In the “new” Oakland, we see “cool” new nightclubs across the street from encampments. The hip new people hang out in front of the club and stand in line to get inside. The “hip” people seem not to care about the homeless people facing them — and whom they helped displace.
Aiming pepper spray at a crowd exposes people to a chemical implicated in at least 25 deaths in California alone. Pepper spray causes temporary blindness and panic in a crowd. Pepper spray is by nature indiscriminate. No police officer can tell who has cardiac or pulmonary issues.
Jesus lived in poverty. Yet, his name has outlived the names of millions of wealthy people who were buried long ago and forgotten. The Buddha left his mansion and his kingdom to live in poverty, because he needed the answer as to why suffering exists.
By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.
The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.
"What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing."
This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.