Three upcoming events on housing in San Francisco

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There are a few upcoming opportunities to have your say in the ongoing dialogue about the San Francisco tenants’ struggle as long-term renters grapple with rising rents and the threat of displacement.

Amid the housing pressure, a thriving tenants’ rights movement has unfolded in the city to spur multiple legislative pushes for reform. These conversations (and the art exhibit to piece these issues together on a deeper level) are timely.

Wed/12: San Francisco Neighborhoods on the Brink: A Panel Discussion on Displacement, Gentrification, Rising Rents & the Loss of Affordable Housing

Hosted by San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia, this panel discussion will feature comments by District 11 Sup. John Avalos, Public Policy Director of the Chinatown Community Development Center Gen Fujioka, and SFUSD teacher and Ellis Act target Sarah Brant.

An announcement description says the discussion will focus on the “dilemma facing long-time residents and renters of modest means — and the gutting and gentrification of San Francisco — as real estate speculation and a quickly widening income gap drive rents to dizzying heights while the rental supply dwindles.”

Details here.

“There’s a difference between a neighborhood changing—which is natural and organic—versus the destruction of a neighborhood, its history and legacy, which is what is happening right now in the Mission District.” Alejandro Murguía

Wed/12: "Sólo Mujeres: HOME / inside out" - An interdisciplinary exhibit at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

Curated by Susana Aragón and Indira Urrutia, this exhibition features 24 women artists in exploring the symbolic space of home through a variety of mediums, including installation, painting, photography, sculpture, poetry, video and mixed media. Artists include Yolanda Lopez, Xuchi Eggleton, Ximena Sosa, Windsong, Susana Aragón, Sofía Elías, Tina Escaja, Tanya Marie Vlach, Rebeca García Gonzales, Solange Bonilla Leahy, Natalia Anciso, Melanie Lacy Kusters, Marta R, Zabaleta, Mariella Zevallos, Indira Urrutia, Gabriela Luz Sierra, Flor Khan, Fan Warren, Cristina Ibarra, Clara Cheeves, Carmen Lang, Camila Perez-Goddard, Anna Simson, Alejandra Rassvetaieff, Adriana Camarena.

From the announcement: “A home is a place that is close to our heart, it triggers self-reflection, thoughts about who someone is or used to be or who they might become. Each room or space is connected to memories, feelings, ideas, dreams, etc. As part of the exhibit, the gallery will be transformed into a house which rooms will be delimited by see through fabric to show the fragility of housing in The San Francisco’s Mission District.

It opens at 7pm with a live performance by María José Montijo and Diana Gameros. Details here.

Wed/19: Affordable housing from multiple perspectives

The Noe Valley Democratic Club is hosting what it calls “a distinguished and authoritative panel of experts” who will speak about affordable housing in the Bay Area. What’s interesting about this event is that it will bring together folks who are leading a citywide push at the grassroots level to strengthen tenants’ rights, as well as people from more developer-friendly entities such as SPUR (San Francisco Bay Area Planning and   Research Association) and the San Francisco Housing Action Committee.

The panelists will include:

Sarah Karlinsky, (panel moderator), Deputy Director of SPUR (San Francisco Bay Area Planning and   Research Association)

Douglas Shoemaker, President of Mercy Housing California, a non-profit dedicated to affordable      housing development, fundraising and services.

Teresa Yanga, Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing

Tim Colen , Executive Director of San Francisco Housing Action Committee

Fernando Martí, Co-Director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO)

Sara Shortt, Executive Director of the San Francisco Housing Rights Committee 

Details here.

One final tidbit, tangentially related at best. Salon has a great article, Gentrifying the dharma” How the 1 percent is hijacking mindfulness, which thoughtfully examines a trend that has led Buddhists to fear that their religion is turning into a designer drug for the elite.”

(A few weeks ago activists with Eviction Free San Francisco disrupted a Google panel about mindfulness, triggering a decidedly unenlightened onstage tug-of-war over a banner.)

Best quote is from the Dalai Lama, who sees things this way: “Capitalism only takes the money. Then, exploitation.”

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