Black pastors stand with Rev. Yul Dorn on eve of MLK Day

 

Stand in solidarity with Pastor Dorn and the Black community; support the pastors’ press conference, Sunday, Jan. 17, 5 p.m., at Emmanuel Church of God in Christ, 1649 Hayes St., between Central and Lyon, parallel to Fell Street, San Francisco

Supporters of Pastor Dorn gathered Jan. 13 outside his house in Hunters Point succeeded in stopping his threatened eviction that day.
Supporters of Pastor Dorn gathered Jan. 13 outside his house in Hunters Point succeeded in stopping his threatened eviction that day.

by Grace Martinez and John Eller, ACCE

Pastor Yul Dorn has served as a San Francisco Sheriff’s chaplain for over 20 years. – Photo: Jackie Wright
Pastor Yul Dorn has served as a San Francisco Sheriff’s chaplain for over 20 years. – Photo: Jackie Wright

Pastor Yul Dorn has been a pillar of the Black community, serving as pastor of a church in the Fillmore, a grief counselor for the City of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health stopping retaliatory violence and counseling grieving families, and as a chaplain for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. Now speculator greed has resulted in his arrest and the further tearing apart of the foundations of San Francisco’s last remaining Black community.

During the Christmas holidays, Pastor Dorn and his family received an eviction notice from a real estate speculator named Quan He, who was intent on flipping their home of 20 years – buying it cheap in a forced sale and immediately putting it back on the market for a 50 percent profit once the family was removed.

The sale to Quan He came after Chase Bank mis-applied Pastor Dorn’s payment and bungled his case. Supporters have called for an investigation of possible fraud.

Throughout the holidays, Pastor Dorn and a growing community of supporters have tried to convince Quan He to delay the eviction so that he can be made whole and Mayor Lee’s office, which has been sitting on Pastor Dorn’s case for over a year, can bring Chase Bank and US Bank to the table to fix their mistake.

“The San Francisco Black community is fast dwindling to a population of only 3 percent because of our battles against predators like Wall Street banks and real estate speculators trying to take our homes,” declared Archbishop King of the St. John Coltrane Church. “Pastor Dorn symbolizes what is good and what is important to protect in our Black community.

Pastor Dorn’s supporters tried to reason with the speculator, Quan He, who bought the Dorns’ home after it was wrongly foreclosed by Chase Bank. – Photo: 48Hills
Pastor Dorn’s supporters tried to reason with the speculator, Quan He, who bought the Dorns’ home after it was wrongly foreclosed by Chase Bank. – Photo: 48Hills

“He has not only shouldered the responsibility of shepherding his congregation but his community as well. He has provided comfort to the families in crisis and helped lead the community to fight against injustices. He has stood with us – and none of us in the religious community can stand back while this family fights for their very existence in this city.”

Pastor Dorn “has stood with us – and none of us in the religious community can stand back while this family fights for their very existence in this city,” declared Archbishop King of the St. John Coltrane Church.

Several pastors and faith leaders including , and Archbishop King and elected officials including Board of Supervisors President London Breed have expressed support for Pastor Dorn and said they will attend the press conference.

Pastor Dorn, having seen several previous threats to drive him and his family from their home come and go, remained adamant on Jan. 13. – Photo: 48Hills
Pastor Dorn, having seen several previous threats to drive him and his family from their home come and go, remained adamant on Jan. 13. – Photo: 48Hills

On Wednesday, Jan. 13, nearly 50 protestors were able to turn back sheriff’s deputies from enforcing an eviction while also getting an initial agreement around terms to negotiate between Pastor Dorn, ACCE and Quan He that included more time for Pastor Dorn and the community to buy back the home and a commitment to make Quan He whole. Based on this verbal agreement, an initial proposal was sent to Quan He’s attorney with the request that the eviction be postponed until a legal binding agreement could be negotiated over the next week.

On Thursday, Jan. 14, repeated calls to Quan He and his attorney to honor the verbal agreement were ignored as sheriff’s deputies arrested Pastor Dorn and three supporters, and Pastor Dorn’s wife, daughter and her 8-month-old baby were put in the street.

Pastor Dorn was arrested the next day, Jan. 14. Now he has legal expenses on top of all the other problems faced by people targeted for foreclosure and eviction. – Photo: @SaveMidtown
Pastor Dorn was arrested the next day, Jan. 14. Now he has legal expenses on top of all the other problems faced by people targeted for foreclosure and eviction. – Photo: @SaveMidtown

Repeated calls Thursday and Friday morning to move forward with negotiations so that Pastor Dorn and family could be back in their home over Martin Luther King weekend were also ignored until, on Jan. 15, over 25 protestors took over the office of He’s attorney, Michael Hall, to demand a response. Quan He’s counteroffer broke Wednesday’s agreement and put forward an impossible demand of over 50 percent more in cash than He paid for the house and all the funding in hand within a week’s time.

Thanks to all who have come out in support of Pastor Dorn and his family. We are still continuing the fight to win back his home. All your support has helped push the campaign forward and also provided moral support for the family.

Helping the family

Right now, the family is staying at a hotel in South San Francisco. ACCE is putting together a GoFundMe account that will help with housing and legal expenses. The first priority is care for the family, but because of the arrests, support is also needed to meet legal expenses. Cash donations will be accepted at the press conference and will go directly to the family.

On eviction day, a sheriff’s deputy carries Pastor Dorn’s 8-month-old grandbaby out of his home. Like a little soldier, the baby didn’t cry. – Photo: Jackie Wright
On eviction day, a sheriff’s deputy carries Pastor Dorn’s 8-month-old grandbaby out of his home. Like a little soldier, the baby didn’t cry. – Photo: Jackie Wright

“All of their possessions are still back at the house on Las Villas Court (‘I didn’t even have time to grab a toothbrush,’ Dorn says), but the locks have been changed,” SF Weekly reported Jan. 15.

“The 58-year-old pastor … and social worker sounded like he was in a mild state of shock when reached by phone this morning. Although the house – Dorn’s home for 20 years – was sold on the open market six months ago, he’d remained confident that he would somehow find a way to stay,” according to SF Weekly.

Peaceful protestors go to speculator Quan He’s attorney’s office to call on him to honor their agreement to give Pastor Dorn more time to untangle the snafu caused by Chase Bank and keep his family in their home of 20 years. Supporter and community activist Hanson Lee holds a sign explaining their mission. – Photo: Grace Martinez
Peaceful protestors go to speculator Quan He’s attorney’s office to call on him to honor their agreement to give Pastor Dorn more time to untangle the snafu caused by Chase Bank and keep his family in their home of 20 years. Supporter and community activist Hanson Lee holds a sign explaining their mission. – Photo: Grace Martinez

As Pastor Dorn has said in the past, this isn’t just about him, but also the Black community, which he has served with devotion for decades and which is now rapidly disappearing. “He has fought for this community, provided families in crisis spiritual support,” says Archbishop King. “It’s time that we, the community, do the same for him.”

“He has fought for this community, provided families in crisis spiritual support,” says Archbishop King. “It’s time that we, the community, do the same for him.”

Pastor Dorn sits in the home he loves and shared with his wife, daughter and grandbaby until he was evicted the day before Dr. King’s birthday. With strong community support, his family and the many other Black families under pressure of foreclosure, eviction and unaffordable rents can stay in San Francisco. – Photo: Gabrielle Lurie
Pastor Dorn sits in the home he loves and shared with his wife, daughter and grandbaby until he was evicted the day before Dr. King’s birthday. With strong community support, his family and the many other Black families under pressure of foreclosure, eviction and unaffordable rents can stay in San Francisco. – Photo: Gabrielle Lurie

“A growing number of supporters of Pastor Dorn’s family have told us that Quan He has until Monday night, Jan. 18, to tell us that he’s letting Pastor Dorn and his family back into the home and tell us that he’ll sit down and negotiate,” said a spokesperson for supporters. “After that, the gloves come off. Please join us. They’re pretty big gloves.”

What you can do

Attend the news conference 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17.

Make a call to Quan He’s attorney, Andre Sanchez, at the law firm of Michael Hall, 415-512-9865 and politely ask him to negotiate with ACCE and Pastor Dorn.

Call Quan He at 408-832-3992 to accept the proposal on the table.

Grace Martinez, San Francisco lead organizer with ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment) and the Home Defenders League, can be reached at gmartinez@calorganize.org. To learn more, visit www.AcceAction.org and www.facebook.com/CalOrganize.