Freedom Voices, the Media Alliance Poverty Rights Journalism Committee, the American Friends Service Committee, Poor Magazine/Poor News Network, the Coalition on Homelessness, Street Sheet, the Western Regional Advocacy Project, and BOSS invite you to donate to a:


Emergency Benefit fund for

Street Spirit Editor Terry Messman
and Ellen Danchik

Terry Messman is the founding editor of Street Spirit Newspaper, one of the outstanding examples of street newspapers and progressive journalism in the country. Terry has dedicated over 20 years to organizing with homeless people in various ways, from occupying and winning housing for shelter to the brilliant advocacy journalism he has practiced in Street Spirit for over a decade. In addition to providing a free speech venue for poverty rights, peace and social justice views that are censored by the mainstream, the paper provides income for scores of homeless people who act as vendors earning honorable income selling papers on the street.


Ellen Danchik
is currently disabled as a result of a brain tumor and consequent surgery. She was the legal coordinator for Nuremberg Action Group in the late 1980s, and helped organize the legal defense for hundreds of protesters arrested for civil disobedience at the Concord Naval Weapons Station. For the past 14 years, Ellen has worked as a dedicated advocate for homeless people with disabilities in Contra Costa County, first as a patients rights advocate, then, for the past 8 years, as the Housing Coordinator for the County Mental Health Department, where she helped find housing and supportive services for many of the poorest and most disabled people in Contra Costa County.

Donations by check can be sent to Freedom Voices, P.O. Box 423115 San Francisco, CA, 94142

Additional information and credit card donations in response to the medical emergency posing an eviction threat to Terry Messman and his family can be read at http://freedomvoices.org/streetspirit


Art donations can be dropped off in advance at Doug Minkler's in Berkeley.

Email us for directions or more info:
benefit [AT] freedomvoices.org.
Feel free to forward the appeal letter to your friends and colleagues

Appeal Letter

I'm writing to bring some sad news and a request for help for our fellow journalist Terry Messman. As many of you know, Terry Messman is the founding editor of Street Spirit Newspaper, one of the outstanding examples of street newspapers and progressive journalism in the country. Terry has dedicated over 20 years to organizing with homeless people in various ways, from occupying and winning housing for shelter to the brilliant advocacy journalism he has practiced in Street Spirit for over a decade. In addition to providing a free speech venue for poverty rights, peace and social justice views that are censored by the mainstream, the paper provides income for scores of homeless people who act as vendors earning honorable income selling papers on the street. In one of capitalism's ugly ironies, Terry is now facing possible eviction and homelessness.

Terry was dealt a devastating blow this last February when his wife, and partner in activism for the past 17 years, Ellen Danchik was diagnosed with a massive brain tumor. While Terry and his family are fortunate to have health insurance through his employment with the American Friends Service Committee, the parent organization of Street Spirit, they are in no way able to replace Ellen's income. Ellen has undergone surgery to remove the orange sized tumor from her brain She has been diagnosed as having a Grade 2 brain tumor which will likely recur. She continues to suffer from severe head pain and she cannot work. Ellen, who has also worked for decades in social services was most recently a contract employee for Contra Costa County. Because she was a contractor, even though she worked full time for the county for 8 years, the system maintains she is ineligible even for California State Disability Insurance.

This unfair employment practice is all to prevalent among non-profits and government funded social service providers. Again, in one of our economic system's not so accidental ironies, those who work to help the victims of this system are given the same sort of respect as welfare recipients, prisoners, the disabled and the homeless, which is to say, not much at all.

The Messman family lived paycheck to paycheck, month to month. While Terry's family income has been slashed by this tragedy, each month, the landlord, PG&E, AT&T, the auto mechanic, and the grocery chains still demand to be paid. As a result Terry and his family are now $4000 behind in the rent, have lost their home phone, have a car in need of serious maintenance work and are facing possible eviction.

Terry and his family need our support so that they can survive this crisis and continue to serve the community of which they are a part.

Throughout this ordeal Terry has been present at Ellen's side and remained at home to care for Ellen and for their children. Unbelievably, he has continued to fulfill his commitment to the scores of homeless people who depend for survival on the sale of Street Spirit for their income. Working from home, he has managed to edit, design and layout the entire newspaper and continues to publish Street Spirit each month since the illness struck.

Our community cannot allow these mainstays in the fight against homelessness to lose their home nor can we afford to lose one of the few widely distributed, uncensored publications with vision and integrity.

In order to respond to this challenge, Freedom Voices, the publishing project of the non-profit Tenderloin Reflection and Education Center has started the Spirit of the Streets emergency medical relief fund for Terry Messman and Ellen Danchik.

If you can make a donation in support of this worthy cause please send a check to Freedom Voices P.O. Box 423115, San Francisco, CA 94142. To donate by credit card visit the paypal link we have set up to collect donations at http://freedomvoices.org/streetspirit.

The Spirit of the Streets emergency medical relief fund for Terry Messman and Ellen Danchik has received an initial matching fund donation of $500. We hope you can join us in this effort to quickly double this amount to $1000 and make a difference for a family and for our movement.


Thank you,

Ben Jesse Clarke


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Send checks to:
Freedom Voices
P.O. Box 423115
San Francisco
CA 94142
Read original appeal letter

View benefit program

Read thank you letter from Terry and Ellen

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