Acts of Kindness: Markael’s List

Sunglasses—Ray Bans, please

Warm socks

Umbrellas

Hoodies and warm clothing

Hats

Any comfort and care items to make it homey and change the pace

A place to go to the bathroom (Porto-potties?)

Biohazard-disposal containers for women’s sanitary items

 

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Historical Repetitions: (Just Waiting to See What Will Be Considered Next) d

Charity begins at home. Sometimes Trump seems to be saying just that. Perhaps freedom from hunger is the freedom we all need. When our people are starving, roving the streets looking for shelter, chronically unemployed, then it is at last time for a movement. It’s what prompted the revolutions of the 19th century and it’s what drove the 1960s Civil Rights activism. We are no more impervious to ills of imposed poverty than to the desire to feed and shelter our families. The people have spoken, and beneath the rhetoric of hate, misogyny and bigotry, are the very real concerns of people who have witnessed a steady decline in resources, opportunities and wages, as well as the intangibles: loss of pride, purpose and dignity. Unlike the bulk of Trump’s electorate, I don’t draw the boundary along a color line. I see that in San Francisco, the disenfranchised, displaced and working poor are blacks, averaging salaries of $24,000 a year. These communities, long-time residents of this thriving metropolis, are in need of jobs, resources, supermarkets and hope. Maybe we will see change.

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What’s Happening Here?

 

That said, this is not the time to go to sleep. We need to remain watchful, vigilant and engaged. Trump’s policies need to provide for all of us, not just White Americans, who are feeling the pain that historically, only Native Americans, African Americans and Latino Americans and countless other minority groups have experienced. It’s the same pain. The pain is momentarily evenly distributed among those of the working class and working poor: groups, which are increasingly indistinguishable from one another. Let us look upon the lessons of history and see that we are our brother’s keeper. We’re in it together. Four years, or less: Who knows? But if we get more jobs, better paying jobs, I’m okay with prosperity. img_1896

In the meantime, let’s practice agape, friends. I’m talking about love. Kindness is contagious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Repetitions: (Considering the Things I’ve Not Seen But That Have Happened Before) c

 

There’s a lot of unhappiness even among the wealthy. It seems that money cannot buy everything, and what it can buy is not always available. Take, for an example, the numerous Google employees purported to be living in their cars. I’ve known about poor students doing it, and the community of full-time campers near my home, but they’re under employed. This is something different. Presumably, these Google homeless are the lucky ones; they can shower and eat at work and are probably not harassed by the police. Still, it’s hard to ignore that one of best-known tech companies on the planet has homeless employees. You gotta wonder about how the people who are chronically under-employed and have no regular income are surviving.

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Unemployed and Homeless, NYC

Sadly, this is not new. We are in a cycle, repeating a dismal fate. The Hoovervilles of the 1930s also had explosive mass migration and homelessness. But, we’ve forgotten them, or have failed to teach these lessons to our children. We think we are immune to history, even our own. Hoovervilles are created when wealth is consolidated in the hands of few. Will the government step in to correct the disparities? They can start with raising the minimum wage and taxing the wealthy. After all, people like Trump should pay their share. If not, only some of us pay of the price of inequality: it’s due every April 15th.

 

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Hooverville, USA

We could all use jobs. We all want healthcare. We all want a home to rest our bodies through the night and at the end of the day; preferably that home is dry, clean and heated with good, old-fashioned fossil fuels. The challenge to do so, for all of us, regardless of race, is tasked to our new president, a man promising to make this a great nation, again. This is a familiar moment from a historical standpoint: the mass migration of hundreds of thousands of people, looking for refuge, opportunity and peace is the same one that has driven previous generation to enact change, from the bottom up. We forget, that the people who rule our nation are the 1%, the most elite among us. We are the many.

 

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Hooverville, Seattle

Homelessness in the SF Bay Area

 

It makes me sad that as a society we are continually trying to criminalize poverty, while we create the very conditions that undermine the ability of people to sustain themselves with productive employment for meaningful wages. Until the time comes when we engage in a system of economic and financial stability for all, we will have to live with homelessness and other residual symptoms of capitalist over-consumption.

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Waterfront Home, Oakland, CA

Last month’s elections confirm that many San Franciscans don’t want to see homeless people on their streets. Unfortunately, we can’t vote our way out of this problem.

A Crash Course in Aikido: Living a Healthy, Memorable Life with Martial Arts

Most of us don’t start thinking about health and longevity until an unexpected death occurs. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for bad news to make changes. The challenge for most of us is to balance lifestyle, diet and family history with physical ability. A great way to take care of the externals is to join a martial-arts school. It’s easier than you think, and with rewards like new friends and mental and physical agility, Aikido may be perfect for you.

There are some unique benefits to joining a dojo like Aikido SF. Aikido is a good way to reclaim health and flexibility, replenishing stamina and energy for doing things with the people who matter. Training with a robust group of children, adolescents and adults at all levels of Aikido provides community and emotional connection. Plus, most people place a high value on staying independent in their advanced years, when it will really count. Maintaining physical and mental plasticity are important ways to promote long-term resilience.

While you may think it’s impossible to train in martial arts after a certain age, it’s really not the case with some non-competitive forms, such as Aikido. And apart from the benefits of increased physical prowess, evidence that intellectual capacity, social intelligence and positive personality traits are boosted by an athletic lifestyle is mounting. The martial-arts community emphasizes community work, civic engagement, respect, participation, health and meditation as part of the practice.

Opportunities to learn in a dojo vary greatly. An example is the annual Aikido SF Seminar, where I watched skilled teachers and students from SF Bay Area train for a half day. There’s a lot to be gained from the venerable tradition of observation, disciplining the mind to understand physical principles, then applying those skills later.

Need more incentive? There’s ample evidence correlating a lack of exercise and poor diet to increased incidences of early onset dementia like Alzheimer’s. That’s evidence I’m not willing to ignore. Most of us want to call our spouses, friends and grandchildren by name. When the consequences of a sedentary life means risking the loss of precious memories, the idea of Aikido training gets even sweeter. After all, a sharp mind is critical to longevity. And, Aikido’s non-competitive discipline is a great habit to cultivate.

With huge gains to garner, like optimal brain functioning and a smaller waistline, Aikido is a big winner. Add caring instructors and supportive peers, and it’s clear that anyone can learn to take better care of her body in a nurturing environment, where physical and mental training are important aspects of good health. Of course, you don’t need to study martial arts to improve your health A small commitment to walk just 15 minutes a day could turn the tide enough to impact the rest of your life. Do it for you. Do it for your family.

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