There is not nearly enough shelter to serve homeless youth in Berkeley. With such a dire shortage, is it fair to fine and arrest the exhausted and, unsurprisingly, sometimes dirty youth sitting on our sidewalks?
Many participants from Berkeley have helped to build YEAH!, tended it, fed the youth, and donated time, energy and money to the endeavor. They bring their warmth, their respect, and their desire to make a difference. The Lutheran Church of the Cross, which houses the shelter, has a commitment to making a difference for people who would otherwise live outside. YEAH! is their commitment.
They call them “public libraries” for a reason. In an increasingly corporatized world, public space is growing scarcer. Shopping centers have collaborated to form “business improvement districts” where “outsiders” are monitored and curtailed, often by private security forces.
Also, laws such as the sit-lie ordinance, approved by San Francisco voters in November, place further limits on where homeless people may assemble peaceably.
Instead of funding affordable homes, we are housing over 160,000 people in over-crowded prisons and jails. Instead of funding In-Home Support Services, we are building prison hospitals. Instead of building community colleges, we are building county jails.
“Last week, the U.S. told the United Nations that addressing homelessness here at home is a human rights obligation. Cutting vital housing programs gives the lie to those obligations — and damages our credibility as a leader in the world community.” — Maria Foscarinis, NLCHP executive director
But before Berkeley sends another potentially pointless anti-poor ordinance through the courts, it makes sense to institute a retail vacancy fee on landlords who keep storefront locations empty for years, refusing to acknowledge the recession’s effect on merchants, generally, and the effect of empty storefronts, specifically, on a struggling commercial area.
Every minute of every day, the U.S. government spends $2.1 million on the military. In 2012, the United States will allocate about 60 percent of its discretionary budget for military spending. This includes $553 billion as the base budget for the Pentagon.
Increasing numbers of Palestinians and thousands of Israelis see nonviolent action as an effective way to challenge the Israeli military occupation. This excellent book encourages all of us to get beyond the all-too-common division of the world between “us” and “them,” and the need to resort to war and killing as a way of solving problems and achieving security.
Marie was certain this would be the best holiday ever. After the two-year separation, she was back with her children and had found a job. The apartment was small and dark, but to Marie, it was filled with light.
by Maureen Hartmann
This year there have been
uprisings of the grassroots
against oppressive governments,
like Wisconsin, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia.
The protests are signs
of a growth in consciousness.
A maturation, like a small amount
of yeast in dough for a large loaf,
spreads throughout the Earth.
This year the grassroots implant,
even in many deaths,
seeds of hope and renewal.