[Hpn] inyaface--chunky style pt 2
Fri, 01 Dec 2000 17:32:06 -0700
POOR News Network deconstructs the new housing program in San Francisco
I had already envisioned its sight before I opened the pale door held
together by incongruent strips of wood. The stench of abandoned viscosity
smothered my nose when I stepped into the small, forlorn room. I quickly
mixed a milky abrasive the label of which claimed to be stronger than dirt ‹
into a liquid whose label portrayed a man whose head was shaven completely.
The result was a product that could probably have annihilated the most
hardened of scum. After three hours of scrubbing mucous and crud from the
walls inside the room at the Jefferson Hotel, I felt the environment was
safe for me to sleep.
Vulgar sounds on the other side of the door invaded my sleep like the teeth
of a lion piercing the flesh of an African wildebeest. A loud thump on the
door brought me to full alert as I moved quickly to the door. The person at
the door held crack cocaine in his hand as he blurted out the price of his
bag of death. I snapped back with threats that I was the master of this
house and that I did not want to be disturbed. He replied on that April
night in 1999, while five or six people sat in front of doorways smoking
rocks in their crack pipes, that the Jefferson Hotel ³belonged to the dope
man² so I had no rights.
It has been over 11 years since that rude awakening at the Jefferson Hotel
on Eddy Street had welcomed me to San Francisco. It was a hotel in which I
had never thought I would have to sleep. There are many other hotels in San
Francisco that operate like the Jefferson. They are like bordellos with
organized drug dealers, prostitution and unsanitary living conditions.
However, as of Wednesday, October 4, 2000, the Jefferson can no longer be
classified as that kind of hotel.
The Jefferson is one of five (5) hotels in San Francisco whose residents
have adopted a new attitude because the Board of Supervisors approved a
proposal to launch a Master Leasing program which affects every part of the
life of the tenants of the Jefferson. The program was spearheaded by the
Tenderloin Housing Clinic and the Coalition on Homelessness.
³This program at an extraordinarily low cost has brought conservatively 350
vacant units (and overall 800 units) onto the real estate market because the
hotels that had been leased prior to this did not maximize the permanent
residency,² stated Randy Shaw of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, to me in an
interview as he discussed some of the strategy that was involved with the
development the Master Leasing program.
Before both the dot.com boom and surge in the economy, hotels such as the
Jefferson had charged rents which were tied to the income that a person
received from General Assistance or other fixed income. Since 1997, however,
all of the residential hotels in San Francisco had begun to charge
unaffordable rents and the housing shortage had tightened. Hotels were no
longer accepting referrals ‹ the prevailing system at that time ‹ due to the
rent increases. Out of this dilemma was born the concept of a Master Leasing
³I think that there are aspects to what the Tenderloin Housing Clinic is
doing that are beneficial for people to get into housing. I think it sets up
a scary situation when the only way a poor person can get housing is through
a social worker,² Paul Boden of the Coalition on Homelessness advised me
during a telephone interview.
Since both Paul Boden and Randy Shaw, two people who have advocated for
social change for years in San Francisco, view this program as a
constructive move toward affordable housing, it could probably be safe to
assume that the program would have passed through without a hitch, right?
The Master Lease program went through intense scrutiny as part of the budget
hearings. There were many concerns by members of the community and
community-based organizations which forced the Coalition on Homelessness to
request Board of Supervisor President Tom Ammiano to place money in reserve
that had been earmarked for a Master Lease program at the Hartland Hotel,
the first Master Lease program to come on line. In addition, the Coalition
on Homelessness subpoenaed all papers related to any shelter policies by any
agency of City government under the Freedom of Information Act. These
processes by the Coalition on Homelessness caused a cooperative meld of the
Department of Human Services (DHS), the Coalition on Homelessness and the
Tenderloin Housing Clinic.
After all the players in the attempt to find affordable housing for homeless
and impoverished people had begun to interact, the Master Lease program
began to take form. The Coalition on Homelessness submitted a detailed
report that recommended the course of action for the program. I asked
Jennifer Friedenbach of the Coalition on Homelessness about the position
paper and what it included?
³The Coalition came up with recommendations around how access [to affordable
rooms] should work for Master Leasing. We took the issue before the Board of
Directors of the Coalition on Homelessness, the Substance Mental Health Work
Group and other service providers who tried to get leasing.² Jennifer
continued to recount the developments of the process that brought
respectability to five of more than 100 residential hotel buildings in San
³During the time we were in negotiations with DHS, there were only one or
two people getting referred from the Department of Human Services¹ PAES
program and/or shelters to hotel rooms. The process was slow. Rooms were
vacant while people slept on the street. The Department of Human Services
wanted to handpick people in shelter case management programs or employable
in their PAES program. After the Coalition on Homelessness and the
Tenderloin Housing Clinic negotiated the Master Lease program with the
Department of Human Services as a solid unifying force, the Hartland,
Jefferson Seneca, Mission and Vicente hotels were approved as sites for San
Francisco¹s Master Leasing program.²
The approval for these hotels means that these buildings are no longer
managed and/or operated by their owners. These buildings are managed and
maintained by employees of City Housing, a nonprofit in San Francisco.
However, any major repairs are the owners¹ responsibility. Residents of
these hotels pay their rents to City Housing, which uses it to pay the
monthly lease to the private owners of the hotels.
I asked Kerry Abbott of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic who actually is
eligible for the Master Lease program? ³Originally, only people coming out
of case management for 30 days in shelters and those on PAES were eligible.
Now, people working with any community-based agency can be referred.² Kerry
stated that this system is much better than the earlier policy.
I asked Paul Boden why have only five buildings out of 100 signed onto the
Master Lease program?
³I am glad that there have only been five buildings to sign on at this
point,² stated Paul with an expressionless tone. ³The access is not broad
enough to satisfy the Coalition on Homelessness. If you are not able to go
to work, for example, you cannot access these hotels.² It seems the policies
around the Master Lease program are not yet satisfactory.
With a surge of renewed interested, he went on to state that, ³If we use
government money to lease a building, then there should be a long-term plan
to own that building and any homeless person should have an equal shot to
access the building. Furthermore, there should be made available, if
government money is used, direct access to housing throughout for people
There¹s been much handwriting on the walls of the Jefferson since that day
in 1999, when I was told that I had no rights in my room. Today, however,
thanks to the master plan of both the Coalition on Homelessness and
Tenderloin Housing Clinic, if the walls could talk, they would say to me,
³Welcome to your clean home, master!²
(Kaponda is a staff writer with POOR News Network. Visit the POOR crew
online at: http://www.poornewsnetwork.org)
Thelma and Louise of the Minor Leagues
It was coming up on midnight, and this was about a week or so before the
Giants finally clinched in late-September. Had second thoughts about heading
down to the Irish Bar in the Tenderloin, mainly Œcuz I was headin¹ outta
town the next day for a three-day trip Reno, and I always like to travel on
a full stomach and a lotta rest. We should all have it so good.
As you might¹ve surmised, things aren¹t all A-OK at back at The Seedy
Mission Flat, where one of my gamble-aholic roommates, The Mayor of Capp
Street, had dropped a pair of tough games over the weekend to the last-place
Padres. Don¹t know what he owes The Bookie, but my guess is, the way he¹s
ranting-n-raving and carryin¹ on, workin¹ on the Old Man tryin¹ to get
everybody evicted, I¹d say it¹s probably close to a thousand or two ‹ AND HE
DOESN¹T EVEN WORK.
How¹s he gonna pay, especially since he got cut off from Workman¹s Comp? I
dunno, but before I left the house today, he said that when I get back from
my trip, as soon as I pay my rent, I¹m gonna be hit with a ³30-day notice.²
Gee, that¹s nice o¹ the guy. Usually he tells me I gotta be out in three,
kinda like some batters I know when they go up against Russ Ortiz.
So, against my better judgment, I work my way through the Tenderloin. At
this hour, you gotta have eyes in the back of your head, but after so many
years, you sort of get that Sixth Sense of when trouble is lurking about.
You know that cat hidin¹ in the doorway, And you know better than to let
some hooker go riflin¹ through your pockets while she does her
Œcome-on-baby¹ routine. Gotta just keep movin¹ four beats to the measure.
Check back every now-n-then for a Muni, but there isn¹t one, which doesn¹t
surprise me, Œcuz this is back when they were talkin¹ about goin¹ ³On
Strike² anyway. I¹m kinda for the drivers on that one. I mean, givvum the
money, it ain¹t like we¹re building homeless shelters or anything like
[ital. ³that²]. Believe me, if the Old Man goes along with his Mayor of Capp
Street¹s son on this one, I¹m ass-out on the street, and there¹s no place
left to go but them busses.
I betcha fifty cents that if I pick up today¹s paper, there¹s something
about somebody, maybe as many as 60 people, getting displaced by last
night¹s fire, or some other hotel over in Oakland that was ruled
uninhabitable. And forget about all what¹s going on in The Mission, with
Dot-Com talkin¹ about movin¹ into the Mission Armory. We got hella protests
goin¹ on over that one. The Mission Armory? That place has been closed for
years and was home to summa the greatest boxing this town¹s ever seen way
back when, at least that¹s what the old-timers tell me. Woulda made a great
shelter, and we¹re gonna sell out for this? It pretty much parallels all
what¹s goin¹ on throughout The City: Hell Yes to Business; Screw the People,
especially low-income, families, minorities and artists, and where the
average two-bedroom apartment goes for $2,200, if you can find one, and the
only way your gonna get that is if you got perfect credit history and no
prior arrests or evictions.
The Irish Bar sometimes closes around midnight, but I know my bartender is
puttin¹ in extra hours Œcuz he¹s had it with the high rents, and says he¹s
headin¹ back East. Me, I¹ve got a $50. It¹s all the get-outta-town money I
need, cuz this guy, a Retired Air Force Firefighter, treats me like his own
son, and he picks up all the tabs, from the Nice Hotel all the way down to
the fish-n¹chips at Foley¹s at the end of The Strip, which is the best I¹ll
have Œtil we go back next year. Considering the hellhole where I stay, where
yelling and slamming doors were all part of the norm in the morning, I can
use a get-away like this.
So I take a seat at the end of the bar. There¹s a few people ‹ two guys,
both regulars, and two women, who I don¹t know from Adam or Eve, at the far
end having a pretty lively conversation. Me, I just wanna be left alone; try
Œn sort things out, unless, of course, Jack wants to give me another one of
his free lessons in baseball. Swearda God, I¹ll put him up against anybody,
and that includes anybody in the Hall of Fame.
³Can you spot me a Budweiser?² I say to the bartender.
³No² he says, making me sweat a little, more than I am already Œcuzza this
mid-September Indian Summer heat wave we¹re having. ³But I can spot you a
This guy, he¹s too good to me.
So I¹ve got my dinner in fronta me, and it doesn¹t take long before some guy
wanders into the bar and comes looking for a handout. I take that first sip
before looking back over my shoulder and say, ³Buddy, any other day you
mighta had a chance, but I got news: today I¹m bein¹ evicted.² Before I
could add a ³So you go figure it out,² he goes, ³Yeah, man, but I¹m already
out on the street!²
The bartender comes over, leans on the bar and puts out his policeman ³halt-
sign,² and the guy shuts up on the dime: The Power of the Bartender.
The two of us talk baseball, about who we think¹s gonna the World Series,
and ³who¹s the best third baseman in the game since Brooks Robinson.² He
says Robin Ventura. I say Mike Schmidt, a 10-time All-Star who set 14 major
league records with the Phillies.
At the other end, the two guys are working on the two women, who I¹d say are
probably in their mid-30s, give or take. One of the guys is a Culinary
Academy student, and the other guy, Frank, says he¹s a pediatrician, but he
also works as a ³freelance gynecologist.² Hey, don¹t laugh. This guy¹s
dead-serious. And the two women... well, they¹re talking about their ³itchy²
What kinda place is this? I¹ll tell you, it¹s a place where I can duck those
lame-ohs back at The Seedy Mission Flat, that¹s what.
By now it¹s after last call, ten minutes til¹ two in fact, and I forgot to
tell that earlier, my buddy Jack got a little heated on this shift. Somehow,
he let the Tall Redhead con him, let her ³learn how to be a bartender²
off-¹n-on during these past two hours. And oh yeah, just so you know, none
of us guys ever left our stools during this whole time.
I kinda wondered what was goin¹ on with these two earlier when The Redhead
and her ³partner², a Fraulein with a German accent and black hair who¹s
probably A Blonde from the Bahamas by now, made a bee-line for the women¹s
restroom and said it was ³female bonding time.² Thought they might be goin¹
in there to blow a line, but as it turns out, they were hatching a plan.
The bartender comes from behind the bar, goes up to The Redhead and says,
³What are you, some sorta Devil From Hell?! That¹s my living. Those are my
wages. I¹m not playin¹. Give me back my money.²
Apparently, Redhead got into the tip-basket, and according to the Bartender,
made off with all of $180, leaving only a single, solitary dollar bill. If
you know bartenders, they don¹t like to pocket the money before shift¹s end,
thinking that all that money attracts mo¹ money, so they let it build
instead of doing like I use to do: when it gets to $60, put $40 away. Safer,
just in case of a hold-up.
Well, suddenly the game is changed. The Two Guys slowly get up off their
barstools, and the three of us blockade the front door. ³Nobody leaves until
that money gets put back,² says one of Œem. Hey, nobody¹s goin¹ anywhere,
and that includes this Thelma and Louise of the Minor Leagues. Oh, they¹re
good. Probably already got bumped up to Double-A by now. They had the whole
thing cased, real fly-by-nighters. We played this waiting game, us standing
there, them accusing each one of us, even though it was so obvious what had
happened. And they were smug about the whole thing, too, like ha-ha-ha.
Finally, Jack decided to call in the bulls at about 2:40, and when the cops
show up five minutes later, they pretty much said the same thing I did:
³Forget the money, that¹s gone, hid in such a place that no one¹s likely to
find.² Yep, Thelma and Louise called the bluff and won, since nobody was too
keen on getting a female officer to come out and do a cavity search.
I know one thing: when I get to Reno, ain¹t no way in hell I¹m gonna bet
roulette, Œcuz all you¹ve got there is Red or Black, and I¹ve just seen how
both of Œem don¹t think nothin¹ about stealin¹ you blind.
RESIST THE CRIMINALIZATION OF MENTAL ILLNESS!
Picture yourself poor or homeless and in need of mental health treatment,
which most research agrees that about one-third of all homeless people need.
You go to a health clinic or the emergency room trying to get help and get
told ³Sorry, we can¹t help you,² or, if you¹re lucky, you¹re offered an
appointment looming two months into an uncertain future.
If you were living on the sidewalk, might you feel depressed, suicidal, or
even hallucinating? But wouldn¹t you still know you need help?
How would you feel if you couldn¹t get any help?
Now, just imagine if after you¹ve been denied help that you voluntarily
sought, you are then arrested because of your behavior. What if the police
took you to a hospital where you would be strapped down ‹ wrists, ankles and
head ‹ to a table, and injected with dangerous drugs? Or you¹re arrested,
and after you¹ve been booked the sheriff¹s deputies put you in a ³safety
cell² ‹ stripped naked and humiliated by 24 hour scrutiny?
As awful as these all-too-common dramas are for homeless people with mental
illnesses, the dramatic can turn tragic in a heartbeat: what if the police
feel threatened by your actions and use deadly force against you?
Answer: you would gasp your life out on cold pavement knowing all of this
happened because you couldn¹t get the treatment that you tried to get.
The stigmatization and criminalization of mental illnesses endangers more
lives every year. How many more deaths can we tolerate?
The Coalition tried to address this problem by advocating funding for police
crisis intervention training ‹ training to instruct officers on how to
humanely and non-violently treat people with mental illness ‹ yet the police
department has yet to implement this training and its procedures. We demand
that the police fully implement these procedures so that the lives of
mentally ill people are not put in danger by our so-called peace officers.
We demand that the civil and human rights of homeless people and be
protected. We oppose involuntary outpatient treatment and commitment.
We demand that voluntary community-based consumer-directed mental health
treatment be made available on demand. People know what they need, but this
only helps if their voices are being heard.
Voluntary mental health treatment on demand will also save the city money.
It is far cheaper to treat someone in a clinic, rather than with the
expensive and restrictive emergency psychiatric services needed if someone
is neglected until they¹re in crisis.
On December 12, the Coalition on Homelessness will be having an action
protesting the criminalization of mental illness in San Francisco. Nearly
50,000 of Californians with untreated mental illnesses are homeless. The
City and County of San Francisco must take notice of our demands for humane
treatment of persons who are mentally ill, homeless or both.
We seek community participation in this action and support for these
demands. We aim to get the attention of city agencies that can do something
to end this needless suffering and risk. We need to convince the Mayor and
the Department of Public Health that so long as these issues will not go
away, neither shall we. There are so many homeless and poor people in this
city that are in desperate need of these services, and there just aren¹t
enough to go around.
In such a wealthy city in a time of economic growth, this is unconscionable
and utterly unacceptable. We must all be outraged at this lack of caring
exhibited by these failings. We must be willing to support the most fragile
members of our community by making available the voluntary treatment that
they so desperately need.
No one pays any attention
to the guy who digs in the trash
by strada everyday
except for people like my cousin
who change directions
to avoid his smell
he mumbles to himself
drags his bare feet from one garbage pile to another
to drink what¹s left in coffee cups
his torn shoes
barely cover all his toes
filth wraps his ankles
filth as black as the dirt on his clothes
filth as old as the holes in his blue blanket
that he carries everywhere
his hair turned to dread locks
woven into his beard
he puts all his paper bags
filled with dumped yet edible food
on the news stand
to pick up a nickel from the ground
a nickel I¹m too lazy to bend over for
he never begs for change
Police violence report
On September 22, I was held in the SFPD holding cell at the Hall of Justice.
This was an involuntary visit, as well as an illegal detention. I was
arrested, in my capacity as a defense attorney, for trying to pass through
an illegally formed police line at the entrance to the Hall of Justice at
850 Bryant Street.
I was attempting to visit clients who were arrested in a demonstration that
occurred earlier that day. After unsuccessfully attempting to gain access to
Hall of Justice, I was handcuffed and led inside, ultimately arriving at the
While I was being subjected to this illegal detention, I had occasion to
witness this disturbing display of police brutality:
A San Francisco police officer led a handcuffed homeless man into the
holding cell where I was being held. The officer roughly spun the man around
and told him to sit down on the bench. The cop said this on his way out of
the cell, in seeming afterthought. The detainee was not acting out or
defiant, he was simply standing near the corner of the cell. He only
responded by saying, ³I¹d prefer to stand, thank you.² He remained standing
and handcuffed, facing the officer.
Five or six feet separated the officer from the handcuffed man, who was much
shorter and much smaller than the cop.
The officer stepped back into the cell and faced the man. He began to shift
his weight back and onto his left foot while he lifted his right leg. The
officer then suddenly lunged forward, placing a solid martial arts kick to
the handcuffed man¹s chest. As a result of the cop¹s blow, the detainee was
violently driven into the concrete wall behind him with force. Because his
hands were still handcuffed behind his back, he could not ward off the SFPD
officer¹s brutal kick to his chest, and there was also no way he could
prevent the resulting impact when his body slammed against the wall of the
The man bounced from the wall and then collapsed onto the bench, obviously
stunned and physically injured.
The cop then walked across the cell to the injured detainee and kneeled down
beside him. The officer placed his hands on the helpless prisoner¹s head,
pulled it up to face him and said, ³now you be a good little boy.²
The SFPD member, who was white, then playfully slapped at the man, who was
African American, on the side of his face. As the police officer cruelly
emphasized the detainee¹s helplessness, he kept repeating ³now you be a good
Searching for breathing room
About a year ago, a group of us formed with a simple vision ‹ open a space
in San Francisco that would truly BE for San Francisco. It was to be a
community center, store for various publications, hand-crafted goods and
other hard-to-find items, a resource center, with local groups listed,
meeting space, alternative library, performance venue, community kitchen,
the center of a new economy; and a place for the homeless, youth and other
folks without a place to simply BE, hang out, work, and hopefully meet new
Obviously, all of these things are necessary in this city today.
We had a very clear idea, that it would be very hard to get people involved
in the early days of such a huge project, and that most people would not
want to put their energies into it until we had a concrete space to work
from. With that in mind, we have tried to put together a strong structure
and gather funds WHILE looking for some suitable space to house our lofty
ideas. It has been a draining and heartbreaking experience, yet, after all,
not that much of a surprise.
At this point we have achieved non-profit status, had many successful
benefits, gotten our first grants, tabled at numerous events and gatherings,
been a presence at other groups¹ actions and events, and have started to
make a name for ourselves with other groups and in the community at large.
We currently host a monthly, community-building open mike, as well as a
monthly potluck, are in the process of helping with a free school weekend at
New College, and much more. But we still do not have a space.
At first we were not surprised that people were suspicious, we had just
thrown ourselves into a collective and were suddenly asking landlords to
trust that we could pay our rent. WE didn¹t even trust that we could pay our
rent! But we were sure that just keeping up the search would keep our name
out there. We attempted to join together with other groups who were also
desperate for space. We called more nasty realtors and landlords than you
can imagine. At the same time we were also getting the word out, meeting new
people, getting our non-profit status, and becoming ³official.² But we were
still getting the same treatment ‹ if we weren¹t a developer or a dot.com,
they didn¹t want to hear about it.
Recently a man approached us who said he was putting together a space for
activist and non-profit groups. If we helped out with the construction, he
was willing to cut us a deal. It was a smaller space than what we were
hoping for, but we were excited that finally we would at least have space
for a couch so people could come in and rest their bones.
After rushing together our list of things we needed in a space (all accepted
by our ³benefactor²), getting together the workers, and making sure we had
the money, our man disappeared from the face of the earth. We were unsure
what his motives were in getting our hopes up, but he has added to the pile
of frustration and anger building within us.
All around us, groups helping those of us down on our luck are being
evicted, or forced out by rising rents, while the numbers of people in need
grow exponentially. We lose community space as fast as we lose our homes.
Business is welcomed with open arms, while groups like ours are not even
able to scrounge out a space to put up our feet.
Youth spaces are disappearing, the growing numbers of homeless people have
nowhere to go. There is no more neutral space for the different people of
this city to meet on common ground. There is not even an open and dedicated
meeting space for the groups of this city to plan and discuss their agendas
comfortably. And the people in power keep on pushing.
We are not giving up our dreams; we are not giving up the fight. Despite a
year of heartbreak, we will continue, but in a different vein. No longer
will we search for a space to put that couch, now we are beginning to reach
out to those who still have space, and are willing to let us use it for
workshops, shows, spoken word, meals, what-have-you. If we cannot create a
literal safe place for the people of our communities, let us create a safe
community of involved spaces, groups, and individuals. Now more than ever we
must come together to take back our city.
Only then will we all have the breathing room we need.
If you know of a space that would welcome us, want more info, or just want
to chat, contact us:
or c/o janice flux
p.o. box 16651
San Francisco, ca 94116-0651
EDICION POPULAR EN ESPANOL
¿Caridad o Justicia?
Ahora que se acerca la temporada de fiestas oímos por todos lados que esta
es la temporada del amor y la hermandad. Los medios de comunicación,
nuestras organizaciones religiosas, y la sociedad en general alientan que
realicemos actos de caridad para actuar en el espíritu de amor por el
prójimo. ¿Pero realmente es esto lo que quiere decir el amor por el prójimo?
En San Francisco, el número de desalojos se ha triplicado desde 1996, un 25%
de la gente desamparada son familias, un 40% de la gente desamparada trabaja
pero no gana lo suficiente como para pagar vivienda decente, y la lista de
espera para un refugio (³shelter²) familar es de mas de 100 personas. En
este contexto, el amor por el projimo tiene que llegar mas allá de la
caridad - requiere un compromiso a la terminar con la injusticia que es la
causa raíz de estos problemas.
Donar ropa, jugetes o dinero a la gente que lo necesita nunca terminará con
Donar tiempo para servir comida gratis a la gente hambrienta nunca terminará
con el hambre.
Donar dinero a un refugio no terminará con la crisis de vivienda.
No importa si se dona una vez o mil, la caridad nunca terminará con la
injusticia social. De hecho, en alguna forma estas soluciones de corto plazo
sirven para esconder la realidad y gravedad del problema. Estas soluciones
son como curitas para tratar una herida de un balazo. Y al fin de cuentas,
la caridad solo logra que la persona que donó se sienta menos culpable por
el problema. Mientras tanto, se ignora el balazo ‹ la causa raíz del
problema ‹ el sistema injusto bajo cual vivimos, que crea y defiende la
riqueza para los pocos y la pobreza para el resto de nosotros.
La injusticia del capitalísmo es que los ricos ganan ganancias a costa de
los pobres de toda raza, origen nacional, sexo, orientación sexual, etc. Y
cuentan con la falta de unidad entre diferentes pueblos oprimidos para
Por eso es clave que los pueblos oprimidos luchemos juntos por la justicia.
Esto es lo que realmente quiere decir el amor por el prójimo: organizar con
solidaridad entre pueblos oprimidos para conseguir la justicia. ¡Nuestra
solidaridad es un arma esencial para derrocar este sistema injusto que nos
oprime! Pero no es suficiente solo entender este vil sistema o buscar
solidaridad entre pueblos oprimidos - tenemos que actuar por la justicia.
Esto quiere decir organizar para defendernos de los ataques del sistema y
luchar por lo que necesitamos: vivienda para todos, educación para todos,
comida para todos, servicios de salud mental y física para todos, un salario
digno, etc. En organizar por la justicia, crearemos poder en el pueblo para
un cambio revolucionario. Este es el verdadero amor por el prójimo que
creará el mundo justo que todos merecemos.
¡NUESTRA EXPERIENCIA HABLA!
Desde Hace 17 meses se ha estado planeando el importante centro de recurso
en el distrito de la Misión por la falta de servicios que necesitan nuestros
vecinos y personas desamparadas que no tienen un lugar donde ir.
Durante todo este tiempo de planificación y desarrollo, organizaciones,
agencias de servicios sociales, comerciantes, escuelas y familias que viven
en el mismo barrio han estado participando para que este centro que proverá
servicios necesarios se abra.
El jueves pasado el 16 de noviembre tuvimos la oportunidad de presentar la
propuesta del centro de recursos ante la comisión de servicios humanos para
que aprueben el sitio propuesto que se encuentra sobre el Capp entre el 16 y
17. También tuvimos la oportunidad de escuchar diferentes comentarios de
residentes de la Misión y activistas comunitarios.
La primera persona que presentó sus comentarios acerca del centro de recurso
de la Misión fue una mujer joven y blanca que expresó sus miedos e
inseguridades por las familias que viven en su barrio. Aunque dijo que está
de acuerdo con el centro, ella dijo que está preocupada por las familias que
no están de acuerdo en que se abra este centro. El segundo testimonio
también fue hecho por una persona que recientemente se ha mudado a la
Misión. Un hombre joven asiatico habló en contra de este centro porque
afectaría a muchas familias latinas. No se sabe muy bién como dos individuos
que son nuevos al vecindario y no hablan español podrían no solamente tener
pero expresar la opinion de las familias latinas de la Misión.
Por nuestro buen rumbo, algunas de nuestras líderes mujeres latinas
presentaron sus comenterios. Ellas también están preocupadas por el barrio;
ellas están preocupadas por todas las personas desamparadas que no tienen un
lugar a donde ir y tienen que estar durmiendo en la calle. Silvia Alvizar
del sindicato del 2911 de la calle 16 dijo que ella y sus vecinas del
edificio están totalmente de acuerdo en que este centro se abra para las
personas que tanto lo necesitan. La Señora Silvia reiteró que ella con sus
dos hijos camina todos los días por la Misión y le da rabia que sus hijos
miren el sistema injusto que deja que haya tanta gente pobre y desamparada
tirada en la calle. Claris del hotel residencial de la calle Julian brinda
todo su apoyo para que este centro se abra. La Señora Claris tiene dos hijos
y ella también expresó su preocupación de ver tanta gente sufriendo en la
calle sin un lugar para ir.
El pueblo de la Misión pueden hablar por su mismo. Ellos saben lo que este
barrio necesita. Y no necesitan que personas que recien llegaron através del
aburguesamiento esten pretendiendo que están hablando por los intereses del
pueblo cuando realmente están solo expresando sus intereses.
"We must find out what words are and how they function. They become images
when written down, but images of words repeated in the mind and not of the
image of the thing itself."
- W.S. Burroughs
A Publication of the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
468 Turk St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
415 / 346.3740 - voice
415 / 775.5639 - fax