Almost two weeks ago, protesters in Portland, Ore., were detained by federal police and taken away in unmarked cars. Five days later, President Trump said that he would send federal agents to a dozen other liberal cities, including Oakland. For some of the Bay Area’s Central American residents, there are parallels between this moment and their own experiences with authoritarian governments in their countries of origin. Lariza Dugan-Cuadra, director at advocacy and social service nonprofit CARECEN SF, spoke to “Civic” about how the Bay Area’s Central American diaspora is reacting. “One of the things I always ask myself, like, why doesn’t the American people rise up?
The last few years’ fires are all blurring into one for Jessica Tovar, an Oakland resident and advocate at the nonprofit Local Clean Energy Alliance, a renewable energy advocacy group. “I had an office that you could see the port of Oakland from, and in those times, you could not see the port because the smoke was so thick,” she said. Oakland was among the worst-hit cities when smoke from the 2017 Tubbs wildfires spread to the areas around San Francisco Bay, lowering air quality to levels comparable to Beijing, some of the worst in the world. As California’s fall wildfire season approaches, mask shortages mean Oakland residents are at risk of exposure to both coronavirus and to toxic smoke. Tovar, who frequently interacts with underserved Oakland residents, echoed the concerns of advocacy organizations that distribute masks.
UPDATE: July 17, 2020. Adds embedded audio and timestamps to summary of key points from press conference. Mayor London Breed announced this morning at a press conference that San Francisco would roll back some of its reopenings, closing indoor malls and non-essential offices on Monday. S.F. has joined a list of 30 counties on the state watch list, due to the rapidly rising number of Covid cases. San Francisco has 4,795 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 52 deaths.
Parents applauded the San Francisco school board’s recent move to cut ties with the San Francisco Police Department in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that have highlighted racial bias in policing. The Board of Education voted on June 23 to overhaul the San Francisco Unified School District’s relationship with police. The decision means that from now on, police can enter San Francisco’s public schools only in emergencies, such as in active shooter cases. Advocates, parents and former teachers say that school resource officers – as police designated to work with schools are known — are often called by staff and parents in situations that don’t warrant police intervention, such as for schoolyard fights or to discipline misbehaving students. This often escalates already tense situations and leads to disproportionate disciplining of Black, Latinx and other minority students, critics say.
San Francisco public officials warned that people should avoid gatherings to celebrate July 4, as infection rates and hospitalizations linked to the COVID-19 pandemic have surged over the past week.
Dr. Tomás Aragón, San Francisco Health Officer, and Joaquín Torres, the director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, urged San Franciscans to get outside to some of the area’s surrounding nature over the holiday weekend in lieu of attending indoor gatherings.