Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Getting Work Done: Rally at the Planning Hearing (07/10/2008)

Several housing rights and community organizations gathered on the steps of City Hall on July 10th, 2008 to show support and unity towards the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan. Many are affected with the prospect of zoning changes, and heavy hitting redevelopment corporations/agencies with the interests of a specific kind of growth in mind, that doesn't typically include families that decide to make their homes in the city.

Following support, I was able to take my camera into the hearing room, and document the 15-minute presentation from SOMCAN that broke down more terms of the the Youth and Family Zone (More on the YFZ in another entry).

Here's a short compilation of the rally:

Some of the speakers included: Marti D., Mai D., Eric Quezada, and folks from PODER, POOR represented as well.

I broke down the hearing into components of the presentation (In the queue for upload are both Chris Durazo's, and April Veneracion's part of the presentation):

If you want to watch this particular hearing, or any other hearing for that matter, hit up the San Francisco GOV TV website. Here's a link directly to the City Planning Commission's meetings. As an aside, it's impressive and makes complete sense that these hearings are available online. Granted, transparency in bureaucracy can never get to 100%, at least it's a step in the responsible direction.

So what's next for SOMCAN? Gathering more support for the Youth and Family Zone, and working towards meeting with the City Planning Staff responsible for the EN plan and working it to get the language and terms down on the page for the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors to approve and implement.

Estimated time line? Perhaps naively I thought that a final draft of the plans would be set on the tables of the Planning Commission by the end of this month, however, as I've quickly RE-learned, that one can't ever be certain with so many political interests in mind.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Implementation: Silkscreen, Session 2 of 4 - CPA Youth

Also producing material for the Silkscreening sessions are the youth from the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA).

CPA has a long history with grassroots organizing starting in the 1970s. In fact, the 1970s presented a strong period of Pan-Asian collective consciousness, and collaboration. Their website provides an overview of their campaigns through the decades, so be sure to fill in on their background information.

I asked several of the youth organizers (Tiffany Ng, Annie Liu, Jenny Deng, Edmond Tang, June Su, Emily Lee their mentor) about their designs, their work in CPA, and how it fits in to their development and ability to engage in critical dialog.

Although not located in the SOMA, CPA's work in Chinatown carries strong reverberations in the SOMA.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Implementation: Silkscreen, Session 2 of 4 - PODER Youth

I jumped into the last hour of the 2nd session of the Silk Screening Class, and right away pulled out the camera to document this weeks progress, and let me say that from the get, these youth didn't mind at all that I was documenting their process, asking them questions about their day, about their process and progress, or as Einar S. so deftly asked, "Isn't our progress our process?"

Mind you, I wasn't giving them the third degree, calling them out, what have you - I suppose it's a guilty pleasure of mine to ask all the youth that I've worked with to explain what it is they're doing, how they're going about it, etc. All with the interests to vindicate any naysayers to public service/civic engagement/youth work. It's damn affirming when any one youth can explicitly articulate the structures that be and how to work said structures in interpersonal relations with no half-steppin' and no slippin'.

PODER (People Organizing to Demand Environment & Economic Rights), is a grassroots organization based in San Francisco's Mission district. In a neighborhood that's continually evolving with/against/forwards/sideways/backwards with gentrification, organizations like PODER and their allies work with the immigrant and low-income residents with the intent to build and foster empowerment through campaigns that serve the interests of many of the folks involved. I could go on and on, with citation after another about their campaigns, but I encourage everyone to peep their website, learn a little. Common Roots is the program that bridges the youth from CPA (Chinese Progressive Association) with the youth from PODER in efforts to solidify their coalition, and build up the next generation's leaders.

I sat with Fabiola R., Ingried S. (who proudly stated that her three brothers were in the mix), Yosei, S., Juan S., Christian S., Fernando M.R., and Einar S., and they broke it down for me. The PODER youth meet weekly at El Centro Del Pueblo, and I was told that the showing to the classes are nothing but a fraction of the youth that gather in their small space in the back of the offices, where they hold educational workshops that speak to their communities and campaigns.

They recently had a block party replete with free burritos, an urban art-faire, and was an overall "positive space," as Fernando affirmed with a charismatic smile.

I asked about their progress/process in the classroom and asked them to break down designing for me:

I dunno about y'all but I was impressed with their forward thinking. A way of working the involves implementing political education and empowerment, in addition to economical education and empowerment. It's certainly one thing to drop knowledge on inequalities, it's another to be able to hustle to keep the coffers full so that you can continually learn and drop that knowledge. Dope.

Keep posted for a vid with the CPA youth....

Oh and if you do read this in time, come out for the rally in front of City Hall today -- see flyer in previous post.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Implementation: Silkscreen, Session 1 of 4

It took a minute folks, but I finally uploaded a short video of the Silkscreening class being held at Asian Neighborhood Design.

In addition to the SOMCAN ENACT youth and adult organizers, the folks at PODER (People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights), and CPA (Chinese Progressive Association) sent their cadres of youth to learn a historically populist artform known as Silkscreening, or Screen-printing.

The instructors were Jesus Barraza of Taller Tupac Amaru, and Vicki Carr of the SF Print Collective.

The video above includes a handful of what happened during the first session, and I'll be documenting the subsequent 3 sessions, and what I'm hoping to explore in the next 3 sessions are how these groups articulate both the core and the immediate of their campaigns and how to create an image and design the is mindful of everyone's input.

Oh, and I hope to document the fun inherent within printmaking and collaborations -- especially with youth productions.