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Decades ago, when cattle were driven north on Third Street to the area west of what is now Bayview Plaza, that neighborhood was called Butchertown. Like bygone Butchertown, the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood leads the city in ethnic and economic diversity. With Bayview’s small businesses, industries and its dedication to feeding the city, the spirit of Butchertown lives on. Today, a community group of local businesses calls itself the Merchants of Butchertown (MOB).
The most elegant event we’ve ever attended was the San Francisco Housing Development Corp.’s 30th Anniversary Gala at the wondrous California Academy of Sciences – yes, guests could see the exhibits! – on Friday, May 11. We, Dr. Willlie and Mary Ratcliff, were invited to accept the Power of Words award, and we were thrilled to be presented it by SFHDC Board Member Dorris Vincent, an old friend and a pillar of the Bayview Hunters Point community. These are her remarks:
The Bayview, which was once 70 percent Black, has been increasingly fighting a high rate of foreclosures that is resulting in yet another form of gentrification. Wells Fargo Bank has been responsible for many of the foreclosures in the community. Help your neighbors by joining the Stop the Wells Fargo 27 Holiday Foreclosure and Evictions campaign.
The San Francisco Bay View newspaper and LaHitz Sports are starting a “Great Kids in the Bay View” writing contest. Each contestant will write about his or her favorite 49er (offensive and defensive players) to win tickets to a game and get their photo in the paper with the players.
DeBray “Fly Benzo” Carpenter, Kilo G and Claude Carpenter – along with the rest of the Black Star Coalition and unemployed Bayview residents – marched to the job site, bringing the contractor’s work to a screeching halt by standing unmoved in front of the heavy construction equipment. “We don’t work, nobody works,” declared DeBray. Support this young leader, Fly Benzo, who is facing four years in prison for copwatching. He refuses to stop fighting for justice for Kenneth Harding, the 19-year-old murdered by SFPD last July. Pack the courtroom Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1:30 p.m., Dept. 27 at 850 Bryant, and for the days to follow.