Imagine coming to visit friends in Berkeley and being tackled, torn from your family’s side, and forced to spend the night in a psychiatric ward without charge or explanation. Would you ever come back to visit? That’s what happened to Hila Sulme and her son one Sunday recently in Berkeley.
I want to thank you, Berkeley, for seeing through the B.S. surrounding Measure S. As City Councilman Jesse Arreguin said, Berkeley’s spirit is better than this law. And some said he was naive. But no, he was right, and the defeat of Measure S was one of Berkeley’s finest moments.
This is how a legacy is passed on to a new generation: Martin Luther King gave his life to spreading the message of nonviolence. After he was assassinated, Bernard Lafayette picked up the fallen torch, and passed it on to Kazu Haga and Jonathan Lewis. Now they are sharing this vision with the next generation.
The struggles of labor are over, lessons from the past are not important, and we’re all together in this crisis, right? Yet the middle class is sinking, the lower class remains stuck at the bottom, with 46.2 million people living in poverty, an historic high. And the one percent are off-shoring everything.
However bad conditions are for the middle-class, they are far more acute for the poor, who are trapped in squalid circumstances far below middle-class standards of survival. The “help-the middle-class-first” option, which might accurately be termed “trickle-down lite,” will not help those at the bottom of our society.
Ruby is still in shock over having to suddenly pack, sort out what she might store with a friend, and try to hang on in a world where most people dismiss you for having no address. Ruby is African-American, an older woman with severe disabilities. Can they do this in Berkeley?
In Berkeley, there is a strong movement among progressive activists to change the status quo in city politics. Progressive mayoral candidates are developing a new electoral strategy that utilizes Instant Runoff Voting, also known as Ranked Choice Voting, in an effort to influence the outcome of the mayoral race.
Two-thirds of the planet’s nations, and 17 U.S. states have already abandoned executions, but ours would be an abolition by the voters ourselves, not a governor or legislature. On November 6, California voters may make history, as we try with Proposition 34 to repeal our state’s death penalty.
The American Friends Service Committee finds this call by prisoners for a sweeping end to hostilities unprecedented. This is an opportunity that cannot be ignored. By their call, the prisoners are addressing the tensions between racial groups that have been used by the Department to justify long-term isolation.
Measure S is unjust and violates our spiritual call to seek justice. This harsh approach to dealing with the extreme difficulties people face during this painful economic period is ill-timed and cruel. As clergy and religious leaders, we could never condone this approach to “kicking someone when they are down.”
After protesters occupied a vacant bank building in Santa Cruz, the district attorney wildly over-reacted and began prosecuting media workers, community activists and caregivers whose work seems to be more reportorial than conspiratorial. This makes it appear that the Occupy Movement was the real target of the district attorney.
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?