Tech sector startups aren’t the only folks “disrupting” things in the Bay Area as of late. Social justice activists are mounting their own creative, grassroots responses to unjust practices – and while they don’t often have deep pockets, they’ve got the collective momentum of people who give a damn propelling them onward. Below, a few examples of what’s percolating on this front.
Landing at the landlord’s
Earlier this year, we told you about Jeremy Mykaels, a tenant and disabled senior living with AIDS who has rented his apartment in the Castro for more than four decades, and is now battling eviction. Here’s his story, posted to a website he created where he also lists other properties where seniors have been targeted with evictions.
Eviction Free Summer, a group of tenant activists who made a splash at the San Francisco Pride Parade this past June with a faux-Google bus, has started rallying people together to show up outside the homes and offices of landlords after they issue eviction notices. On Sat/10, they’re planning to caravan to Union City, where they’ll stage a protest outside the homes of the property owners who are evicting Mykaels. More information can be found here.
Disruptive enough for you?
Hate is lame
In response to a series of anti-Muslim ads that appeared on San Francisco transit vehicles, a group of online activists seeks to drown out the hate speech by taking things to a whole new level. Yes, they’re posting their anti-hate message onto a billboard.
From Aug. 5 until Sept. 1, a billboard at 10th and Howard streets will proclaim: “Hate Has No Place in Our City: San Francisco Embraces Diversity and Acceptance, Not Hate and Bigotry.”
The effort was crowd-funded through Louder, a platform for crowd promotion, through about $3,000 in donations from 100 individuals from throughout the country. It was spearheaded by San Francisco resident Christie George, who teamed up with New Yorker Ateqah Khaki to get the project off the ground.
“When I read about the ads in other cities, I was horrified by how hateful they were. But when I learned that they were coming to San Francisco, I felt like I couldn’t be silent, and was compelled to do something to celebrate how much this city embraces diversity,” George said.
Next Thursday, Aug. 15, the “No Place For Hate” team will host a meet-up for contributors and supporters, featuring talks from the campaign organizers and some comments by Louder founder Colin Mutchler.
Budget for direct democracy
Meanwhile, in Oakland, the effort to hack Oakland’s budget with a ballot measure that would put discretionary spending in the hands of ordinary people is starting to pick up speed.
As Community Democracy Project co-director Sonya Rifkin explained in this interview with Shareable: “We care about a wide range of issues and lot of problems come back to questions of power – access to resources and self-determination and being engaged in decisions that affect our lives. Problems arise in politics from the right people not being invited to the table. The strength of this process is people getting connecting and understanding each others' perspectives and empowering communities, which can have far reaching potential for enabling people to solve their own problems.”
Bonus: Sounds of badass señoras
Lastly, the Pacifica Radio Archives has received a $128,000 matching grant from the National Archives – the largest-ever grant for a public radio project, according to spokesperson Stephenie Hendricks -- to restore historic recordings of powerful women. Once completed, the recordings will be made available – for free! – to colleges and universities through the archive’s "Campus Campaign." Pacifica doesn't accept corporate funding, and it's hoping to fundraise a matching amount from its listeners.
The recordings were made between 1963 and 1987, and we even have a sample for you. This is the voice of Bella Abzug, a member of the House of Representatives and leader of the women’s movement, recorded in 1981.