Poor Is the New Black: Segregation in San Francisco Today

Justin Slaughter, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 26 2014 - 6:33pm

“This is the San Francisco Americans pretend does not exist,” James Baldwin said on KQED more than half a century ago.

Baldwin, a world-renowned black writer and activist, was referring to the Fillmore district of San Francisco, where he and KQED documented the after-effects city bulldozing, literally, black neighborhoods in the name of “urban renewal,” and the unemployment and isolation of young blacks in Hunters Point.

“There is no moral distance between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham,” Baldwin said in the same year of the 16th street Baptist church bombing that killed four little girls in Birmingham, Ala.

Since then, the number of black residents of San Francisco has shrunk by nearly half. Black children are grossly over-represented in San Francisco’s foster care and juvenile justice systems, and unemployment among blacks in San Francisco still remains higher than in other groups.

An appreciation: Eric Quezada, 1965-2011, a champion for social and economic justice

Christopher D. Cook, SF Public Press — Aug 26 2011 - 8:59pm

When Eric Quezada — for decades a community organizer and widely respected leader on housing and economic justice and immigrants’ rights — died Wednesday after a seven-year struggle with cancer, there was an immediate outpouring of grief, love and appreciation from progressive friends and allies across San Francisco and the nation. The lonlongtime executive director of Dolores Street Community Services was a leading candidate for District 9 supervisor in 2008 and an accomplished grassroots community organizer.


Apocalyptic beliefs hasten the end of the world

Jason Mark, Earth Island Journal — May 20 2011 - 4:26pm

Commentary: Americans’ Judgment Day visions make it harder to gain traction on climate action

Billboards and bus stop ads, plastered in cities from Florida to California, announce that this coming Saturday, May 21, will be Judgment Day. This “guarantee” actually comes from an 89-year-old Christian fundamentalist, radio host, and co-founder of the Oakland-based Family Radio network, whose outfit has paid for 5,500 billboards worldwide (including many in the Bay Area). That thousands of people around the world are convinced that tomorrow a massive global earthquake is a sign — but not of the biblical sort. Fringe religious rhetoric confuses the very real and urgent issues of environmental degradation and climate change.


Why the Bay? Because it’s nuts

Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig, SF Public Press — Jul 6 2010 - 2:50pm

As the BART train exited the east side of the Transbay Tube, I looked back at the skyline of San Francisco. I couldn’t help but smile. Although it’s been almost five years since I moved to the Bay — after living 40 years in Arizona — there’s not a time that I don’t feel at one with it. But not everyone understands my affinity for the “City by the Bay” and all that surrounds it.


No ‘rock stars’ here

Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig, Mar 17 2010 - 4:56pm

In March, the color pink is all the rage in San Francisco. No, it wasn’t the latest in summer swimwear or a flash mob singing Pink’s big hit “So What” in unison. We’re talking about the type of pink that comes in the form of a letter from your employer saying, in essence, “cutbacks are forcing us to eliminate your position.” That’s right, March 5 was Pink Slip Day in the City and County of San Francisco — and although the estimated 15,000 workers who received the notices are in a furor over the layoffs, there is a silver lining to the situation.

Cap-and-trade ‘unpollution’ is nonsensical

Andrew Page, KQED — Mar 10 2010 - 1:53pm

When I first heard about cap-and-trade — the plan where a company can emit greenhouse gasses up to a point (the cap) then offset its emissions by investing in “unpollution” somewhere in the world (the trade) — well I thought, “This sounds like it’s worth a shot.” But after some looking into it, I have my doubts.

Billy Bragg saved my life

Tim Kingston, The Public Press — Nov 10 2009 - 10:55am

There is something about being unemployed — or underemployed, as it is cutely referred to these days — that puts a crimp in one’s life. What is harsh is the loss of hope that comes with long-term unemployment. It is the constant effort to keep optimistic and on top of things while isolation grinds one down. Unemployment focuses the mind on individual survival, instead of collective solutions. Watching Billy Bragg perform recently at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco was, for me, a desperately needed injection of hope and a reminder that there is a lot more to life than getting by.

'Remind me why I was so afraid'

Brenda Payton, The Public Press — May 13 2009 - 11:06pm

Late last month, more than 200 UCSC students staged a walkout and rally to protest budget cut proposals. Many of the students and supporters voiced their concerns that the budget axe would fall heavily on the Community Studies and the Latin American and Latino Studies departments. Earlier this month rumors surfaced that UCSC officials planned to eliminate the community studies program, a major focused on social activism and that two prominent LALS lecturers would be let go.

Guest opinion: Will we miss the Chronicle?

Gray Brechin, The Public Press — Mar 24 2009 - 1:41pm

We seldom think of oxygen unless it’s absent. You’d think about it a lot if it suddenly exited this room; you’d start gasping and writhing, your eardrums would burst, you and your neighbors would do a lot of bleeding on each other, then you’d die. But if we gradually replaced oxygen with nitrous oxide mixed with just a soupcon of cyanide gas, you might not notice that anything was missing at all; you might feel very content as your brain and body gradually turned off and you lapsed into a sleep without end. I’ve frequently criticized the Chronicle for just that — for its lack of the kind of mental oxygen that makes for a healthy democratic polity.

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