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On May 9, 2018, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon’s White Collar Crime Division issued a letter to the San Francisco Ethics Commission referring allegations of “willful misconduct” violations of the Sunshine Ordinance under San Francisco Administrative Code section 67.34 by management of the San Francisco Arts Commission. Twenty-four hours after receipt and distribution of the District Attorney’s letter, the decade’s old signage marking the “Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theater” was vandalized and quickly removed.
“My entire family enthusiastically applauds, supports and genuinely appreciates the Bayview Hunters Point community’s powerful expressions of appreciation for our mother, Ruth Williams’, hard fought struggles to insure that the neediest of the needy have access to that building, the Ruth Williams Memorial Theater Bayview Opera House, at a very nominal charge,” writes Kevin Williams. “All of my family has pledged, along with dozens of other families rooted deepest in BVHP, to simultaneously rise up in protest against Black culture being hijacked by local government controls.“
On Oct. 20, 2017, The Labor Compliance Managers, pictured here with participating trainees who helped facilitate the event, worked in partnership with HUD to coordinate an educational forum hosted at the SFPUC’s Contractors Assistance Center. Because of people like Dr. Espanola Jackson, today San Francisco has a local hire mandate that was approved in December of 2010, as well as other City policies that strive to bring equity and inclusion to under-represented communities throughout San Francisco, including Bayview Hunters Point.
Mary L. Booker, a longtime associate of Bayview Opera House and civil rights advocate, passed away at Coming Home Hospice in San Francisco on May 11 of leukemia. She was 85. Booker moved to San Francisco in 1955. Five years later, she started Infinity Productions at Bayview Opera House, where she offered free acting workshops, in addition to writing and directing several productions. A strong advocate for social justice, Booker used the theatrical arts to promote African-American culture and bring together community members from different generations.
It’s 2016, 40 years since Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview, now renamed the San Francisco Bay View, in 1976. Inspired by Malcolm X, he wanted to bring a newspaper like Muhammad Speaks to Bayview Hunters Point. He’ll tell the story of those early years, and I’ll pick it up now at the point when my wife Mary and I took over in 1992. Watching our first paper roll through the huge two-story tall lumbering old press at Tom Berkley’s Post Newspaper Building on Feb. 3, 1992, was a feel-like-flying thrill we’ll never forget.
The hub of Hunters Point at Third and Oakdale was buzzing with traffic and throngs of people as they assembled outside of the Bayview Opera House. The Moon Candy soul band was on the stage as people began to sit in the new seats in the outside auditorium. The Opera House had been closed for remodeling for four years. Finally, on July 20, the new Opera House was unveiled to the public.
Providence Baptist Church was packed for the second homegoing service for Dr. Espanola Jackson, a legendary icon to the people of Bayview Hunters Point and citywide. Her family and friends and city and state officials who have felt her pressure to do the right thing came to honor her so as to make sure, despite her transition, that justice prevails like a mighty stream – pure, powerful and calm.
Mama “E” was a well-loved woman who changed California, San Francisco and Bayview Hunters Point forever. With Bible scriptures, fearlessness, faith and divine love planted in her huge heart, chosen and powerfully guided from above, she set out to make changes, for justice and equality. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Grace Tabernacle Community Church, 1121 Oakdale Ave., and a homegoing service on Friday, Feb. 5, 12 noon, at Providence Baptist Church, 1601 McKinnon, off Third Street, both in Hunters Point, San Francisco.