cover image Each One Teach One: Up and Out of Poverty, Memoirs of a Street Activist

Each One Teach One: Up and Out of Poverty, Memoirs of a Street Activist

Ron Casanova, Ronald Casanova. Curbstone Press, $22.95 (250pp) ISBN 978-1-880684-37-5

Placed in an orphanage in New York City in 1948 at age three when his mother died, Casanova hardly knew his father, whom he describes as an alcoholic wife-beater. His youth, a succession of detention centers, prisons, shelters and mental hospitals, was marked by heroin addiction, alcoholism, gang membership and burglaries, and as a self-described ""Puerto Rican with a black background,"" he endured prejudice and racial beatings. Today, as vice-president of the National Union of the Homeless, Casanova campaigns for low-income housing and greater federal and local assistance to the homeless and to squatters. Despite testing HIV-positive from sharing needles, he remains optimistic and has served as an AIDS outreach counselor and a drug counselor for juvenile offenders. In this raw, gritty autobiography written with freelancer Blackburn, he sums up his radical grassroots philosophy: ""We, the homeless and formerly homeless, have to be the ones who run the shelters, the homes, the soup kitchens, the welfare... but this will be a struggle because there is no way the poverty pimps are going to give up the shelter system as it is now, and the welfare system as it is now."" Author tour. (Sept.)