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The rubber sides of the boat were like arms – thick, round, hard. “These are the boats refugees have to travel in. Men sit on the side, the women, children and elders in the middle, sometimes getting splashed and sick with the leaking gasoline from the engine because they are covering miles of ocean to go from one country to another.” The tour guide from Médecins Sans Frontières, known in English as Doctors Without Borders, was narrating the “Forced From Home” traveling exhibit of removal, imperialist wars and NGO and government abuse of indigenous bodies across the Global South.
The fight to save City College is taking place on two levels. We’re winning one but losing the other. Many elected and appointed city and state leaders have taken action to preserve City College as an accredited, accessible, community-friendly institution that serves all of San Francisco. But on another level, the fight to save City College has taken a terrible toll. Enrollment has dropped from 100,000 students in 2008 to 65,000 this year. The fight to save City College is also the fight to save San Francisco as a truly diverse city, not just a gentrified and overwhelmingly white enclave.
Calls have flooded the POOR Magazine office from families and elders in desperate search for help and support to battle land thieves that utilize the Ellis Act to break laws that are in place to “protect the people” but that are overlooked or flat out ignored. As the hipster-techies invade the once family-oriented “City by the Bay,” the families and elders who contributed to the life of the Bay Area now watch helplessly as our homes are being stolen from us.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, citing California Penal Code Section 368, we, the evicted, gentrified, policed, elderly and disabled, walked into the Hall of Justice in San Francisco to bring criminal charges of elder abuse against landlords for the perpetration of the crime of Ellis Act evictions against frail, elder, disabled and traumatized residents of San Francisco.
“People are evading their fares. We are only here because the mayor wants to cut down on all the crime,” Officer Carrasco barked at me, while issuing a citation for alleged fare evasion to a young African-descendent student on his way to school. This young brother was one of over 25 people caught in a “sweep” – read invasion – of a Muni bus, who were pulled off the bus so citations could be issued.