This story is prompted by a picket sign I saw at a recent anti-police brutality protest sponsored by two San Francisco families, one Latino and one Black, whose sons were shot dead in separate incidents following a barrage of police bullets.
Among the crowd of 150 activists standing in the pouring rain in front of the police-barricaded Bayview police station, were four young people holding a sign that simply read, “The Last 3 Percent.”
I thought their message was both powerful and poignant.
The words refer not directly to police violence but to the broader problem of the mass exodos of African Americans from San Francisco. Thousands have left their city of birth not because of any personal preference but because of political decisions and economic policies, many set into motion several decades ago.
Certainly, being one of the most expensive places to live in the entire world poses a challenge to the budgets of all working-class residents.
But, Black families are hit in particularly harsh and uniquely racist ways.
In a nutshell, as prominent San Francisco historian and veteran community activist Calvin Welch described to me, the city’s vast construction boom is designed to increase the value of property and to boost the profits of private developers instead of improving the lives of people and communities, especially those living on the sidelines of this great prosperous city.