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San Francisco could face $32 million loss from African American tourism boycott

March 2, 2014

by Xochilt Jackson

San Francisco – San Francisco’s leading Black business organization has told the San Francisco Travel Association the boycott of San Francisco’s tourism and hospitality industry is not over. Fred Jordan, president of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, informed Joe D’Alessandro, president of San Francisco Travel, “The Chamber’s concerns and demands have not been addressed, and we want to make it clear that until they are, this boycott is not over.”

SF Historical Cultural & Society BHM Awards Caesar Churchwell AAACC 022314 by Lance Burton, PFC, web
“The San Francisco African American Chamber called the boycott and only the Chamber can call it off. We have a responsibility to our members and our community to ensure that they have access to the same opportunities as other businesses in San Francisco. Right now, that is simply not the case,” declares Dr. Caesar Churchwell, who is pictured here at the San Francisco Historical and Cultural Society Black History Month Awards Ceremony on Feb. 23 at the African American Arts and Culture Complex. – Photo: Lance Burton, Planet Fillmore Communications
San Francisco Travel sat down with the SF NAACP, members of the community, representatives of the mayor’s office and board members of the SFAACC to begin a dialogue on the lack of African American inclusion in San Francisco Travel’s promotions, board positions, staffing and outreach. San Francisco Travel set up committees to come up with recommendations by April 30. San Francisco Travel then decided to circumvent the Chamber, negotiate with other community organizations and issue a press release that the boycott issues were resolved.

“We want to make it crystal clear,” said Jordan, “the boycott is on. We will continue to fight for equity for our community and opportunities for African American businesses in San Francisco.”

Although the Chamber reluctantly supported the creation of San Francisco Travel’s ad hoc committees, Dr. Caesar Churchwell, senior vice president of the Chamber, stated. “There is really no need for any new committees or discussions. The City has been conducting meetings and studies for years. The problems and potential solutions were identified five years ago.”

Churchwell was referring to two reports issued by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission: “Report of the San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force on African American Out-Migration” published in 2009 and the “Comparative Review and Analysis of Equity and Diversity” released November 2011. Since 1993, the City has conducted numerous studies with recommendations on how to support the economic growth of the African American community and slow the out-migration of African Americans from San Francisco – an exodus unparalleled by any other major American city.

Among the recommendations of the 2011 report was the following: “Establish an African American economic development district in the city to serve as the center of a new tourism area that will attract tourists in the same way as a Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf or other locations central to the tourist economy.”

Phase One of the boycott, requesting African American meetings and conventions not to come to San Francisco, is in full swing and has garnered the support of at least 10 large associations with potential revenues of approximately $32 million, with more signing on each month.

Phase One of the boycott, requesting African American meetings and conventions not to come to San Francisco, is in full swing and has garnered the support of at least 10 large associations with potential revenues of approximately $32 million, with more signing on each month.

Although the second phase of the boycott has been postponed pending the outcome of negotiations with San Francisco Travel and the City, Phase Two – targeting educational associations – will be implemented on April 1, if no serious progress has been made.

“The San Francisco African American Chamber called the boycott and only the Chamber can call it off. We have a responsibility to our members and our community to ensure that they have access to the same opportunities as other businesses in San Francisco. Right now, that is simply not the case,” stated Churchwell.

San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce event group photo
In this photo of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce leadership, Senior Vice President Dr. Churchwell and President Fred Jordan are at the left in the front row.
The Chamber’s concerns regarding the lifestyle of African Americans in San Francisco go far beyond the tourism and hospitality industry. Over the past 30 years, the African American population in San Francisco has dropped from 14 percent to 3 percent, yet over 50 percent of the City jail is African American – a direct result of a lack of job opportunities.

Residents of Bayview Hunters Point have a life expectancy that is 14 years less than residents of Pacific Heights, and just 50 percent of our children are graduating from San Francisco high schools. The mayor’s office and the Board of Supervisors need to take action and pay more than lip service to these issues. When it comes to being progressive, talk is cheap.

Xochilt Jackson and the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce can be reached at info@sfaacc.com or 1006 Webster St., San Francisco, CA 94115, 415-749-6400.

 

18 thoughts on “San Francisco could face $32 million loss from African American tourism boycott

  1. John Mulligan

    "Over the past 30 years, the African American population in San Francisco has dropped from 14 percent to 3 percent, yet over 50 percent of the City jail is African American – a direct result of a lack of job opportunities.

    Residents of Bayview Hunters Point have a life expectancy that is 14 years less than residents of Pacific Heights, and just 50 percent of our children are graduating from San Francisco high schools."

    So stay in school.

    Reply
    1. Carol

      The response you share is part of the same ridiculous thinking here.
      You may have well said welcome to the white supremacy groups since the lock-out of any ethnic group, socio-economic wise is tantamount to racism, slavery and all deplorable past transgressions.

      Just think if whites were locked out? Can’t imagine it can you? So schools and other institutions that systematically are unfunded continue this pattern of injustice. So the only recourse is for AA groups around the US to show their disagreement.

      San Francisco once had a successful and thriving industry and the homes along Alamo Square were once black-owned. But just as Harlem in NY is gentrified so has San Francisco but the spoils and sharing clearly has benefited not all ethnic groups. The greed of those who have turned San Francisco to a No Equal Opportunity Locale has to have some repercussions that include business being shifted to Oakland and other cities that respect diversity more.

      The City Management has blood on its hands and it’s racist (because that’s what it is) future hangs in the balance.

      Reply
      1. Seamus

        I know there are lots of whites moving to Oakland because they can't afford San Francisco anymore, so I don't think there is a direct racial conspiracy at work. It looks like the property values are rising in SF & many renters are having trouble keeping up regardless of their race.

        It's just too expensive. If you can solve that…

        Reply
        1. Carol

          What every needs to understand is that the blacks are usually at the bottom rung. Poverty is the real game at work here and as long as someone has something to step on, there will be migration.

          Whites relocate for the reasons you mention but the real socio-economic reasons are most downtowns like Oakland are being incarcerated. I live in West Oakland and have for the past 6 years. There was gunfire here when I moved here and there still is. But now they move bec they can actually afford to buy an entire house in West Oakland for much less than they pay in high rent.

          So it’s a vicious cycle but the issue still doesn’t change. Blacks have been disenfranchised for longer than yuppies who are crying bec their rent is going up beyond what they can afford.

          Two entirely different issues

          Reply
          1. Seamus

            Well, there is section 8 housing for people, but you would have to alter the way real estate prices are determined in order to stop the flow of not-rich people from SF.

            This isn't disenfranchisement. That's different, e.g. Republican voter purge legislation in the red states.

            So, when black people are priced out, it's a shame, but when whites are priced out, they're just crying because their rent is going up.

            The Bay is awfully liberal. I think you'll find the crying yuppies (whites) are sympathetic toward poor peoples' troubles.

      2. John Mulligan

        I just can't agree Carol. Other ethnic groups were also locked out. Asians come to mind. However they kept their crime low, didn't shoot up the neighborhood, opened small businesses and kept their kids in school. Result: Asians bought up the Sunset district. If it were true that black neighborhoods were (1) welcoming to tourists having shops and restaurants, (2) safe and (3) parents were very active in their child's education, then things would be very different. This has nothing to do with racism, these are the personal choices of the members of the community. How about making good family choices? Not having kids before being married and having a stable job? How about helping kids with homework? How about meeting with teachers once a week? Not having kids from multiple absent fathers? Certainly its easier to raise kids and encourage them in school when there're two parents. These are all good choices that change economic situations and have nothing to do with racism. By the way, Hispanics are also doing better than black communities. Why?

        Look at this quote from the article: "Establish an African American economic development district in the city to serve as the center of a new tourism area that will attract tourists in the same way as a Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf or other locations central to the tourist economy." This is something black communities should have done THEMSELVES.

        Reply
        1. Kenny

          I hear all y’all! But Know one mention Black Wall Street! And how Blacks own And Managed one of the fastest economic cities in the U.s!smh and what did White America do to that city!? Ok then! Forgive but we don’t forget! Do don’t shit up and act like racist doesn’t play a part when it comes to African Americans! We had our own everything and to keep it real they took it the first time in Egypt! 2nd time in Oklahoma! Smh

          Reply
          1. John Mulligan

            Kenny, your writing is some of the laziest, sloppiest bullshit I have ever read. Try again, use English, and think before you type.

          2. John Mulligan

            Sorry Seamus, Kenny's comment was just too much to take seriously. I'll try harder next time.

        2. yurp

          they did. you ever been to the fillmore? it was the original market street. completely gentrified and wiped out in the late 60's with the urban renewal program that destroyed all the old victorian homes and businesses. and guess what? it happened in harlem, chicago and many other cities all across the US where there were booming african-american businesses and neighborhoods. look it up. you should mulligan your comment.

          Reply
  2. Mike Brown

    S.F.spends over 25 million on pharmaceuticals.The only Africanmerican pharmaceutical distributor in the california cannot get a order from Sanfrancisco city and county.

    Reply
  3. Honkey

    I hear the unrelenting sound of the violin in everything you and your group says. My grandmother would call this the “pauvre moi” (that’s French for poor me) syndrome. You and people that think like you are the worst enemies that black folks have. This is because you are problem oriented as opposed to being solution oriented… Here is what I understand your solution/business plan is based on: self-pity, non-accountability, denial, unrealistic, entitled and being lazy.
    Look at the numbers stated in the article above. You are unwilling to see things the way they are and make your own future not blaming everyone else in the world…
    I believe a lot of this thought process is career driven. If the self-pity, non-accountability, denial, unrealistic, entitled and being lazy are removed from the solution/business model being driven by The San Francisco African American Chamber, along with many other like organization, they would lose their jobs. How much money do the people running these organizations make on the backs of honest black folks who are looking for leadership?

    Reply
    1. yurp

      you got some good points honkey and you're right, there needs to be a plan. but you can't deny the long lasting effects of white supremacy on the economic condition of black folks. how old are you? if you're over 65 you were alive when african americans couldn't vote, meaning they had no political power at all. your grandfather or great grandfather was alive when slavery was around and african americans had no economic sovereignty in the south. red-lining existed until the late 60's and white flight continues to plague communities all across the country. building wealth for white people took GENERATIONS. why would it be any different for african-americans? gentrification isn't just an unfortunate coincidence or bad luck, it is part of an economic reality that is ties to the political and social power of capitalism which from the very beginning of this great country was based on whiteness. (remember the genocide?) so yes, we need a plan, but the plan isn't gonna be go to school and suck it up. it has to recognize the complex relationships between race and class, economics and politics. peace out honkey!

      Reply
      1. Bayview Resident

        Racism is, unfortunately, still alive and still an issue that plagues our society. However I cant fully agree that it has any correlation to what this article is about. Lets not forget that while Chinese were never slaves they were discriminated against in almost identical ways. They were ban from voting, segregated, and heavily taxes on wages.

        Amidst all of this they were able to fight tooth and nail to open and maintain successful businesses, educate their children, and gain political power without assistance from the city in a much worse time for civil rights. That is because they hold values that promote success and instilled these values for all future generations.

        I pose this question to you, if one group of disenfranchised minorities were able to rise above it in a much more hostile time period without assistance from the city, why cant another? Why is it the city's responsibility to make sure a specific group of children attend school instead of the parents? Why is it the city's responsibility to make sure a business thrives instead of the owner?

        You want success but instead of looking inside, you demand other peoples help. Real change needs to come from within, a cultural shift. Instead of spending money on 20 inch rims for your 78 Impala, spend that on getting an AA from community college. Instead of making fun of kids who do well in school, become those kids who do well in school. Stop glorifying athletes and artist in the black community giving kids unrealistic goals and lifestyles. People like Neil deGrasse Tyson should the positive role models, not Kanye West.

        Reply
      2. Bayview Resident

        I would also like to add that much of the gentrification issues are being attributed to white people but according to census data it isn't white people that are moving into BV/HP. So how is gentrification based on whiteness?

        Reply
  4. Honkey

    WHAT IS YOUR PLAN? More violin music? More excuses?
    Black people, fire these losers you are banking your future on and hire successful black business people to represent you and ask them- WHAT IS YOUR PLAN???

    Reply
  5. 111

    Does it all not start with the leadership? Until traditional Black organizations are willing and ready to complete a real self-examination, and or report card on those whom are bethroned the title of “leaders”, the lack of any real lasting change in the Black Community or inner-city will only continue on its current dismal path…

    Of the African American Chamber of Commerce leadership how many have led their “own” businesses, with say a capitalization of say $10M? How many have “owned” a business, of say at least 5 years with at least 10 or more employees? How many have received funding rounds of A, B, C, from investors for say $1M?

    I dare not assume. But if the leadership lacks the very real qualifications so needed in one of America’s and the globes most dynamic entrepreneurial and liberal cities like San Francisco, how can there ever be any “real” hope for any African American community?

    Reply

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