You never saw him on television or leading a march or a meeting, but Mikey Chapman did the quiet things that keep the movement running. A memorial tribute to one of the founding warriors of The Western Regional Avocacy Project.
In a terrible contradiction in U.S. poverty, the farm workers who spend their working lives producing the food consumed by millions in cities all over the country often don’t have enough to eat themselves. Hunger haunts agricultural workers in Hollister, in the very shadow of Silicon Valley’s unparalleled affluence.
After serving in Vietnam, Alex McElree found out the hard way how many military veterans wind up living on the streets. He began taking homeless veterans into his own house, and then founded the Oakland-based Operation Dignity to help veterans find housing and support services.
After Dorothy’s pet cats saved her from a fire that destroyed her apartment, the elderly woman paid to have her cats housed even as she was left destitute and homeless. Mia was so moved by Dorothy’s compassion, she gave her the same kindness Dorothy had given to her cats.
Does the U.S. government “support the troops” when it sends them into battle with inadequate equipment? Does the government “support the troops” when it turns its back on the casualties of war? Does it “support the troops” when it casts countless military veterans onto the streets?
If every Christian was raised to meditate on three words, “Jesus was homeless,” churches would be true places of refuge, shelter and sanctuary, open to everyone. When cities enact laws that criminalize poverty, the homeless become refugees who must be offered sanctuary and asylum from unjust laws.
Contrary to everything our society teaches, the Masters of War and the Wall Street bankers are in a rat race for last place. Instead, the meek will inherit the earth. As Bob Dylan warned, “The order is rapidly fading, and the first one now will later be last.”
Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination are suddenly legal, including job discrimination, housing discrimination, and denial of the right to vote.
When people’s health and well-being are based on a home, and a building is useable, a health care corporation leaving it empty is a savagely hypocritical act.. On April 11, 2011, resisters took over a vacant Kaiser Permanente building, and marked this predator medical corporation with a banner reading, “Kaiser Thrives, People Die.”
“Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I undertake to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist monk, peace activist, scholar, and poet