I Am San Francisco

By Kheven Lagrone and Jarrel Phillips

We are the San Francisco no one talks about
—James Baldwin

Today, a native Black San Franciscan often hears, “An African American born in San Francisco? I’ve never met one before. You must be one of the few.”

For many of us, the questions conjure up feelings of marginalization and confront us with the reality of losing our homes. Just what does it mean to be a native San Franciscan? In response to this challenge we are creating two public art exhibitions on the theme I Am San Francisco. The first, curated by Kheven LaGrone, is subtitled (Re)Collecting the Home of Native Black San Franciscans, the second, by Jarrel Phillips, is Black Past and Presence.

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Heritage of Healing: Ecology of Hope

By Kelly Curry

It’s a bright sunny Sunday and I’m sitting in my homeboy’s restaurant drinking a cup of his rich, black coffee. With ceiling fans whirling overhead, the last customer, of the last rush, hustles out the door. He nods goodbye to him and then turns to me, “What are you doing today?”

I tell him I’m working on a series of interviews with guys who have recently been released from prison and are now working the land and growing food for the community.

“What a joke.” He says, grabbing the remote and pointing it towards the wide flat screen overhead, “Those guys don’t stand a chance,” he mashes the mute button, “why would anybody hire a ex-con when they can have a guy with no record, never did anything and works hard? You know what a thief does? They steal...you know what a junkie does? They use. End of story.”

Street Knowledge: Power for Positive Change

By Nicole Lee

2014 DetermiNation Media GroupThroughout California and across the country, communities of color are caught in a cycle of violence and mass incarceration, a cycle whose wheels were in motion years before the young people being pushed into this system were even born. These wheels turn in a staggeringly unequal economy where quality jobs are scarce—especially for young people of color—and the average CEO of a large corporation earns more than 350 times the average worker;[1] they turn in the schools, where only 56 percent of California’s black male students get their diploma in four years;[2] they turn in the justice system, where the criminalization of youth of color and entire communities—especially African American and Latino men—has helped give the United States the highest incarceration rate in the world.

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Black Lives Matter Allies in Change

Interview by Margi Clarke and Preeti Shekar

In September 2015, Reimagine! invited five Bay Area activists to discuss how their organizations and communities relate to the Movement for Black Lives.  Our wide-ranging discussion lasted over 90 minutes.  You can listen online at: reimaginerpe.org/radio. Below we share some edited excerpts of the conversation, organized by speaker.

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