by Nube Brown
Last month the SF Bay View reported cold, brown water at the Fillmore’s Plaza East housing due to a disingenuous last ditch attempt by the billion-dollar slumlord developer, McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS), to show they are addressing long overdue violations and much needed repairs. The slumlord gets an F for effort – and still City Hall allows them a pass.
We continue with Dennis Williams, owner of DC Williams Developers, community organizer and founder of #No Racism, No Hate. We are trying to build independence, autonomy, sustainability in Black communities so as not to rely on people that clearly do not have our best interests at heart. City bureaucrats, at all levels, are practicing white supremacist tactics by putting us off. And we’ve had enough!
“These stories gotta come out. In the Black communities, billions of dollars are being allocated for development in Sunnydale, Potrero Hill, Fillmore, yet no Black contractors have contracts! We’re supposed to be millionaires! We’re supposed to be popping out millionaires!” – Dennis Williams.
There are multiple layers of anti-Black, white supremacist tactics that our people are up against on the daily. And we as Black people have been conditioned to accept this treatment; we expect to use our precious time and meager resources to fight for rights, privileges and assistance readily given to all other communities and not to act in our own best interests, not to be pro-Black, a behavior all other communities are afforded – without having to explain.
At this moment, Dennis Williams of DC Williams Development Co., is qualified – no, overqualified! – to be awarded contracts or partnerships throughout the city, yet Mayor London Breed is poised once again to make sure the $350 million project goes to slumlord MBS. Note: McCormack Baron Salazar contracts with the San Francisco Housing Authority, an organization with a history of redlining and racist policies that promote segregation, discrimination and outright push-out of Black residents going back to the 1930s. No one in City Hall is ignorant of this fact. And yet, the out-of-state slumlord remains, assaulting the people of Plaza East with 90 violations racked up.
Otherwise there will be two more generations impoverished.
How many other Black developers, contractors, designers and community workers are being denied opportunities to improve their own conditions and build self-determined economic power in our communities?
Here’s a short list of Black contractors and companies being denied the opportunity to be models of economic success for their children and to build generational wealth to counter centuries and decades of trauma and stolen labor and talent:
JCCI Inc., general building contractor, 101 Santa Cruz Ave. Daly City, CA 94104, 650-731-4538
Kirkwood Plumbing, Kissu Kirkwood, 707-394-5054
Brikcolli Designs, general contractor, Bryan Brikcolli, 415-559-6150
Sterling Framers, specialty contractor, 415-515-2539, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
HVYW8 Trucking, Inc., Michael Gregory, 415-654-9538, African American Trucking Coalition
Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, 510-900-9922, 490 43rd Street #68, Oakland, CA 94609
Joe & Sons Inc., 323-834-9258, email@example.com
Mansfield & Mansfield Construction Clean-up Co., 415-756-7876 (C), 415-424-5774 (O)
Global Team Corporation, 415-822-0574, 2910 Griffith St, San Francisco, CA 94124
Hubbart Trucking, 415-747-2650, 1006 Bending Willow Way Pittsburg, CA 94565
Integrity First Plumbing, Inc., Claytis Norman, 415-724-1100 (C), 415-818-8062 (O)
Your Neighborhood Help, Founder, Farrell Johnson – We see and appreciate you, Mr. Johnson.
When Dennis Williams is standing in front of people in positions of power, he represents a Black father fighting to be a positive role model, not for only his children, but also for the community; he represents countless other talented, qualified people in the community, deserving of “favoritism,” although every time they pass him and other Black developers and contractors over, favoritism clearly lands somewhere; he represents untapped, unrecognized intelligent, talented Black people who deserve leaders committed to dismantling barriers to their inclusion of the development of the communities we live in.
Subjecting qualified, educated, Black developers and contractors to pre-qualification training and remedial programs is insulting, at best, and creates unnecessary barriers and lockouts at worst.
Everytime our public officials – and those who support their anti-Black actions – deny our ability to develop our own legacy businesses, they stifle a community.
Here’s an excerpt of an email to Dennis from one of his many hard-earned connections: “It was great to see you (virtually) on the MBC/Valley Water’s Contracting Opportunities Webinar. We will keep chipping away at the systemic racism we all face in public agencies. MBC is committed to making a difference. Pre-qualifications that make it impossible for qualified firms to get a foot in the door is a HUGE big issue. It is infuriating that firms like yours have faced these barriers for so long with no measurable improvement.” – Carol Been,
Project Manager, Minority Business Consortium, firstname.lastname@example.org, 831-239-1254 cell.
If City Build and YCD (Young Community Developers) want to make good on their training of returning community members and young people, then the City should, in fact, be fast tracking Black developers – and contractors – like Dennis, to secure these lucrative contracts so our youth, people returning from prison and other community members have a safe, secure environment to apply their newly acquired skills.
This is how Dennis described his daily grind with the City: “Battling corrupt political officials and systematic discriminatory policies in hopes of gaining contracts or partnerships as a real estate developer. Otherwise there will be two more generations impoverished.”
San Francisco is not immune to the City Council’s racist scandal taking place in Los Angeles or the housing development being built on Crenshaw and not one Black person being found on site (@slausongirl). I travel through San Francisco daily, and I want to be excited about the construction, improvements and development that I see, but I can’t. Because what I don’t see are Black people working on these jobs. If I do, there’s one – shoveling rocks while another non-Black looks on. Last to get hired, first to get fired, doing the most arduous, dirty and dangerous jobs. That’s white supremacy.
Everytime our public officials – and those who support their anti-Black actions – deny our ability to develop our own legacy businesses, they stifle a community. Mayor Willie Brown made sure of that when he systematically destroyed Liberty Builders, the successful contracting business owned and run by Dr. Willie Ratcliff, back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Need I say, there is a direct link between lack of employment and homelessness, “crime” and imprisonment?
Shamann Walton, District 10 supervisor, and Mayor London Breed – the person who sets the tone and feel of a city – are in positions to award contracts for these multi-billion dollar projects like those for the Port of San Francisco’s SF Giants Mission Rock project, but can even one Black contractor get in on it? No. But it would be yes if our “leaders” would step up and fight for our rightful reparations.
On Oct. 22, 2022, the City hosted the grand opening of the Southeast Community Center – a gorgeous building filled with stunning local art by our most esteemed, world-renowned artists; colorful and thoughtful displays honoring and acknowledging past powerful community leaders and more – this “gift” was built for us, not by us.
“Not one Black contractor on the job.” – Dennis Williams. Not one Black family assured their child will go to college, inherit a business, own a home, etc. These are generational wealth building opportunities being denied our Black community!
Stop locking us out! Hire Black developers!
The SF Bay View would like to make this correction to the article “Cold, brown water…” in the October 2022 paper: The sum of $2.7 million, not $3 million, was given to MBS; and it’s the “Affordable Housing Loan Committee, which does not receive oversight from the Board of Supervisors, but instead, all departments that report directly to Mayor London Breed are on that committee that ultimately approved the funds,” says Preston Kilgore, aide to Supervisor Dean Preston. OK, still, this happened on Supervisor Preston’s watch then, and the deplorable conditions persist today.
Nube Brown, Prisoner Human Rights editor, is a developing New Afrikan, abolitionist and Liberate the Caged Voices columnist. She hosts Prison Focus Radio on KPOO 89.5 San Francisco and KPOO.com every Thursday 11:00 to noon and also broadcasts Bay View TV Breaking News on Instagram @sfbayview Wed-Fri mornings from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Connect with her at email@example.com.