WeCopwatch trainer David Whitt teaching a copwatch college session in San Francisco in 2018. Now, due to social distancing guidelines, the curriculum that is normally taught in person during copwatch college has been made available online.

Interest in Community Police Watch Training Soars as Courses Go Online

Berkeley Copwatch is one of several Bay Area organizations that instruct observers in how to record interactions between the public and law enforcement officials that are seeing a surge in demand for their services. The groups have shifted their tactics and focused more resources on online course delivery in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the surge in protests. They’re also ramping up misconduct tracking efforts and social media campaigns as the public focus on police brutality heightens.

Wildfires, like the 2018 Carr Fire pictured, are one of the climate threats California may increasingly face in the coming years and that climate action plans are meant to address.

Oakland Approves Climate Equity Plan, but Organizers Say Funding Needed

Community-centered approaches are key to Oakland’s Equitable Climate Action Plan, approved unanimously by the City Council in July. It is designed to “bring about a just transition to a low carbon future” with green jobs and measures to mitigate the disparities felt by communities affected by climate change, according to a statement by Mayor Libby Schaaf.
But the plan doesn’t have guaranteed funding from the city government. For organizers, that’s a problem. “We need money to pay people to do work,” said Phoenix Armenta, who works with an environmental justice group.

Oakland Activists Launch Mental Health Hotline as Alternative to Police

In response to the disproportionate law enforcement violence against people with mental illness and amid ongoing calls to defund or reform police, activists with the Anti Police-Terror Project on Friday night will launch an initiative in Oakland designed to offer an alternative to calling the police in mental health crises. The initiative, called M.H. First Oakland, will begin operations as a hotline with the number (510) 999-9MH1.

People congregate on the sidewalk to chat and sell found goods outside the Tenderloin Museum on Leavenworth and Eddy streets in late June.

What Crowding Looks Like During a Pandemic: Dismal Days in the Tenderloin

In a pandemic that mandates physical distancing, survival in the poverty-suffused Tenderloin is endangered by relentlessly overcrowded conditions, a dearth of open public spaces and limited mobility. Neighborhood residents suffer the city’s second-highest rate of COVID-19 infections — eclipsed only by the Bayview — and five times that of neighboring Nob Hill.

In Love and Warcraft

Theatrical Romantic Comedy Explores Love in Digital Spaces With Virtual Show

As events that would draw crowds under normal circumstances go virtual, an upcoming performance from American Conservatory Theater centers on building connections in digital spaces as a central theme. “In Love and Warcraft,” a play by Madhuri Shekar, is a romantic comedy about a young woman’s exploration of her identity in an online role-playing game and expressing it in the real world.

View of downtown San Francisco from Treasure Island.

Treasure Island Organizer Fights to Make Residents Heard

When the shelter-in-place order went into effect in San Francisco to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Treasure Island was going into a different kind of isolation than the rest of San Francisco. The island has extremely limited public transit service, just one grocery store, no public school and experiences frequent blackouts.

A census solutions workshop hosted in Seattle in 2018 by King County and Seattle Foundation.

Census Education Falls to Community Groups as Trump Fans Confusion

The 2020 census is well under way, but a timetable muddled by the coronavirus pandemic coupled with attempts by President Trump to make disruptive changes have set the stage for the spread of misinformation that threatens a complete count. Local nonprofit organizations have been working to get correct and timely information to people often labeled “hard to count” to avoid that outcome.

Jelani Memory and Khalia Davis

Kids’ Play Calls Out Racism

When actor and director Khalia Davis was growing up in the 1990s, children’s entertainment rarely addressed racism. When it did — in books about Ruby Bridges or special episodes of television shows like “Family Matters” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” — it was never explicit.

Now in 2020, after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement across the country, Davis is producing and directing “A Kids Play About Racism,” which will be streaming, free of charge, on Broadway on Demand this weekend.

Lisa Geduldig and Tanyalee Davis. Courtesy photos.

S.F. Comedy Mainstay Goes Online, International With Virtual Series

As live events of all kinds go virtual, one Bay Area comedy show producer has taken it upon herself to launch a monthly online performance with international talent. Lisa Geduldig, who has produced San Francisco’s “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy” and “Comedy Returns to El Rio” for years, will launch “Lockdown Comedy” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, featuring a group of London-based comedians. Geduldig and comedian Tanyalee Davis talked with “Civic” about coping with isolation, nailing comedic timing on Zoom and laughter as medicine. “It’s a matter of getting the timing right and trying to be as engaging as I can be in a small little screen. It’s a whole different ball game.”— Tanyalee Davis

“Occasionally when a comic will do some crowd work and talk to someone, it’s just this connection.

A map created by Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai to show where elevated levels of four elements were detected in residents, resulting from a community health biomonitoring survey. Photo courtesy of Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai.

Bayview Residents Sound Alarm Over Potential Dust From Toxic Site

San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood has been hit especially hard by COVID-19, and residents sheltering in place in the area have for years faced elevated levels of air pollution from a variety of nearby sources. Recently, advocates have raised concerns about potentially toxic dust they fear is being generated by a nearby construction project.