San Francisco’s new poet laureate, Tongo Eisen-Martin, is a city native raised by local organizers, and his work is deeply political. On “Civic,” Eisen-Martin reflected on national politics in the wake of the summer uprisings against police brutality and racism, the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the presidential inauguration.
Portia Li had been covering San Francisco’s Chinese community for the World Journal, a large Chinese-language newspaper, since 1986. She was laid off in April. Li told “Civic” that readers who missed her byline encouraged her to start her own newspaper.
Millions of Californians have gotten a push notification on their phones asking them to opt in to CA Notify to get warnings from their phones if they have been in close proximity to someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus. Gennie Gebhart, the activism director with the digital civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation, explained to “Civic” how the system works and what information is exchanged.
A new documentary, “Playing for Keeps,” posits that humans benefit greatly from playing and suffer when we are deprived of play. Isabella Miller, who prior to the coronavirus pandemic would regularly go swing dancing, and David Miles Jr., the proprietor of San Francisco’s Church of 8 Wheels, are featured in the film and joined “Civic” to reflect on how they play and how that has shaped their lives.
San Francisco health officials have set an ambitious goal of vaccinating all 900,000 people who live and work in the city by the end of June, and took a step toward that goal Friday by opening a mass vaccination center at City College of San Francisco. The site was announced this week, amid confusion and frustration with the city’s notification system and vaccine rollout.
In San Francisco, many of those supportive programs for businesses and workers come through the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Director Joaquín Torres spoke with “Civic,” a radio show and podcast from the San Francisco Public Press, to talk about how the city is trying to help.
State Sen. Nancy Skinner wrote SB 1421 to open up law enforcement disciplinary records. In 2020, she moved to expand that legislation to grant access to records about officers who engaged in biased or discriminatory behavior or used excessive or unreasonable force.
A new documentary, “Dennis: The Man Who Legalized Cannabis,” retraces Dennis Peron’s path from being discharged from the military to organizing to pass a ballot measure that allowed for medical cannabis in California.
Journalists have also found it difficult to get answers to questions from various city departments during the pandemic. The San Francisco Public Press hosted a roundtable discussion with local reporters about the difficulties they have experienced in accessing public information.
“Unless you are building this specifically with the marginalized and vulnerable groups, it’s hard to build any system like this that does anything but further oppress people who are already under the thumb of various other structures and various other bureaucracies and powers,” said research fellow Ali Alkhatib.