Newsrooms across the country have been in overdrive most of this year, covering a global pandemic, a primary and a presidential election and protests against systemic racism and police brutality. Contributors with YR Media, a national network of young journalists and artists, many of them people of color, have been covering the events of 2020 with reporting and perspectives that are rarely afforded space and attention in national or corporate outlets.
At a march planned for Thursday evening in San Francisco, activists say they will demand that the Board of Supervisors put forward a budget with deep enough cuts to the city’s police and sheriff departments to reduce the number of officers in the city by 200.
In response to the disproportionate law enforcement violence against people with mental illness and amid ongoing calls to defund or reform police, activists with the Anti Police-Terror Project on Friday night will launch an initiative in Oakland designed to offer an alternative to calling the police in mental health crises. The initiative, called M.H. First Oakland, will begin operations as a hotline with the number (510) 999-9MH1.
This year the census, a constitutionally mandated count of every person in the country every 10 years, is being conducted primarily online for the first time. While the shift offered convenience to the digitally connected, many communities already considered “hard to count” include people with limited digital tools or literacy that put the digital questionnaire out of reach. With the coronavirus pandemic and confusing federal directives, the in-person enumeration most likely to document them has been delayed and cut short.
The decennial census is used to determine how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. And according to the Project on Government Oversight, California can also expect to receive more than $170 billion in census-guided federal funding over the next ten years. In a July memo, the President sought to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count used to apportion representatives. But past encounters with well-meaning government agents have already made some homeless, poor, undocumented and otherwise marginalized people skeptical that being counted will actually benefit them.
Nearly 2,500 cases of verbal and physical attacks against Asian Americans were reported between March 19 and July 22 to a tracking project called Stop AAPI Hate, a group representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Dr. Russell Jeung, chair and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, has called on local, state and federal governments to reject racist rhetoric and commit to anti-racist messaging.
When actor and director Khalia Davis was growing up in the 1990s, children’s entertainment rarely addressed racism. When it did — in books about Ruby Bridges or special episodes of television shows like “Family Matters” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” — it was never explicit.
Now in 2020, after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement across the country, Davis is producing and directing “A Kids Play About Racism,” which will be streaming, free of charge, on Broadway on Demand this weekend.
On June 2, police in Vallejo shot and killed a 22-year-old San Francisco man, Sean Monterrosa through the windshield of a police truck while Monterrosa was kneeling. Since then, the California attorney general has announced an investigation into the Vallejo police department. The detective who shot Monterrosa, Jarrett Tonn, was found to have been involved in three other shootings. A windshield that was shattered during the shooting was not preserved as evidence, and video relevant to the incident was initially withheld. According to the news site Open Vallejo, Monterrosa was the 19th person killed by the Vallejo police department in 10 years.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to stay home from work and school, but it has not suppressed a deep cultural impulse for expressing frustration, solidarity and demand for change through public protest. This year, that impulse has come from across the political spectrum, with early statehouse demonstrations decrying economic shutdown, followed by a national wave of protests against racism and police brutality. Marke Bieschke gives the conversation about these events and an even broader range of actions historical context with his new book, “Into the Streets: A Young Person’s Visual History of Protests in the United States.”
The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color throughout the Bay Area — as of late April, state health department data showed Black Californians were dying from COVID-19 at nearly twice the rate of white residents. In the Bay Area, Latino and Black residents have been testing positive at much higher rates than other groups. At a panel organized by the coalition of health departments known as BARHII, Black community leaders from fields ranging from public education to community development to transportation, said those most affected have not been given a seat at the table when it comes to determining the region’s pandemic response. In these excerpts from their remarks, they discuss initiatives they have set in motion to support their communities during the pandemic and what they would like to see done next. “We have to center the leadership of those who are impacted by the issues.
San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood has been hit especially hard by COVID-19, and residents sheltering in place in the area have for years faced elevated levels of air pollution from a variety of nearby sources. Recently, advocates have raised concerns about potentially toxic dust they fear is being generated by a nearby construction project.