Mission: Artists, poets and community organizers march against anti-housing props

Occupation of Mission St. showcases the campaigns against P, U, and R

More than 150 people marched down Mission Street on Thursday night blocking traffic for two hours from 24th Street to 21st Street as they protested against what they call anti-housing ballot measures in the November ballot. 

mission-protest-1
Community organisers march from 24th & Mission Bart Station to protest what the call anti-housing propositions in the November Ballot. Photo by Sana Saleem
Around 80 protestors gathered at the 24th Street BART Station, at 6 pm with signs and banners, some using tents similar to ones used by encampment residents as banners. 

“Homeless folks and tenants are tired of having wealthy elites push through policy that takes away our homes, our tents and our right to live in this city,” said Bilal Mafundi, with Coalition on Homelessness, in a press release sent via email “We ask that folks have compassion for vulnerable residents instead of using us as political scapegoats. One way to do that is to vote down Propositions Q, R, P and U, and help us fight for housing as a human right!” he said. 

With only 5 days until election day, community organizers and residents are speaking out again propositions P,U, Q, and R. Proposition P proposes to change the bidding requirements for affordable housing, Proposition U proposes to change the income level for affordable housing to a higher level, Proposition Q and R directly target unhoused people by banning encampments and establishing neighborhood crime units. 

Prop. P and U are funded largely by the California Association of Realtors. Q and R are supported by Sups. Mark Farrell and Scott Wiener.

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“Halloween just happened but in my opinion these are the scariest things out there,” said Maria Zamudio, an organizer with Causa Justa. 

Chants of “Fight, fight, fight housing is a human right” filled the air as protestors marched towards 22nd and Mission as a line of musicians and artists accompanied them. A few dozen SFPD officers marched on each side as traffic was blocked off for two hours from 24th Street to 21st Street. 

Alicia Bell, from the San Francisco Anti-displacement coalition, engages in performance art at the Mission and 22nd intersection. Photo by Sana Saleem
Alicia Bell, from the San Francisco Anti-displacement coalition, engages in performance art at the Mission and 22nd intersection. Photo by Sana Saleem
The crowd increased to more than 150 people as protestors creatively occupied the space the site of the burned-out building at the corner of Mission and 22nd streets. Protestors hung clothes in the dirt pit to symbolize the 60-people who were displaced as a result of the fire in January 2015. 

“Sometimes the street has to be our house, the street has to be our home,” said Zamudio, as protesters protestor laid down white furniture symbolizing a home in the middle of the street. Members from the San Francisco Anti-displacement coalition engaged onlookers into their performance art. Actors and community activists Mustafah Greene &  April Martin sat on the table as if having dinner and scribbled notes to each other as Alicia Bell and Tiara J sat on the sofa. 

Mustafah Greene & April Martin, from San Francisco Anti-displacement Coalition,  sit on a sofa in their make shift home at the intersection of Mission and 22nd. Actors engaged in performance art as the occupied the space. Photo by Sana Saleem
Mustafah Greene & April Martin, from San Francisco Anti-displacement Coalition, sit on a sofa in their make shift home at the intersection of Mission and 22nd. Actors engaged in performance art as the occupied the space. Photo by Sana Saleem
Actors moved around the make-shift home, occupying different spaces as poets read out their poetry addressing gentrification, homelessness and eviction. 

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Alicia Bell & Tiara J, from the San Francisco Anti-displacement coalition,  engage in performance art at the Mission and 22nd intersection. Photo by Sana Saleem
Alicia Bell & Tiara J, from the San Francisco Anti-displacement coalition, engage in performance art at the Mission and 22nd intersection. Photo by Sana Saleem
“As a woman of color with a disability I can understand how unhoused people are made invisible,” said Noemi Sohn, Filipina-American feminist poet/performer with cerebral palsy. Noemi works in various movements dealing with disability rights, racial justice, women’s rights and ending violence against women.

Poet and Community organizer Tony Robles didn’t hold back: “I’ll just say this — fuck the realtors!” he said. 

Images were projected onto the market rate Vida-apartments right next to the now dirt pit, with images and personal stories of people impacted by rising rents and lack of affordable housing, one image read: “Bismark and Sandy are facing unlawful rent increases and eviction threats. If they lose their home, they would not be able to stay in SF” 

 

  • Don Sebastopol

    Our right to live in the City? There is no such right. Everyone has a right to live where they can afford to live. When has SF ever been affordable? Weren’t the suburbs were crated by those who could not afford what they desired in the City? How is anyone today more entitled to live in the City than many past generations.

    If housing were a legal right then the government would be required to provide it, but then the government could tell you how much space you can have and where. What about being assigned to a 400-square foot apartment in Fresno?

    • Foginacan

      The creation of the suburbs was a little more complicated than that.

      • Don Sebastopol

        I am sure it was more complicated than that. Around 1949, I first became aware of family friends and playmates moving out of the City. Most were renters who wanted to buy and many were veterans. They could get newer bigger homes with better weather by leaving the City (with the exception of Westlake weather). But newer bigger and affordable.

        All of them worked in the City and had to commute. As it is now over 80 percent of the Bay Area Jobs are no longer in the City. Nearly 50% of workers in my neighborhood don’t work in the City and reverse. They work down the peninsula or in the East Bay. Over the years many of my neighbors move out of the City when their jobs moved out of the City: Fireman’s Fund, Pac Bell, Chevron, BofA, and others.

        • Foginacan

          I’m not sure where you’re going with all that but “Over the years many of my neighbors moved out of the City when their jobs moved out of the City” is true, and the fundamental issue here. Part of it is status. If you get lured to an SF job that’s really in Mountain View, you want to still live in SF because you told everyone thats where you were moving too. They aren’t aware of the status-y suburbs.

          • Don Sebastopol

            There are many reasons and status may be one of them. Many want to live in SF for the lifestyle like the young looking for mates. And comparable housing may actually be more affordable in SF. Most of my neighbors who work down the peninsula have a spouse that works in the City or in the opposite direction.

  • Kraus

    You fight hunger by producing food.
    The more food you produce the cheaper it will be.
    You fight homelessness by producing housing.
    The more housing you produce the cheaper it will be.
    Restrictions produce shortages.

    • Don Sebastopol

      Who is going to produce the housing where? Who will pay? What restrictions would you remove?

    • Do Something Nice

      We produce enough food. We have a food distribution problem that has its roots in economic injustice.

      We have enough houses. We have a housing distribution problem that has its roots in economic injustice.

      Speculation produces shortages.

      • Don Sebastopol

        If you can’t distribute housing to where the people are, what about distributing the people to where the housing is. Send the homeless to Las Vegas or wherever?

        • Do Something Nice

          I’m thinking that depressed areas of the country could benefit from tech companies relocating to those places. That would help everyone – stimulating the depressed economies in other areas and relaxing the housing demand and infrastructure strain here. Win win.

          • Don Sebastopol

            The problem with that is tech workers may not want to live in depressed areas. Tech companies came to the Bay Area for the talent labor pool that was already here. For decades young talented people had been flocking to SF in droves for the lifestyle.

            Sonoma has had limited success recruiting tech companies. Sonoma does not have sufficient number of highly educated workers to attract them.

            I recall several years ago George Lucas purchased a old agricultural processing in plant in Modesto intending to move some of his operations there. He figured it would be a win for his employees who could afford really nice homes there. However, his most talented employee rebelled and said they would not move: better a hovel in San Francisco than a mansion in Modesto! He dropped that idea.

          • Do Something Nice

            People can be encouraged to move, and given the numbers of fresh out of school workers carrying boatloads of debt, many would be happy to land a job anywhere.

            Nobody said it would be easy – doing the right thing is rarely easy.

          • Do Something Nice

            Through policy and taxation, that can be and should be changed.