Juneteenth Kickoff Rally and the ongoing fight for justice for Black San Franciscans

Juneteenth is it a celebration? Or is it a continuous fight for our freedom? Are we really free? Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community, founded by Phelicia Jones, will be hosting a Juneteenth Kickoff Rally to be held on the front steps of San Francisco City Hall on June 17, 12-3 p.m.

by Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community

Juneteenth: Is it a celebration? Or is it a continuous fight for our freedom? Are we really free? Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community, founded by Phelicia Jones, will be hosting a Juneteenth Kickoff Rally to be held on the front steps of San Francisco City Hall on Thursday, June 17, 12-3 p.m.

“Black San Franciscans fare worse than any other ethnicity in the City and County of San Francisco. Why is this? The powers that be have been studying Black folks for decades – three reports in 55 years – and Black San Franciscans are worse off now than 55 years ago,” declared Jones.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement when enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, got word from Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger that they were finally freed. Stand with us on June 17 on the steps of City Hall as we continue to demand justice and equity for Black San Franciscans. 

DJ Dave will be in the house and entertainment will include spoken word artists and the Caribbean Queen of Dance and will conclude with a dance party in the streets. Speakers will be addressing eliminating disparities experienced by Black San Franciscans in the areas of housing, education, health, mass incarceration and policing injustice, employment and homelessness. 

San Francisco remains one of the worst cities nationally for anti-Black racist policing.

The ongoing inequities faced by Black San Franciscans are alarming and unacceptable. Black people in San Francisco represent around 40 percent of the total homeless population and more than 50 percent of all those incarcerated – whilst being under 6 percent of the total City population. 

Some San Francisco City and County workers have filed a discrimination complaint owing to Black workers experiencing hostile work environments, harassment and disproportionately high rates of terminations and corrective actions. And during the COVID crisis, Black San Franciscans were the hardest hit. In every quality-of-life aspect, Black San Franciscans suffer deep inequities relative to San Franciscans of other ethnicities.

According to SFPD, Black San Franciscans are more than 10 times as likely as white San Franciscans to be subject to use of force or arrested and more than four times as likely as Hispanic San Franciscans (race categories are SFPD’s own).

Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community has been steadfastly fighting for justice for Black San Franciscans since 2012. After the 2015 firing-squad-style execution of Mario Woods by San Francisco police, Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community has focused on policing inequities specifically, from then until the present. 

San Francisco remains one of the worst cities nationally for anti-Black racist policing. According to the latest reporting by the San Francisco Police Department, Black San Franciscans remain more than 10 times as likely to be arrested or subject to use of force as are white San Franciscans and more than four times as likely as Hispanic San Franciscans (Hispanic and other racial categories are SFPD’s). And all this despite the fact that the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has been under a reforms oversight process since 2016. 

Because of the longstanding failure by police to treat the San Francisco Black community equitably – for generations – Mayor London Breed and Board of Supervisors (BOS) President Shamann Walton have earmarked $120 million to be reallocated from the San Francisco Police and San Francisco Sheriff’s Department budgets toward the Black community. 

Phelicia Jones states: “With all due respect to Mayor Breed and President Walton, while this is a historic decision and something that has never been done before, it is truly not enough.” 

According to Supervisor Matt Haney, San Francisco received $1 billion in stimulus dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Phelicia Jones, under the direction of Human Rights Commission (HRC) Executive Director Dr. Sheryl Evans Davis, has been selected as the chair of the MegaBlack Budget Watchdog Group. 

Phelicia Jones, founder of Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community, stands in front of San Francisco City Hall with actor Jamie Foxx at the Kneeling for Justice gathering in honor of George Floyd in June 2020.

Jones is demanding that $100 million of the stimulus dollars be earmarked to the Black Community: $60 million as a baseline for the HRC to continue Mayor Breed’s and BOS President Walton’s Dreamkeeper Initiative and $40 million in support of eliminating disparities in the Black community, including funding for the elimination of educational gaps, job training programs, the elimination of fines and fees, reestablishment of the workforce and reduction of mass incarceration. 

“The MegaBlack Budget Watchdog Group is demanding accountability. We are asking that all 54 City and County departments be accountable to Black San Franciscans, who they have neglected for 55 years,” said MegaBlack Budget Watchdog Group Chair Phelicia Jones.

Now more than ever it is incumbent upon all of us to stand together at the Juneteenth rally on the front steps of City Hall to demand justice for Black San Franciscans. At Juneteenth, we celebrate generations of resilience and stand united to demand a just and equitable future.

Juneteenth: Is It a Celebration? Or Is It a Continuous Fight for our Freedom? Are We Really Free? June 17, 2021, 12-3 p.m., on the front steps of SF City Hall. Sponsors: Human Rights Commission, Collective Impact, Westside Community Mental Health, Officers for Justice, Mother Brown’s and Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community. If you would like to be a sponsor, contact mwjusticenow@gmail.com.

Contact Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods founder Phelicia Jones at mwjusticenow@gmail.com.