Building after building, block after block from the Bayview to Baltimore and from Sunnydale to East Oakland, the last vestige of so-called public – that is, government owned – housing in the richest country in the world lie dormant. Boarded up, locked, gated and shut – each apartment equipped with two, three and four bedrooms, one or two bathrooms and full kitchens.
I listened as the supervisor at the Housing Authority of Monterey County rattled off a long list of reasons that they thought released their agency from any responsibility for the crisis of Bessie Taylor and her disabled son Devonte, who are now living houselessly in Salinas, California, because the Housing Authority took too long to move on the family’s reasonable accommodation claim, and they subsequently lost their home of 22 years.
Students of the Revolutionary Youth Media Education class at Deecolonize Academy haven been learning, writing and living police terror and resistance as children of Black, Brown and poor parents. On Jan. 19, all of the youth skolaz at Deecolonize Academy and adult poverty skolaz at POOR Magazine began the day marching for MLK, for Black lives and for all of us, followed up by a trip to see the movie “Selma” and ended with a die-in outside the movie theatre in SF.
The San Francisco Housing Commission meeting of Sept. 4 on a new acronym called Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), code for selling public housing to private investors, was still. Still like a grave. A grave for all us poor people destroyed by the massive privatization of our public housing. Us unprioritized and barely housed, the forgotten elders and disabled folks, the very poor, the displaced, now houseless and rarely remembered.
From our perspective at POOR Magazine, we believe that as poor, indigenous, landless peoples, we need to create our own self-determined futures. With our meager resources – ‘cause POOR is in fact po’ – we held this event to make sure that this silenced community is really truly listened to by whomever wins this District 5 election.
Standing Up for Ours Tours will launch Sunday, June 26, 1-5 p.m., at Middlepoint and West Point in Hunters Point to listen to and support young people of color – plus poetry, food, entertainment and fun. “Hunters Point is home. It’s what’s made me and what nourished me," says Jamal Modica of Tough House Project.
We don’t need to be “given” a voice. We have a voice. What we don’t have is our own radio transmitters, television and radio broadcasts, and TV stations. PNN is the voices of people who are never heard.