“Moral Mondays” Preacher Barber, Forbes

Dr. James A Forbes, Jr of New York and Rev. Dr. William J Barber II of North Carolina, perhaps best known for his impassioned testimony against his state’s so-called “bathroom bill,” drew a crowd from  all races, genders, and walks of life to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Milwaukee Wednesday for the final stop of their Moral Revival tour.“The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values” is a national, multi-state tour to redefine morality in American politics. The tour includes over 20 stops.

The evening began with a call to action. The leader asked, “what do we want?” the congregation then replied, “moral revival!” That moment led to worship with songs to get the crowd warmed up and filled with motivation – motivation that would lead to wanting to make a change.

Following an impassioned singing of “I woke up with my mind stayed on freedom” — with plenty of clapping along — Barber started off saying that we will no longer hide our deepest moral values. “Forward together. Not one step back. Now get out to vote,” he said. (more…)

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Dark States – Heroin Town
full documentary | Huntington, West Virginia | Opioid Epidemic

Dark States – Heroin Town

 

The Dark States Heroin Town |  The opioid epidemic or opioid crisis is the rapid increase in the use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs in the United States and Canada in the 2010s. Opioids are a diverse class of moderately strong painkillers, including oxycodone (commonly sold under the trade names OxyContin and Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and a very strong painkiller, fentanyl, which is synthesized to resemble other opiates such as opium-derived morphine and heroin. The potency and availability of these substances, despite their high risk of addiction and overdose, have made them popular both as formal medical treatments and as recreational drugs. Due to their sedative effects on the part of the brain which regulates breathing, opioids in high doses present the potential for respiratory depression, and may cause respiratory failure and death. (more…)

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How To Make Expensive Cities <p>Affordable for Everyone Again
COMMUNITY | EDUCATION | EMPOWERMENT | HOUSING | SOCIAL JUSTICE | YOUTH

How To Make Expensive Cities

Affordable for Everyone Again

Recently, we wrote about a new report from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office that found that poorer neighborhoods that have added more market-rate housing in the Bay Area since 2000 have been less likely to experience displacement. The idea is counterintuitive but consistent with what many economists theorize: Build more housing, and the cost of it goes down. Restrict housing, and the cost of it rises. If you’re a struggling renter, you’re better off if there’s more housing for everyone.

Many readers responded by saying “of course! supply and demand!” as if we’d just uncovered the obvious. Many others responded “of course! supply and demand!” — by which they meant, facetiously, that market dynamics clearly don’t work this way in neighborhoods like the Mission in San Francisco, where poor residents feel pushed out by tech workers moving in.

This question — how do we make room in highly desirable cities for everyone — gets at a defining problem of our times. And even experts (economists, sociologists and land-use scholars) don’t agree on the best answer. So we asked several of them to hash out the debate further for us here: What happens to housing affordability when we build more housing that’s not subsidized? Do the laws of supply and demand really apply here?

More market-rate units won’t protect low-income renters

Alex Karner, assistant professor, Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning, and Chris Benner, professor, University of California, Santa Cruz Environmental Studies Department (more…)

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“The Fat Fish” in South Berkeley
COMMUNITY | EMPLOYMENT | FOOD

“The Fat Fish” in South Berkeley

Hyun Kang is an entrepreneur who has made Berkeley his home territory for his restaurant, the Fat Fish. Walk in and see what this entrepreneur has done for a small business in a small town. He serves the freshest fish and seafood. He has reviews on Yelp! and now, he has a new article to showcase his business.

The Fat Fish started out something different from it is today. At one time, about three years ago, Bong changed his menu, the name, and the way he did business. Now, his business is booming, thanks to the fish of the day and the hard work he puts in. There are three employees plus him and his wife. Whether you enjoy prawns, catfish, red snapper or oysters;  customers say “perfectly cooked”, OMG the coleslaw is incredible, crispy and southern seasoned.

Hyun Kang is the owner, the cook, as well as serving and hosting the people who visit. He has many opportunities to grow in the business for someone willing to work. There are many advancement opportunities for employees who work for Bong. Finding the right person to hire at The Fat Fish  who is willing to work hard, work long hours and train at small business wages is challenging.

Kang has a heartfelt appreciation for  Berkeley and when asked why, he answered “I love Berkeley. I love the history of South Berkeley, the community for Asian & African-Americans living and working side by side. And there is not much competition for the restaurant.” So much so that he could pay off his ten-year loan because of the ten years he has been in business.

He enjoys the area and uses local suppliers to supply most of his goods he uses. He would like to give back to the community but has no idea how to do so. If someone was to come to him with an idea, he would love to support ideas good for the community. (more…)

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“Tagged.”
New York Film Festival 2017 | Mural Inspiration | Pedro Pietre

“Tagged.”

Tagged,” which compellingly explores the history of a magnificent and mysterious mural on an East Village apartment building in New York. Source: Director, Videographer | Elaine del Valle  | Oct…

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Lava Mae <p>Taking Radical Hospitality To The Streets
Pop Up Care Villages Community | Empowerment | Homelessness | Wellness

Lava Mae

Taking Radical Hospitality To The Streets

Homelessness is overwhelming. To deal with it is to know that every person living on the streets has encountered some of the hardest challenges life can throw. People on the street no longer have the means to care for themselves on more than one level. It’s overwhelming to consider the magnitude of this very real problem and multiple aspects that must go into making any difference in the lives of the homeless. However, it’s not important to have the whole solution at one moment. Taking steps in the right direction is the only way to accomplish anything.

Lava Mae has taken an aspect of the homelessness crisis and developed a solution that empowers every individual. Those with mental illness, those coming out of violent homes, and those with drug addictions are not left out of Lava Mae’s radical hospitality. In 2013, Lava Mae outfitted city buses with showers and toilets and traveled through the Bay Area providing hygiene, an often forgotten service, to individuals living on the streets. Because of their people-first approach, seen in the personalized care and attention they give to everyone they serve, they operate under a policy of radical hospitality. They consider each customer a guest, and they continue to amplify their impact with their new pop up care villages. (more…)

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Former Foster Child <p>Devotes His Life to Helping Kids in Foster Care
COMMUNITY | WELLNESS | YOUTH

Former Foster Child

Devotes His Life to Helping Kids in Foster Care

When Rob Scheer opened his door in 2009 to meet his first-ever foster children, he did not expect to be reminded of an old, painful memory that would propel him into philanthropic action.But the jostled memory was so powerful that it eventually prompted Rob and his husband, Reece, to found a charity that has now helped more than 20,000 foster children.

The Scheers’ charity, Comfort Cases, provides foster children with backpacks filled with comforting supplies to carry with them as they traverse what insiders call “the system.” The hand-packed bags replace the standard-issue foster child suitcase: A plastic trash bag. That is what little Amaya and Makai, then ages 4 and 2, respectively, had with them when they arrived at the Scheers’ rural Maryland front door seven years ago. It also is what jostled Rob’s memory of a deeply painful experience.

“The doorbell rang,” says Rob, recalling the day a social worker arrived at his house with the two children. “There stood a little girl in braids, carrying a little boy. The girl didn’t smile. The boy was almost like a wet noodle. And they were carrying all their belongings in trash bags. ”The sight of the bags took Rob’s breath away.“We put our garbage in trash bags,” Rob tells PEOPLE. “We discard our trash. Why would you treat a child’s meager belongings like trash? A child whose life is crumbling around them? What a horrible thing to do to a child.”Rob should know. He went through the experience himself. (more…)

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Homeless-One Stitch Closer
COMMUNITY | EMPLOYMENT | EMPOWERMENT | HOMELESSNESS

Homeless-One Stitch Closer

The City of Berkeley estimates that nearly 1200 people are living on the streets, but that number only covers those that have been reported (BerkeleySide). That number is too low to adequately cover the amount of individuals moving through homelessness in Berkeley. The homeless community is large and they are up against the same problem: a lack of affordable housing. However, the fact that they are united by this one issue does not mean that each individual does not have different goals and different priorities. With this in mind, it is important to consider the wants of the community when offering up solutions.

One thing that homeless individuals do have in common is the basic reality that they need a way to keep warm at night, but they are responsible for carrying everything they own. The product created by The Empowerment Plan, based in Detroit, started with this idea, and grew into a sustainable business working to break the cycle of homelessness. Veronika Scott created a product designed to alleviate the challenges of mobility and staying warm with her EMPWR coat. The coat can be worn to keep warm, but it also transforms into a sleeping bag and an over-the-shoulder bag. This functional design efficiently addresses the day-to-day needs of a homeless individual. (more…)

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Gangs In Berkeley Ca.
COMMUNITY | CRIME AND SAFETY | YOUTH

Gangs In Berkeley Ca.

This week, for the first time ever, Berkeley police officers were given carte blanche to speak without filters at a public meeting about gang activity in town and what can be done to help those who are drawn to it. Monday night, BPD gang experts Sgt. Patty Delaluna and Officer Matt McGee offered insight into the main gangs in Berkeley, the history of local gangs, dynamics that have sparked recent violence, and more. The meeting was organized by the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee (BSNC), which has monthly sessions at BPD on public safety subjects such as shootings in Berkeley, drinking at Cal, youth violence and more.

About 20 local residents attended the meeting, and pledged to take information back to their neighborhoods after officers answered questions about the topic at hand. Councilwoman Cheryl Davila, who showed up late, remarked that nearly no one in the room had come to her violence prevention meeting a few days earlier, and said that’s where the community’s efforts should be.

“It just kind of saddens me to hear this kind of talk because, in a way, it sounds racist, discriminatory,” she said. “I’m just speaking the truth right now, from what I just heard.” Her comments echoed disagreements that have cropped up repeatedly in online forums like Nextdoor, where residents worried about crime have clashed with those who say such discussions inflame racial tensions and promote stereotypes and profiling.

Others in the room Monday said their hope is to find ways to curtail criminal behavior, not demonize a particular demographic group. Some residents spoke about city programs and summer jobs available to youth, and said they want to increase them. Officers emphasized efforts they have made to build relationships and connect at-risk youth and their families to resources — which Berkeley does have — and said the success stories have stuck with them over the years. The failures have made an impact, too. (more…)

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