Celebrate Dr. Hannibal Williams for making a difference – keep his legacy alive

by Majeid Crawford

There have been many San Franciscan benefactors in the rich history of our fair City by the Bay: Terry Francois, Maya Angelou, Danny Glover and the honorable Willie Brown Jr., just to name a few. These luminaries made – and some are still making – wonderful contributions to the entire San Francisco community, Black as well as White, Latino and Asian. They spent and some are still spending their lives making a difference.

Another noteworthy contributor, who certainly made a considerable difference, is the late Dr. Hannibal A. Williams Sr. Through two community-based organizations, Western Addition Community Organization (WACO) and Western Addition Project Area Committee (WAPAC), Dr. Williams led an “all out” effort that halted and/or greatly modified the disenfranchisement practices of the Redevelopment Agency during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. As a result of his fiery leadership and his solidifying protest organizing with WACO and WAPAC, there are many churches, businesses and private citizens in the Western Addition today who owe the fact that they still own their property to Dr. Williams’ considerable efforts.

Liberation House, the first residential facility for treatment of drug and alcohol addiction that reached out to Afro-American men, is another example of its founder, Dr. Williams, making a difference. During its 30 years of operation, Liberation House was an extremely successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation program which successfully helped thousands of men from every walk of life attain their sobriety.

Due to funding cutbacks, Liberation House expanded its mission to provide clean and safe housing for people who have been adversely impacted by the financial challenges of renting in San Francisco. It is managed by River of Life Biblical Fellowship.

Liberation House is in serious need of repairs at a cost of $100,000. Therefore, River of Life Church is heading a fundraising campaign with a gala kickoff celebrating the 98th birthday of Liberation House founder Dr. Hannibal A. Williams Sr. on Tuesday, March 26, 7 p.m., at the Fillmore Heritage Center (formerly Yoshi’s), 1330 Fillmore St. The public is cordially invited to attend and help carry on Dr. Williams’ legacy of making a difference!

Majeid Crawford, born and raised in the Fillmore, has more than 25 years experience as a community developer, event producer and education consultant and as a development consultant for the San Francisco Unified School District. He has helped to bring more than a million dollars to the Fillmore community for economic development and revitalization. Majeid, who has produced or co-produced over 50 successful events reaching thousands of people, can be reached at majeidcrawford@gmail.com.