Sunday, October 13, 2013

No more evictions! No mas desalojos!

The people of eastern (lower) 24th Street in San Francisco were out Saturday, marching and dancing in our latest protest against Mission gentrification.

The current tech boom is wreaking its creative destruction here. Google, Facebook, etc. are using San Francisco, and particularly the Mission's relativity low rents and cultural excitement, as a bedroom community for its squadrons of young workers. Every morning, the Google buses, private buses to Silicon Vally, haul these new residents south.

Compared with the the people who've been the core of the place since World War II -- Latino families, white lefties, artists -- this wave of newcomers can pay the moon for housing and entertainment. Naturally there are speculators who want to cash in on them. These speculators are evicting people and small businesses as fast as they can, making a quick buck while trashing the cultural stew that is the Mission's attraction.

The Mission still gives a good parade. Some of the people most vulnerable to the current wave of displacements are our most honored artists like Rene Yanez and Yolanda Lopez whose creative work, including building the annual Dia de Los Muertos celebration, helped make the Mission the attraction it is.

The Mission has been more resistant to successive waves of gentrification than many areas of San Francisco. The late '90s tech boom crashed before swamping the local scene. Latino families have tended to hang on to the houses their grandparents bought from the Irish in the middle of the last century, providing a distinctive anchor amidst what outsiders saw as an urban dumping ground.

Its hard not to fear this wave of prosperous newcomers will swamp the present culture. This billboard hangs outside La Galeria de la Raza

... while another wave of neighborhood organizers mobilize for self-preservation.

1 comment:

Hattie said...

I love these photos of the beautiful people of the Mission District. May they prevail!

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