'Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out'

When someone is homeless or down and out, they become a target for abuse, partly because people believe that there will be no retribution or punishment, and perhaps because the individual is often too helpless to fight back. Bullying in society often is directed at people who have suffered misfortune.

When Hope Is Buried Deeply Under the Rubble

What if many people are buried deep under poverty? What if they cried but no one heard, and no one came to rescue them? Sometimes it feels like there is no way out, not enough money, not enough food, but plenty of despair, hurt, loneliness — and so little help.

Renewing the Struggle for Civil Rights

The planet is speaking and too few are listening. The poor are weeping and too few are concerned. The despised and rejected of men are incarcerated and deported. The Guantanamo gulag still exists. Drone warfare continues unabated. The economic devastation caused by the uber-rich is paid for by the struggling poor.

The Myth of Abundance Promoted by the Wealthy

It is a Republican-promulgated myth to say that anyone, if they try hard enough, can work their way up from poverty to become successful and prosperous. Yet, most people suffering from poverty do not have much chance at becoming a movie star, a best-selling author, or a business tycoon.

The Moral Beauty of Acts of Goodness and Justice

Wherever we find love, courage, sacrifice, generosity of spirit, resistance to injustice and a faith kept with others — ah, it is there that beauty appears, shining forth. Many “ordinary” people manage, perhaps in lesser ways than did Mandela, but not unlike him, to bring the Good into the world through their courage and devotion.

Philip Rosheger: The Miracle of Music Among Us

Philip Rosheger, one of the most distinguished classical players and composers of our time, was immersed in music and composition, but loved to talk about injustice and poverty. I hope those who read this will consider being generous with the next street musician you see in his honor. He would love that.

Why I Support Immigration Reform

It’s time to bring immigrant workers out of the shadows. It’s time to treat them like human beings and offer a path to citizenship. It’s time to take care of our laborers and their families, not throw them in jail and let their kids suffer and die.

A Moment of Grace on the Road to Equality

So much depends upon the conscience of people like Grace and Urvashi. I see these two women — one at the beginning of her life, the other having spent 30 years working for social justice — as moral examples to all of us. It is a privilege to witness their lonely stand for justice.

A Day in the Life of a Berkeley Street Musician

Do you remember voting to let an unelected group of wealthy property owners hire people to control our public spaces? Neither do I. Yet, the Block by Block program is expanding from coast to coast as a nonsensical response to poverty and the housing crisis. Public spaces should be for everyone.

The Obama Administration’s Escalating War on Freedom of the Press

The administration’s efforts to quash press freedom are in sync with its unrelenting persecution of whistleblowers. The purpose is to choke off the flow of crucial information to the public, making informed “consent of the governed” impossible while imposing massive surveillance and other violations of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments.