Sweeping us Away like we were Trash- The kkkorporately clean streets of Ed Lee

Tiny - Posted on 05 March 2016

Sweeping UnHoused San franciscans like we were trash
On the last Friday in Black Herstory Month and fresh from the scab of the million dollar corporate sports giveaway that was the stupid bowl the City launched a wholesale attack on unhoused San Franciscans still remaining on Division street, most of them, Black Unhoused San Franciscans, whose homes were stolen by privatized lies of public housing theft, useless section 8 certificate giveaways  and greedy landlords.

“They raised the rent on my Bayview apt by $300.00 dollars in one month, and the new Lennar homes in HP turned me down cause i didn’t pass their credit check,” Lena Smith, one of many unhoused San Franciscans who were part of our WeSearch team on Division street. Lena continued, “the city offered us all a bed in the new pier 80 warehouse, I went there twice this week but they said there were no more beds.”  

 Lena was one of dozens of unhoused San Franciscans who received a 72 hour notice on Wednesday, Feb 23rd stating that they must vacate Division street and that their belongings would be seized if they remained on Division street, due to so-called public health concerns.

These racist, classist stereotypes were ironic considering the majority of the unhoused, poverty skolaz who participated in the WeSearch project on Division st were careful to keep their areas clean and were constantly sweeping and organizing in and around their tents. It also made me think about the raced and classed notions of Houselessness and how many housed, tech workers with resources rarely clean their apartments but don’t receive citations, inspections, or warnings of eviction, not to mention all the other stereotypes they say about unhoused peoples like we are all on drugs, when so many housed, rich white people are addicted to substances and no-one inspects their apartments or condos and serves them eviction notices.

Similarily, how did the US Inc adopt a notion of "cleanliness" that meant the lack of humans. How did so many of our cities in stolen turtle Island all become a Starbucks cafe?

On Thursday leading up to the sweep threat Amy Farah Weiss from the St Francis Homelessness Challenge who had been working to get tents and blankets to unhoused folks for the last several weeks launched a vigil at Division st.

At 5am on Friday morning a small crew of housing activists and us unhoused revolutionaries from Coalition on Homelessness, POOR Magazine and conscious community members and Rainbow market worker- owners who launched a project called coffee Not Cops joined the vigil on Division st and Harrison to cop watch and DPW watch so that the impending “sweeps” of human beings did not happen.

“Im just trying to help, we aren’t here to hurt anyone,” After nothing happening for several minutes we received word that a “sweep” was happening a couple blocks away. When we arrived the DPW trucks followed closely by SFPD claimed they were there to “help”, “ We are just trying to keep things clean.” oddly after we arrived they didn’t really do anything to clean and were pretty defensive and n typical plantation politricks move of the United Snakes the workers were mostly men of color in the position of “helping” ( read moving) the belongings of other unhoused men and women of color.

After about 30 more minutes, we got word that the sweeps were called off for this morning. Later that day another “sweep “ was threatened, in both cases people and media showed up and sweeps were called off, sort of.

“They were out here all day , cleaning up” reporter Bob X another WeSearcher and resident of Division, “ they power-washed the sidewalks with a chemical made by the same people that make round-up (by Monsanto). They continued to circle all day, taking our belongings and claiming they were trash, claiming we would get them back but we all know thats a lie, “ he concluded.

By mid-day a newly wet division street was pretty much the same with a few less tents. Police officers were telling any remaining folks to go the big shelter in the sky aka Pier 80, a huge weird jail-like place down at the bay which had been filled for the last few days. The tragic day was surreal, DPW trucks were constantly circling. We got word that another 5pm sweep would include riots cops and more DPW workers, and again the media and the people showed up, even the Amilcar Perez Lopez March wound over to Division street to stand in witness.  In the end, although there weren’t necessarily sweeps of tents, there was non-stop intimidation, threats and the lingering question, “where could people go?”

In the middle of all this "sweeping"  there was a weird "emergency hearing" held at City Hall. Poltricksters spoke in soft tones about other options and things they were tryin to do to help, not hurt. I approached the mayors handlers and told them about Homefulness- a poor and indigenous people-led solution to Homelessness. And then....

24 hours later everyone was gone...

By the next morning - all of Division street's unhoused San Francisco residents were "swept" like we were bundles of trash. Now we are only a "messy" memory, and yet we are still here.

Now we are hiding in doorways, in backs of buildings,, dumpsters, outskirts and corners of things unseen. Deeper and deeper into concrete jungle creavases, just trying to be ok.



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