Scenes and thoughts from last night’s march for solidarity

Last night, there was a march for solidarity in response to the rape attempt reported on January 8. Participants marched to 24th St. BART at 5:30pm and stopped to let volunteers speak and share their thoughts.

While some of the speakers talked about ways for potential victims to stay safe, such taking self defense classes, carrying mace, and not walking home alone, I was moved by some of the more idealogical issues about the surrounding community that were discussed. Some of my takeaways of that kind were:

  • If someone says she was sexually assaulted, believe her.
  • Don’t ignore cries for help.
  • Get to know everyone in your neighborhood.
  • Don’t blame the victim.
  • Don’t joke about rape.

The reason these things hit home for me is because I, like many of you, read comments on this blog. I know that a few commenters fall under these categories when we post about these incidents.

If your first reaction to sensational reports that don’t show up on the news first is to think that they are a hoax, then please consider that some rapes go unreported because victims are afraid they won’t be taken seriously and that they will be shamed in their communities. In fact, I just heard about someone who still thought that the recently-convicted Mission rapist of last year was an “internet hoax”!

No, we aren’t seasoned reporters, but we are members of this community and if we don’t take it seriously, how do we expect anyone else to? It starts here, folks.

We live in a crazy neighborhood where wild stuff happens all the time. We can get numb to it. But we should never turn a blind eye to people in danger. There are so many different people living in the Mission who are invisible to one another. Stopping and getting to know your neighbors can go a long way in knowing when something isn’t right.

Stay safe everybody, but also keep others safe.

[Top photo via Adrian Arias]

Critical Mass 20th Anniversary today

In case you haven’t heard, Critical Mass is celebrating its 20th anniversary tonight at 6pm in what is sure to be an epic ride featuring cyclists from all over the place coming to the city to participate.  Regardless of how you feel about the movement, you really have to appreciate the fact that it galvanizes so many people.  Allan seems to love the good-natured fun of the whole spectacle, while I on the other hand (as someone who commutes 20 miles on my bicycle each day) usually already have to deal on a daily basis with tons of shitty, angry motorists who I would prefer to not further piss off lest they proceed to hate me so much that they try to hurt me while I’m riding.  Especially with that riding circles in busy intersections nonsense.

In any case, what allegedly all began as “a bunch of drunk bike messengers who got tired of SF police handing out $20 tickets to cyclists all the time for bullshit minor offenses, like not putting your foot down at a stop sign, so they decided to shut down some key intersections around the city and show the cops they couldn’t just fuck with them” has now become quite the thing, and it’s not going away anytime soon, so you might as well just forget about what you were planning on getting done today and check it out yourself!

Also, non-cyclists?  Perhaps this might be a good day to avoid Market St and take BART instead, alright?

Previously:

Free Bradley Manning rally at 16th and Mission

Many veterans are out in the streets this afternoon protesting the 2010 arrest and detainment of Bradley Manning, the Army soldier who gave WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The leak brought to light many details and events that embarrassed the military, such as efforts to drastically lower the public civilian death count.

You can learn more about Manning and the case at bradleymanning.org, or get the gist of it at Manning’s Wikipedia page.

Who silenced Cesar Chavez?

Our buddy Christopher sent us this pic he took at the Street Food Festival of the mural at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. There is a large white stripe that almost seems as if it’s specifically covering Chavez’s mouth.

Hmmmm . . . ?

Area man is taking down your fliers and littering them

Armed with a paint scraper, this guy came blustering down 17th clearing our city’s telephone poles of xeroxed flyers and other like debris. Unfortunately, his cleanliness≈godliness approach did not extend to the sidewalks, where he discarded newly created trash as he continued on his rampage. I tailed him until Guerrero (well, I was on my way home) where he ducked through a doorway to pick up his dry cleaning.

Have you heard about Summer Commune?

Josh Heller and 30+ of his closest friends are spending the summer in Moscow, ID. In order to escape the stresses and expenses of big city life, they have converged on the small college town (population 23,000) for a summer of day hikes, art projects, and general summer fun. Working with the town to organize public events, the communers hope to create a temporary community of creative types that will hopefully recur in the coming years. We spoke with Josh as he was setting up shop in his new home town.

MM: How’s it going so far? What are you doing in terms of organization? Is there a schedule?

JH: I’ve been meeting with business leaders and city council to talk about venues and places that we can have events. So we have some more formal things that we are working on actively. We have a kickoff event scheduled for June 16th. [Communer] Nicole Kelly is a fiction writer – she’s been helping set up a fiction reading series. Christin Lee, who’s been really helpful, is trying to set up a gallery showcase for studio art. So we have those kinds of things.

For things that are a little bit less formal, we really want for people who are coming to make it a participatory event. So if you have a skill or an interesting background, we want to have presentations or talks to involve other people and what they’re doing. Those things are still in the process, based in a lot of ways on who’s coming.

Then we have the very casual, which is pot lucks and happy hours and camping trips.

MM: Tell me a little bit about the launch party.

JH: Well, this summer, we’re trying to make three big events that are incorporating the summer communers and the local community. By the way, we weren’t sure where we were gonna go, and choosing Moscow was just the best decision. The people here have been so supportive and so excited for us to be here. So for the first party that we’re going to do, it’s a meet and greet and way to introduce the people who have just arrived to the local community. There’s a university here, so there’s already an academic community and an arts community.

MM: What are your aspirations for the summer? What would you love to see happen?

JH: The project is grounded in economic realities. If you live in the Mission right now your rent will be seven or eight hundred dollars for a room. Right now I’m living in a three bedroom house for 650 dollars. So, in the center of the country we can live way more affordably. The goal for summer commune is to help people realize that if you’re a creative person, especially in this era of mobile work, you don’t need to live in Brooklyn or Los Angeles or San Francisco. My hope is that we can create communities that we appreciate in places that are not as expensive to rent. And then obviously if you’re talking specifically about the regions where creative people live, we have gentrification and other things that are the result of this economic push. And so we’re just looking for alternatives to that.

So my aspiration would be that hopefully this idea would spread and people could do it on their own and do their own thing wherever they want.

I think it has potential to, at a minimum, be just a pretty fun summer and, at maximum, change the dynamics for the way that we interact as a global community, or something like that. [Laughs.] The possibilities are endless.

We’ll check in with Josh as the summer progresses to see how it’s going. They’ve got a Facebook page and a Tumblr if you’d like to follow along. So hey, if you just lost your job or got evicted, or if you’re just looking for a change, head to Moscow! Hang out!

[photo]

I just saw the dudes who are posting the fake ads on the bus

I had the pleasure of watching one of the new fake bus ads go up today. I was on the 49 when two young males boarded. One mentioned concernedly to the other that there was no one driving the bus. I informed them that the driver was behind the bus fixing the wires, which had fallen off the lines as the bus turned off 16th onto Mission. They removed the poster above from a small cardboard box and slipped it into an empty spot. Once their culture-jamming was complete, they quickly sped off out the back door. I tried to snap a pic of the culprits, but it was pretty grainy and I don’t know if I’d post it anyway. Suffice it to say that one of them had a pretty sweet mustache.

Guerilla culture-jammers slam local bakery

Here’s the latest in a series of shocking fake ad campaigns that have been popping up on Muni buses. The text reads: “Fartine Bakery & Cafe. Wait in line for five hours to buy a fucking donut.” Someone should smash the windows of that place before they sell any more pastries.

[Muni Diaries via Grubstreet SF]

Donate to help repair vandalized Mission businesses

As you already know, a bunch of local businesses were vandalized last night, causing what could be upwards of thousands of dollars in damage. An anonymous community member has stepped up and started a donation page, and the collected funds will go toward helping repair the businesses that were affected in last night’s riots.

These businesses include (but may not be limited to):

UPDATE: A lot of you are wondering whether this is a real donation page or a scam. I contacted the creator of the fund, and here’s what he had to say.

So I just moved into the area a little over a week ago and am very big into people taking care of their community. My Facebook account is facebook.com/ben if that helps put my name and reputation behind it. Also if there’s a way to give more authenticity to this please let me know.

As far as distribution and goal amount, I’m trying to crowd source it a bit by getting businesses to contact us with the extent of the damage but if that doesn’t work i’ll go out there and try and get hard numbers myself.

The dollar amount was simply something to shoot for that felt meaningful enough and doable. I’m open to ideas as to how to fairly distribute it, but rather than spend days debating that I’d rather get people mobilized and inspired to show their support.

I will say that I think other shows of support could be fantastic as well. I don’t know if it’s a day where we go and visit each business together, or send them something… I think something in addition to the money would be great.

UPDATE #2: It has been brought to our attention that there is a small transaction fee when you donate. Ben has generously offered to cover this fee.

[Photo via Mission Local]

An “Early Strike”

The group of people who went around the neighborhood tonight smashing up local business storefronts were not involved with the Occupy movement, according to a source who is heavily active in the movement. He concedes that there easily could be overlap in terms of people who also go to Occupy rallies, or support the cause, but that this is not action that is generally acceptable with the vastly peaceful protesters.

The source points out that wording in this post, where the above image was found, implies Black Bloc tactics, frowned upon by many Occupy protesters, and does not specifically call itself Occupy. Though it appears on a site that seems to be affiliated with Occupy Oakland.

Let’s hope that the damage done tonight ends tonight and tomorrow’s peaceful actions will strengthen, rather than overshadow, the strike’s important messages.