The Right to Rest Campaign is defending the human rights of homeless people by supporting legislation in California, Colorado and Oregon to decriminalize homelessness. These Bills would protect the rights of homeless people to move freely, rest, eat, and perform religious observations in public space as well as protect their right to occupy a legally parked motor vehicle.
This month, Street Spirit turns twenty-one years old. To celebrate, we are launching our new podcast series with an interview with co-founder Terry Messman about the history of Street Spirit’s advocacy journalism. We also reprint an article about Street Spirit by Lily Kley, originally published FoundSF a project of Shaping San Francisco.
The blood-soaked pillow/ of a homeless man who used/ concrete streets for his bed/ died in the night./ I didn’t know you my Precious Friend,/ but I’ll carry on the flame/ in honor of your life./ You did not live in vain./ May I carve the name/ of this unknown Poet/ in the Book of Life.
“I’ve always resented the smug statements of politicians, media commentators, corporate executives who talked of how, in America, if you worked hard you would become rich. The meaning of that was if you were poor it was because you hadn’t worked hard enough. I knew this was a lie…”
If you’re homeless, blind with fear and sick down to your soles, broken down and so alone you want to crawl out of your skin and be someone else, somewhere else, look my way and know: I’m that voice that flows from your heart that says you’re stronger and more than you know.
Martin Luther King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” If people know their history, King’s Poor People’s March, completed after his death, has not resulted in a society where all citizens matter, especially black men, the majority of men seen on Oakland streets.
This is a call to conscience for the entire community to support the progressive decriminalization of homelessness in Santa Cruz. Our proposed amendment in support of the Right to Sleep removes references to the act of sleeping and the use of blankets in the camping section of the Municipal Code.
“Richmond’s rents, like rents all across the Bay Area, are rising sky high, causing much hardship and displacement. It’s very important to slow down this tide of rising rents. We don’t want outrageously high rent increases to continue, such that more and more struggling renters are forced out of our city.”
The Chronicle has temporarily won its media war on homeless people by portraying the mayor and the city government as the underdog, while poor people suffering the effects of the housing crisis are portrayed as stubbornly unwilling to be part of the one percent’s good fortune.
Many are interested in tiny houses for the homeless community. “I hope it’s the beginning of an upswell of community support to get this tiny homes program under way in Berkeley. It seems that there is a possibility we can do that.”