“Homelessness is a crime. It’s almost a war crime,” says guitarist Tom Morello, formerly of Rage Against the Machine and now rocking again with supergroup Prophets of Rage. Featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill and Public Enemy, the revolutionary band was formed in response to the 2016 presidential election cycle. Their performances are about taking power back from the system – and helping people experiencing homelessness. Street paper vendor and self-produced rapper Ronald Dudley (a.k.a. Pookanu) sat down with them just before the first show of their tour, which aims to Make America Rage Again.
Known as the ‘Inspector’, union representative Ulf Christiansen fights for the rights of sailors from all over the world in the port of Hamburg. With a seafaring background and a sense of fairness, negotiating with ‘dishonourable’ shipping companies is all in a day’s work. Hinz&Kunzt’s Ulrich Jonas spends a shift with the union rep as he ensures one crew is paid what they’re owed by their “crafty” employers.
“If you have energy, you should share it.” That’s the way former Danish national football captain Daniel Agger was raised. He’s now living out this philosophy through The Agger Foundation, which supports underprivileged children. Here, he meets Ken Andkjær Flindt, who never went far with his own football career, but who – in contrast to Agger – competed in a World Cup this summer in Scotland. Agger gives the Homeless World Cup star advice on dealing with knee injuries.
Aged just 49, Teresa Pocock was placed in a long-term care home that specialised in dementia and palliative care. Teresa has Down syndrome and struggled to assert her rights but after a battle with the authorities, she was released. She now lives with her sister, Franke James. In this article for Megaphone, Franke writes that Teresa has come a long way to become a poet and artist in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We also reprint one of Teresa’s poems.
Gay pride events are all about the boozing, half-naked dancing and corporate sponsors, right? Wrong. A new breed of smaller local celebrations is giving LGBT people the chance to break down barriers in towns across the north of England. This summer rainbow flags flew high here, away the commercialised celebrations in the UK’s big cities. “The core audience here is very different, a lot more diverse. We can do a lot of creative and cultural things here that bigger prides couldn’t get away with,” says Mike Stephens, co-founder and chair of Happy Valley Pride.
Reverend Andy J. Bales, CEO of Los Angeles’ Union Rescue Mission says Skid Row is “hell on earth.” His mission in Downtown Los Angeles is one of the largest private homeless shelters in the United States, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The shelter is home to up to 1,100 people from across the country on any given day. Spare Change News editor Adam Sennott spoke to some of the workers and residents of the mission, who share what it’s like to live among one of the largest populations of homeless people in the United States.
In 2009, the Chhetri family moved from a bamboo hut in the Nepalese refugee camp – where they’d spent the previous 16 years – to Portland, USA. From Black Friday to US-style toilets, the culture shock was very real. But one man’s dedication made all the difference for these Bhutanese refugees adapting to U.S. culture. Thanks to volunteer family mentor Steve Sieg the family felt welcomed – and are now living comfortably in Oregon.
In a milestone for German law, families of the victims of the 2012 textiles factory fire in Karachi, Pakistan have been granted legal aid to take action against the German company KiK. KiK have argued that they bear no legal responsibility for the actions of their subcontractor, but this will now be tested in court. Four families are demanding compensation of 30,000 euros each in the historic case.
Volunteers for Denver Voice have been pounding the sidewalks for the US street paper’s first street recruitment drive to attract new vendors. The organisation already signs up vendors at a local day shelter, but the new outreach project helped them connect to more people from harder to reach groups. “Street recruitment gives us the opportunity to speak with individuals who may not use day shelter services,” says programme director Linette Hidalgo.
Some bodo vendors are so well known on their sales beat that readers ask about them when they don’t turn up for a day or two. Leo is one such vendor. Bodo accompanied him to his regular pitch: the Rewe supermarket on Körner Hellweg, a street in the west of the German city of Dortmund.
Following a shockingly violent attack that left him in a coma for six months, Lee was no longer able to continue working as a welder. But he says he “couldn’t just sit around on my backside doing nothing” – so he started selling Big Issue North. Selling the magazine helps him pay the bills for his family, and means he knows just about everybody in his village.
Curbside Chronicle vendor Bennie felt that life was passing him by due to his problems with drugs. He spent some time in prison, which was “a different world”. Now he’s getting his life back on track. In the future he dreams of starting his own cleaning company.
Some 400 families live in Rajo camp in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. It is home for internally displaced people in the African nation, which has been gripped by famine and violence for much of the last 25 years. It was also the backdrop to Mohamed Noor and Huda Omar’s wedding. "Life is about who you marry, not the type of home you live in," said the bride. "I love him."
Many transgender people report being harassed, ridiculed or even assaulted in the doctor’s office. Society is gradually learning the basics of gender identity, but the medical profession has been slow to adapt, according to leaders in transgender medicine, transgender advocates and patients. Tanya Walker had lung cancer and was coughing up blood, but she says her emergency room doctor kept asking about her genitals. "It seemed like they weren't going to treat me unless I told them what genitals I had," she says.
Elephants in Africa are being killed by poachers for their tusks at the rate of one every 15 minutes, but Japan and South Africa are opposing a proposal to ban domestic trade in elephant ivory. Japan and South Africa say they are just as much for saving Africa’s elephants as everyone else but that the right way forward is through regulated and tightly controlled domestic trade, not a ban. Campaigners, meanwhile, are horrified. “This is atrocious,” said Mike Chase, founder of Elephants Without Borders and the principal investigator for the Great Elephant Census. “Six elephants were killed while they were deliberating over one sentence.”
Uganda has one of the highest birth rates in the world: the average Ugandan women will give birth to six babies during her lifetime. The Christa clinic in Jinja, Uganda offers free and low-cost family planning services. But women in the area are also at high risk of HIV infection, as it is not easy for them initiate condom use. By the time she is 21, a young woman in Uganda has a one in ten chance of being HIV positive.
Across the world massive amounts of food are wasted every year, much of it because people have bought into the idea of perfectly shaped fruit and vegetables. But in South Africa the Ugly Food is Beautiful campaign is raising awareness if the issue, albeit slowly. Professor Suzan Oelofse shares why it’s time for us all to rethink our groceries – and for companies to rethink waste.
Anna Kongs and her ambulance-turned-non-profit-bookmobile Mavis are on a mission to get books into the hands of some of Denver’s most disadvantaged citizens. With its “pay-as-you-feel” system, the bookmobile is popular in ‘book desert’ areas of the city. Buyers can pay as little as one dollar, or up to twenty dollars, depending on how much a book is worth to them.
The European Declaration of Internet Rights, passed in July 2015, defines access to the web as a "fundamental human right and a condition for its full individual and social development." Yet Verrua Savoia, a small town in northern Italy, is the victim of a digital divide affecting many areas of Italy. Large network providers claim the area is too small and to connect it via cable. But thanks to a trial by a local Polytechnic, and the participation of local residents, they are now getting online as a social business.
Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul tells The Big Issue that he’ll “jump ship” if Trump gets elected. “I’d go somewhere safe and bring my entire family with me,” he says. Paul also reveals his favourite piece of Breaking Bad memorabilia and talks about being at the forefront of the golden age of television.