Rally Reflection

IMG_2512 (1)Hello, I am Sally Phi, a returning SWEP intern here at Veterans Equity Center.

A rally was held in front of a house at 521-523 NATOMA STREET. A family was currently successful in saving their home and did not get evicted for minor lease infractions. This rally was held to show that if you fought back, using your rights, you can make a difference. At the rally, there were people of different ages, ranging from 8 year old to senior citizens. Many organizations such as Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (APILO), Eviction Free San Francisco, South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN), and many others joined together to actively help this family to fight for their home. This rally was also held to help expose the ‘Just Cause’ Eviction Protections 2.0. The Eviction Protections 2.0 are revisions to San Francisco’s Rent Control Ordinance to fix the loopholes that landlords has been taking advantage of. Landlords now often get greedy for money and find little agreements in their leases that was broken by their tenants to evict them. They evict tenants to raise rent for the next tenant or convert their building to condos to make even more money. Some things that are mentioned in the revised Eviction Protection 2.0 is that tenants need to be given a fair amount of time to fix their mistakes that was most likely unintended or harmless or they needed to be given a justified reason for being evicted. Tenants should also have the right to know where they can receive legal help on their notice of eviction, because most of the time even English speakers are not aware of what exactly a notice means and how to respond to it.

IMG_2509 (1)Hearing these organizations giving their speeches really reached out to me. The one that reached out to me the most was from an organization named the United Playaz. What people think is that when something not right is done, they expect the law or people of higher power to step in and help. That is not the case, you have to make your own case/issue known. You have to fight back and you do not have to necessarily do it on your own. You should gather your community together and fight back, because at the end of it all, where does the problem lead back to? It leads back to your community/neighborhood and they would have to deal with the consequences. They have a saying that I find really inspiring and moving and it’s, “It takes the hood to save the hood”. I could not find any one who could have said it any better. If you want justice for you or your community, you got to get it yourself. This rally was an important event because events like today helps spread awareness to people about current issues in the SOMA community or the general San Francisco community all together. You can share struggling stories to help inspire others and to connect with everyone. Listening to some of the adults’ stories about their history of eviction really hit me close to home. My family has 8 members and we were once living in a one-room apartment in the Tenderloins. Even though the apartment was tiny, it was still considered home. At that time I was only 5, so I never considered the stressful thoughts my parents and older siblings had to worry about when we had to find a new place to live that fit our income. For the past ten years, I have been living in a house by rent, with enough space for my family, thanks to certain help for being able to afford such a place. Witnessing all these people gathering together to help one another keep their homes or get a home is really moving. It is wonderful knowing that there are children who are aware of issues like this because they are the future, they will be the ones to make the difference/impact in the world. Seeing a rally like this, was a great experience for me. It makes me realize that even though I am just a high school student, there is still so much that I can do. Just like these wonderful children said, “Stand up, fight back!”

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