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On Tuesday, June 20, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pass legislation that will make San Francisco the first municipality to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. The law goes into effect April 1, 2018. The legislation, introduced by District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, argued that flavored tobacco is disproportionately marketed to vulnerable populations such as children and young adults, African-Americans and LGBTQ people.
While a graduate student in ethnic studies, Alicia Garza co-founded Black Lives Matter, an international organization that began in 2013 to fight violence and racism toward Black people. The organization began after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. It has since grown to an international network of more than 40 chapters across North America and the United Kingdom.
It’s Friday afternoon at the drop-in center known as Mother Brown’s on the corner of Jennings Street and Van Dyke Avenue. Despite the iron-gated door fronting the entrance, people drop in freely to check their mail, take a shower, do laundry or chill out in the reception area. For a nominal fee, Mother Brown’s rents out lockers. Gwendolyn Westbrook, the director of the United Council of Human Services – the official name of Mother Brown’s – as well as staff, describe the place as a community center. Client Johnny Scott likens Mother Brown’s to a family. “This here is a place where people get along,” he says.
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.
San Francisco has the highest employment disparity between Blacks and Whites in the country according to a February 2017 report from the Brookings Institution. The legend of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men who stole from the rich to give to the poor has more myth than truth to it. However, in San Francisco, the story of Mayor Hood Robin’ and his Merrie Men, who steal from the poor to give to the rich has more truth than myth.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has had its eye on the City College Southeast Campus for quite some time and has stressed that they will take into account the needs of the surrounding community, Bayview Hunters Point. However, it now appears that the SFPUC has not been open about what plans they have for the Southeast Campus.
Now, as the San Francisco Bay View newspaper’s 40th birthday year comes to a close, is the time to bring up to date the historical sketch of our paper that I began with Part 1 in the January paper. Piles of old papers rest on my desk, waiting to be read once again – a banquet of stories and pictures of our lives, our hopes, our goals. Let me let you taste the flavor of the freedom we continue to fight for in the age of Trump.
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.
When Chief William Scott had been on the job for just a few weeks, he came to the Joseph Lee Gym in Bayview Hunters Point for a townhall meeting with the community March 9. This first-ever community meeting with the new chief was presented by Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods. Chief Scott said his goal is to “reduce deaths at the hands of police” and asked to be held accountable. Will Chief Scott be a better chief for San Francisco than his predecessor? We don’t know. But we do know that we will, as Scott said, hold him accountable.
City agencies are banding together to conduct a final push for outreach targeting the City’s most vulnerable unemployed and underemployed residents. Under a program signed into law by Gov. Brown, individuals with suspended driver’s licenses can have them reinstated immediately and reduce debt associated with court orders. The program is an important opportunity for low-income San Franciscans to relieve debt and lift one of the most intractable barriers to employment.
When SF’s top officials gathered for the annual State of the City address on the morning of Jan. 17, 2014, instead of the elegant environs of City Hall, they descended on a construction site at the Hunters Point Shipyard. Despite the rosy picture painted by the mayor, some of the people working at the Shipyard were on their way to losing everything. The program meant to help small local construction companies benefit from the development was instead driving some against the wall. A survey of the Shipyard’s local contractors and a review of public documents reveal systemic issues with the local builders program.
Since long before the mainstream media was willing to acknowledge the reality of mass incarceration, systemic racism and economic inequality, the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper has been challenging the dominant narrative by amplifying the voices of people on the margins of society, particularly Black people, poor people and prisoners. Now, more than ever, independent media like the Bay View is in danger as the Trump administration has declared “war with the news media.” In order for the Bay View to continue speaking truth to the abusers of power, we need your financial contribution.
Sunday morning, Jan. 29, San Francisco Public Works began a Bay beautification initiative, painting the poles along the Third Street commercial corridor, from Evans to Jamestown avenues, with red, black and green stripes to celebrate the neighborhood’s African-American heritage. The project was spearheaded by District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, who issued a statement explaining the reasoning behind the painting.
The Concerned Network of Women partnered with the United Council of Human Services, governed by Gwendolyn Westbrook and Dr. Betty McGee, to issue hand warmers and hot chili to homeless people. On New Year’s Eve, we visited the homeless living under the Cesar Chavez Freeway exit. While under the freeway, we witnessed an eviction notice dated Dec. 29, 2016. Evicting the homeless serves little purpose, other than further implying that homeless people have no human and/or civil rights. Here is one solution: Bring services to the encampment, not locks and chains.
Community members and public officials gathered Saturday morning, Dec. 3, to celebrate the completion of a $6.9 million renovation of Bayview’s Hilltop Park, which neighbors the Westbrook public housing complex. The project, managed by Rec & Parks, was primarily funded by the statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act of 2008, which set aside $368 million to improve parks and recreation facilities in underserved communities throughout California.
A Mario Woods candlelight vigil in the Bayview commemorated his death a year ago at the hands of San Francisco police on Dec. 2, 2015. The community response made headlines all year. A group of community members supported by the Justice For Mario Woods Coalition and Mario’s mother, Gwen Woods, kicked off the ceremony at Martin Luther King Park in Bayview on Third Street between Armstrong and Carroll at 3:30 p.m.
Along with the many changes and new development that has come to Bayview Hunters Point, one in particular is extremely motivating. Bayview native Richard Washington, 44, is an inspiring entrepreneur who has set out to bring a little elegance and class back to the community. Once involved in a life of crime, he has decided to come back into his community and devote himself toward constructing a luxurious nail care salon for both the women and men of Bayview.
The Concerned Network of Women under the leadership of Dr. Betty McGee and the new president of the board, Regina Coleman, held its annual African American Breast Cancer Conference on Oct. 23, 2016. Recognition from Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi was presented with a letter of commendation denoting the dedication and spirit of volunteerism of the organization. The attendance was overwhelming again this year with 127 women.
Yolanda’s Construction Administration and Traffic Control, Inc., was given a proclamation honoring YCAT-C as “Small Business of the Year” at a special ceremony, Thursday, Oct. 27, at YCAT-C’s Bayview Hunters Point headquarters in San Francisco’s Industrial Park. Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, honored YCAT-C’s CEO Yolanda Jones with a special proclamation, in recognition of her achievements and commitment to hiring locally.
I’ve been following the U.S. presidential debates very closely. As a Black man who also happens to be a Muslim with a mother who was originally from the Middle East, I am intrigued by this term “extreme vetting,” which is frequently used by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Maybe extreme vetting needs to be applied to the internal threat posed from rogue police.