On May 9, 2018, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon’s White Collar Crime Division issued a letter to the San Francisco Ethics Commission referring allegations of “willful misconduct” violations of the Sunshine Ordinance under San Francisco Administrative Code section 67.34 by management of the San Francisco Arts Commission. Twenty-four hours after receipt and distribution of the District Attorney’s letter, the decade’s old signage marking the “Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theater” was vandalized and quickly removed.
When Bree Newsome pulled down the Confederate flag from in front of the South Carolina statehouse in Columbia on June 27, she gave brief, heroic expression to an anger felt far beyond the Lowcountry over the bloody massacre in Charleston 10 days earlier. The young Black activist’s exemplary act of protest recalled a series of events three decades ago, not in a bastion of the Old South ruled by Republican nut jobs, but 2,500 miles away in liberal San Francisco.
In the early hours of this year of ostensible hope, the reality of the persistence of racism in Oakland became devastatingly clear, sparking a powerful response the likes of which this city hasn't seen in years.