through strict adherence to nonviolent struggle.” — George Lakey

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A Bell Tolls for Countless Deaths on Nameless Streets

The bell tolled for 91 individuals who died on the streets last year in San Francisco, and it tolled for the uncounted thousands of homeless deaths around the nation. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty reported that homeless Americans die, on average, 30 years earlier than those with housing.

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Occupy Oakland Shuts Down the Banks and the Port

Occupy Oakland galvanized thousands of people to march through the city and shut down its major banks. These determined activists then marched several miles to shut down the Port of Oakland, an amazing feat that showed this movement was so bold as to challenge the global reach of transnational corporations.

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Glimpses of the Spirit – Defending People’s Park and the Spirit of Peace and Justice

The Telegraph Business Improvement District wants to drive homeless people and meal programs out of People’s Park. Compassion for the poor was a foundational ideal of the peace movement that created the Park. Tearing out that legacy of compassion for the poor would tear the heart out of People’s Park.

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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.