Juneteenth and Black Lives Matter: Fulfilling the Promise of Freedom and Prosperity

SFHDC was founded in 1988 by African American community activists, advocates and leaders who were tired of witnessing and experiencing first-hand the disastrous displacement that for decades disproportionately affected low-income and middle class communities of color in San Francisco, particularly Black residents.  Although the expression of “Black Lives Matter” would not reach the broad consciousness of our nation for another 30 years, this basic principle has fueled the work of SFHDC over that time to empower those whom society has either neglected, abandoned from prosperity or actively suppressed.

 

At every turn, our mission to provide affordable housing, increase homeownership and promote financial empowerment has been thwarted by an ongoing series of the economic assaults, targeted abuse and societal stress against the Black community. In the 32 years of our existence, SFHDC has witnessed the reduction and destruction of the City’s historically black neighborhoods of Bayview Hunters Point and the Fillmore/Western Addition, the outcome of which has been a near eradication of Black people and culture from the city of San Francisco.

 

We applaud those individuals who are taking to the streets in large numbers with signs to send a message loud and clear that progress can no longer be delayed. We are excited by the wave of momentum that is drawing the country’s attention to the mistreatment of Black Americans and other disenfranchised members of our communities. We are equally heartened by the diversity of people expressing their opposition to the unfair behavior and inequitable policies, practices and laws that have sown discrimination, disadvantage and displacement of Black people in these United States of America.

 

As we stand on the shore of what we hope is a watershed moment in reversing this country’s dark history, we feel energized and emboldened to harness this moment and embrace our mission with renewed urgency. We are hopeful that the ultimatum for change across multiple systems will finally reap the lasting benefits that our organization and so many others nationwide have pursued for so long. Benefits that will reduce disparities in opportunities and dreams that evade Black people, not just in San Francisco, but across this country.

 

You can count on us to continue our important work alongside supporters, clients, residents, leaders, and all who know in their hearts that Black Lives Matter.  Likewise, we ask you to give of your time, money or other resources to any organization or group helping to ignite the change.  Now is not the time to be a bystander. Now is not the time to be silent. Now is not the time to do nothing.

 

While not everyone can march or protest, everyone can do something to make the most of this pivotal moment in your own way. The most important thing is that we each take action today and sustain the momentum of change until all residents of this country are on equal footing. On this holiday of Juneteenth, let us finish the work started so long ago, so that it can truly be a celebration of freedom and prosperity for all.