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.”
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?
Many Berkeley citizens have come out against this egregious attack on the civil rights of homeless people. Berkeley City Councilmembers Kriss Worthington, Max Anderson and Jesse Arreguin have shown us that not all members of the council have been corrupted by the baleful lure of big-time developers and their filthy lucre.
The cruelty and medical neglect suffered by poor and homeless people who are incarcerated for being mentally ill is a national disgrace. It is unacceptable that the prison system has displaced the mental health system as the main institution for dealing with poor people with psychiatric disabilities.
The UN Rapporteur’s report is the latest in a series of condemnations by international experts of the criminalization and mistreatment of homeless persons in the United States. A growing record of both domestic and international law states that homeless persons cannot be criminalized for basic life-sustaining acts.
Join social justice groups for a protest tour of the S.F. Financial District. March in the Great American TARP Tour, August 5 at 4 p.m., Union Square, San Francisco. Big Finance has swindled hundreds of billions of dollars by begging for an unconscionable bail-out via the Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP.