Tuesday, November 4th 10:59a.m.
The first thing that happened was that the Giants won the world series.
I probably wouldn’t even have noticed except I was sitting in a room talking about how eviction/gentrification is destroying communities in San Francisco when all of a sudden there were fireworks going off just outside and thousands of people poured into the streets to celebrate and break things while we kept sitting in a room talking about how eviction/gentrification is destroying communities in San Francisco.
When my meeting ended I was too exhausted to join in, and as I walked outside I watched the fireworks for a moment explode over the Mission District, the historically Latinx neighborhood being assaulted by gentrification, as someone yelled that someone had been shot just down the street. I sighed, and wished people got this worked up over evictions.
Turns out though, they were. Rioters set fire to a condo building under construction, attacked a Google bus, smashed cop cars, spray painted the name “Alex Nieto” (a latino man who was shot by police last year) all over the city. The Giants’ victory provided the moment people needed to let off steam built up by the ongoing injustices they experience every day. Somehow, the dominant narrative coming out of that day was that predominantly white sports fans rioted and trashed the city for completely apolitical reasons. But the crowd I saw that night certainly wasn’t white, and their targets certainly were not arbitrary. That was a political riot.
A few nights later I was back in the Mission District, but this time, I was there to dance. It was Halloween night, and even though I don’t often drink, I knocked back a few beers when I showed up at the party, just to loosen up. The party took off from the house and started moving down the street. All around me, drunken white people were dancing to pop music, rolling through the neighborhood drinking and partying. I climbed up onto a fancy car to dance and looked out over a crowd of hundreds.The cops weren’t going to come and arrest us. I realized that this was the real face of gentrification.
I kept drinking, and I had fun. My ex-boyfriend had come out to join me and we danced all over the place, climbed things, talked about direct action over Mexican food, and at some point we were kissing. It’s amazing how even after months of separation, old patterns come back so quickly. Kissing felt so comfortable.
Also, I may or may not also have peed on a cop car?
The night ended when we found a drunk man passed out by a dumpster, force-fed him water, and carried him back to BART. We were talking about gentrification, drunk as we all were, and suddenly my body was just filled with rage, and I started yelling at the top of my lungs, to everyone in the BART station. Our bosses steal our work and pay us only enough to (barely) survive! Our landlords steal our rent and kick us onto the street when they find someone who will pay more! I could feel that story pumping through my body.
No one was listening.
Anyway, back on this side of the bay, I’m getting ready to get back on the streets. As soon as next week we expect to hear whether or not Darren Wilson, the cop who murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson, will be indicted. Meet me at OGP at 7pm after the announcement is made. Rain or shine!