Despite our campaign and collective offer to raise the funds, services and volunteers to balance neighborhood complaints and concerns with the basic needs of recyclers to earn a livelihood, Alliance Metals is now closed.
Radical and dissenting journalists were part of nearly every social-change movement and populist rebellion in U.S. history. In their day, they were hated by the powerful, and condemned as muckrakers, agitators and disturbers of the piece. Many are now remembered as exemplary models of journalism with a social conscience.
Oakland dehumanizes people by referring to “debris abatement and homeless abatement.” Abatement refers to trash or noise, not people. They are human beings, not debris, and must not be eliminated, or scrubbed away.
Last year, San Francisco spent more than $20 million policing so-called “quality of life” ordinances for more than 60,000 incidents, nearly all involving homeless people. The City’s Budget and Legislative Analyst concluded that the $20.6 million could be better used to provide housing for its homeless residents.
Workers are aging in the fields. Women especially start to worry after they pass 50. They depend on the fields, but the work is hard and as they get older, it gets harder. Crew leaders won’t hire older people for many jobs. They have to work, because there’s no alternative.
Market ideology undermines human rights for elders. Old people, children and the disabled are vulnerable in a profit-based economy that ignores the rights to housing, education and health care. Popular struggle is necessary to demand these needs be met. When movements weaken, the safety net is slashed.
Homelessness is a nationwide epidemic, yet Oakland officials are shutting down Alliance Recycling and cruelly depriving poor and homeless recyclers of their livelihood. They are criminalizing an entire class of people by outlawing their profession.
The entrepreneurship program began running outdoor sales three years ago by taking tote bags and other products designed by Youth Spirit Artworks to sell in front of the Berkeley Bowl. That turned out to be popular with the shoppers and provided needed income for the young people.
A vocal group of housed residents demanded that the City of Oakland shut down a recycling center. Their emails stated that “those people” walking down “their” streets are a nuisance, a torment with which with they could not live. They succeeded. As of August 2016, that recycling center will close forever.
To their great credit, it has been the homeless community itself that has continued to spend their Tuesday nights in front of City Hall regardless of weather and in the face of unabated harassment by law enforcement. July marks the One Year Anniversary of the Freedom Sleepers Sleepouts in Santa Cruz.
For Kayla Moore, a black, transgender woman struggling with mental illness, contact with the Berkeley police was a death sentence. Within minutes, this charismatic, adventurous woman was suddenly dead.