Explaining a 2018 “Holiday Hunger Strike” of RESPECT for SF and Oakland, CA Blacks
November 21, 2018 is the day I chose to begin my, “Holiday Hunger Strike.” It is my 62nd birthday, but I know most people will be thinking of the holidays and mainly, Thanksgiving, which falls on November 22nd this year. But why do I feel the need for a hunger strike?
Answer: I am tired of being ignored by San Francisco City Hall concerning its racist treatment of its Black community.
I have a legitimate complaint: The City owes the Black communities of San Francisco and Oakland, CA an official apology.
And before my request for an official apology can go to our Black woman mayor, I feel it must be drafted and voted on by our current Board of Supervisors, with its board president also being a Black woman.
It all began in December 2010. I sent an email to the 11 member San Francisco Board of Supervisors suggesting that The City owes a San Franciscan; who has been dead almost 35 years at the time an apology, for how The City leadership treated him in 1975.
A legislative aide for one of the supervisors responded to my email with sincere intrest in helping me right this wrong, in the early part of 2011.
Soon thereafter a resolution was adopted with a co-sponsor and signed by the late Mayor Ed Lee in support of my belief. (It should be noted, the legislative aide who helped me is now an elected supervisor representing District 9. And the dead man I sought respect for was gay and White.)
I applied this same approach to other issues where I thought San Francisco should clean up past wrongs in my view as a longtime (1960) and proud San Franciscan.
Giving our elected officials an opportunity to right, wrongs, in the history of San Francisco is not unique. And I admit, when I hear of some attempts to right past wrongs with an apology, I have rolled my eyes when the wrongs date back over 100 years. Nevertheless, I strongly believe in the power of an apology.
January 2015, I sent another email to the entire legislative body of San Francisco suggesting The City owes an apology to the entire Black communities of San Francisco for The City’s history of racism against its Black citizens. And of course, I provided proof.
My reasoning was similar to the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. One must first acknowledge and admit its powerless over its problem before ever being able to correct/fix/get control of that problem. Of course, I was ignored by the entire 11 member board.
When the city of San Francisco bent rules; including the use of corruption, coveteousness, greed and deception to help the owners of the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors build an 18,000 seat arena in San Francisco, I saw an injustice and sought to right, a wrong: A city that has been historically unkind to its own Black citizens becoming home to an NBA franchise.
Adding insult to injury in wooing the Warriors back to The City, San Francisco had to disrespect another Black community in neighboring Oakland, CA to pull off this reprehensible act to gain bragging rights as home to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
For over four decades, the Warriors franchise found love and acceptance in a Black community across the bay in Oakland. This was after the “San Francisco Warriors” were forced to leave The City in 1971 due to lack of support.
Now, the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors were being called back “Home” by the late Mayor Ed Lee, who, while professing to being a big Warriors fan couldn’t even pronounce the name of the current star of the team, Stephen Curry, at the time when he referred to him as “Steven Curry.”
Knowing I was not going to get anywhere by petitioning San Francisco elected officials, I decided to put forth a ballot measure and let the voters apologize under the theme, “A world-class city helps its neighbors; it does not help itself to its neighbor’s jewels.”
I simply believed San Francisco voters were courteous enough to at least apologize for the un-neighborly actions of our local government for its role in wooing the Warriors. San Francisco taking the Golden State Warriors from Oakland was tantamount to Oakland taking the Golden Gate bridge from San Francisco, as far as I was concerned.
The measure qualified for the June 2018 ballot when my coalition first collected 14,766 signatures of registered voters of San Francisco. Its pupose was described in an SF Weekly article.
I titled the measure, “Thou Shall not Covet” but the city charter stipulates that the city attorney’s office may retitle it, which it did: “Relocation of Professional Sports Teams.”
Then the measure received close to 98,000 yes votes in that election. But it was defeated when almost 131,000 San Francisco voters, including every member of the current SF Board of Supervisors basically said, “Thou SHALL covet from thy neighbor,” by voting against apologizing to our neighbor Oakland, CA.
Back to the SF Board of Supervisors:
June 2018, I went before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and said for the next ten weeks of meetings, I would recite ten egregious acts of racism perpetrated by San Francisco government officials against members of the SF Black community, in an effort to prove that San Francisco is unfit to be home to an NBA franchise but more importantly, give the board another opportunity to apologize to its neighbor, Oakland, CA, knowing the new $1 billion SF arena is half built.
Coincidently, and unbeknownst to me, there was a June 2018 rally on the steps of SF City Hall by Black city employees demanding The City hold a hearing to address racism and bullying against Blacks.
Beginning at about the 29: 00-minute mark of this rally video, San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Fewer declared SF is, “Inherently racist” against Blacks with co-sponsors of a planned hearing, Supervisor Hillary Ronan and Supervisor Jane Kim, who called for the hearing echoing and adding to Fewer’s statement. The original hearing was scheduled for July 2018, but actually took place September 19, 2018.
UPDATE: November 27, 2018 at 3pm the full board will speak on the issues of racism and bullying Black city workers brought forth by SEIU Local 1021.
SF BOS hearing on racism in City employment. Speakers from SEIU Local 1021 tell it like it is: https://youtu.be/IkoYXzKO_so More than an hour and a half of testimony of 21st century racism in San Francisco, of all places.
My appearances before the SF Board of Supervisors in 2018 to discuss issues of SF racism are unrelated or not duplicated from the city worker’s hearing above.
Note the time before clicking the link. Then navigate to the time indicated:
1. Item 59 Public Comment: Ten Black girls housed at the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center @ the 3:21.56 mark of this video.
2. Item 23 Public Comment: Dewayne Kemp a Black man convicted of a bogus “Hate crime”@ the 1:35.20 mark of this video.
4. Item 77 Public Comment: Warriors sue Oakland in an attempt to skip out on a $40 million bill @ the 2:28.00 mark of this video.
5. Item 68 Public Comment: Honoring the dishonorable Harvey Milk @ the 3:37.33 mark of this video.
6 Item 29 Public Comment: White SF Human Rights Commission director sued for discriminating against Black subordinate @ the 1:12.27 mark of this video.
7. Item 28 Public Comment: My opinion of the SF BOS as a barfbag full of its own hypocrisy @ the 56:56 mark of this video.
8. Item 55 Public Comment: Stealing from Oakland illustration @ the 5:04.53 mark of this video.
9. Item 37 Public Comment: SF owes Oakland an apology @ the 44:08 mark of this video.
10. Item 38 Public Comment: Warriors lose in arbitration against Oakland @ the 2:58.33 mark of this video.
No one likes to be played for a fool. And my hunger strike is a simple statement: I am tired of San Francisco playing Black people for fools.
If the San Francisco Board of Supervisors can right the wrong with a posthumous apology to a gay White man, for how The City showed him no respect, why could it not apologize for how it is currently disrespecting the Black communities of San Francisco and Oakland, CA?
My hunger strike is intended to give San Franciscans another look at how it treats Black people, and the opportunity to join me in asking The City to officially apologize as a first step to healing a people, or reverse itself on its history of disrespecting Black people.
Despite the the images San Francisco City Hall portays to the world; as this city being a place of acceptance, inclusion, diversity and progressive, I see something else. And its ugly enough to cause me to lose my appetite.
- UPDATE: November 21, 2018, I began my Holiday Hunger Strike. Due to parking restrictions for street cleaning I will be moving around the block of City Hall on the Carlto B. Goodlett sideand Larkin Street.
- Final update: I ended my Holiday Hunger Strike against San Francisco racism at 7 days. The hunger strike was intended to draw attention to my belief that San Francisco owes Oakland an apology and The City leadership is racist sympathizers. And of course I was not only ignored by City Hall but the media also ignored my complaint, which is typical. The press gave a ton of press to a mountain over a molehill in the Charles Johnson campaign donation issue but largely ignored San Francisco’s own racist practices. But after listening to heart wrenching testimony yesterday on SFGOVTV live stream of a Board of Supervisors hearing dealing with city workers from SEIU local 1021 racist and bullying complaints it became clear to me. I realized The City will never apologize to its own Black communities for the years harsh treatment it continues to endure, so San Francisco leadership will not even think to offer the Black communities of Oakland an apology.
So its back to the drawing board for me.