Inspired by Last Friday in Washington, D.C., where “Black Lives Matter” was painted in 35-foot-high yellow letters on a street leading to the White House, San Francisco now has its own “Black Lives Matter” street mural painted by over 100 Fillmore District residents and allies on Fulton Street between Webster and Octavia streets, in bright yellow block letters.
Raw sewage overflows since January 2017 at the San Francisco’s main 850 Bryant St. jail are making prisoners sick, according to a class action lawsuit asking for $150,000 or more in damages filed July 30 against the City and County of San Francisco, the Sheriff and other law enforcement personnel. The raw sewage spill was reported in the District Attorney’s Office in January 2017 but not in the jail.
On Feb. 14, 2017, I was shot with a rifle by a sniper named Jesse Enjaian, a white guy. I was a homeless man sleeping in my car. I had parked for the night on the street in front of his house on the 9500 block of Las Vegas Avenue near Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland. He shot out all four of my tires, all my windows, my dashboard got a bullet hole in it and my head was grazed by a bullet. I woke up to bullets flying, hit my horn, jumped out of my car and hollered for help.
Oakland’s gentrification was supposed to benefit all Oakland residents; instead, gentrification displaced many of Oakland’s most vulnerable citizens. Oakland’s gentrification may be failing because no one made plans for the displacement of the displaced people. So they live in homeless encampments visible throughout the city. Seeing these encampments, alongside the gentrifiers’ displays of privilege, highlights the inequality of Oakland’s gentrification.
April Spears, proprietor of comfort food eatery Auntie April’s, at 4618 Third St., is launching a new venture called Café Envy. The eatery will feature healthy fare and aims to foster community and create a model for young African-American entrepreneurs in the Bayview. For Spears, expanding her business has been in the works for some time. “African-American owned restaurants in the city of San Francisco are few and far in between.” she told Hoodline.
A liquor store in Bayview will soon become a school. Bayview-based nonprofit Urban Ed Academy intends to transform Sav-Mor Mart, located at 4500 Third St., into its new headquarters at the beginning of 2018. The idea for creating an educational facility at the corner of Third Street and La Salle Avenue started with Chris and Cynthia Fleming, who have owned the building since 1997.
About a year ago Bayview’s Hilltop Park received a renovation which covered a new lawn and upgraded the plaza, amphitheater and lighting surrounding the sundial. Earlier this year an artist who was born and raised in the neighborhood felt the need to add his own artistic touch to the park: local hero Malik Seneferu. The Hilltop Park sculpture, titled “Harbor’s Landing,” features a bird, its blue color reflecting the cobalt blue of the summer sky, emerging from the blue Bay.
When we last checked in with LaWanda Dickerson of U3Fit earlier this year, the fitness instructor and nutritionist was working with Bayview residents to help them get in shape and improve their health. Now, Dickerson has a new venture in the works: opening her own studio at 4646 Third St. in mid-September. The space was previously home to First Cup Coffee but has been empty since a 2015 fire. The U3Fit Meal Prep Fitness Studio will be part café, part fitness training facility.
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.
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.
San Francisco may no longer be one of the nation’s top-ranked cities for income disparity, but a study released last week by the Brookings Institution painted a stark picture of the job landscape for Black San Franciscans, as compared to the city as a whole. While San Francisco has the ninth-highest general employment rate in the country (79 percent), it also has the highest employment disparity between Blacks and whites in the country.
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.
In the wake of racial tension the United States is currently facing, renowned chef and author Tunde Wey has been making his way around the nation hosting a dinner series titled Blackness in America. On Tuesday night, he teamed up with Caleb Zigas of La Cocina, Fernay McPherson of Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, Reem Assil of Reem’s California and Birite Market to host a conversation about racial and social inequalities that African Americans residents face daily in their communities over dinner in the Bayview’s Southeast Community Center.
Sunday, Oct. 16, was the 48th anniversary of that indelible moment in 1968 when John Carlos and Tommie Smith put their heads down and fists up on the Olympic medal stand as the anthem played, their friend the Australian silver-medalist Peter Norman standing in solidarity with their protest. Forty-eight years later to the day, in Buffalo, New York, Colin Kaepernick made his first start of the 2016 season as his 49ers took on the Bills.
San Francisco is touted by conservative detractors and liberal boosters alike as the nation’s most progressive city. This is still true in many ways, even amidst towering symbols of gentrification. But, in particular, when it comes to holding police accountable for use of excessive force against communities of color, the City by the Bay is no different from the New Yorks, Chicagos, Baltimores or Fergusons of this country, where cops literally get away with murder. Think this is an exaggeration? Read on.
The featured front page story in the Feb. 18 San Francisco Chronicle begins, “The St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, a uniquely San Franciscan storefront ministry dedicated to the music and preachings of the soulful sax man, is facing eviction and may be gone as soon as Sunday’s sermon ends. Let your voice be heard by signing the petition in full support of the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church remaining in the West Bay Conference Center.”