Invisible: Black and Homeless in San Francisco

Black woman in African headwrap against a red, gold and green background

by Akir Jackson

To most people, I’m invisible. Just another nameless Black man blending into the urban background. People avoid making eye contact as they walk past me on the sidewalk. Pretend not to notice me shivering on the street corner. But if you look closely at the worn lines on my face, you’ll see the story of how I wound up here.

I’ve been homeless on and off for the past decade since losing my job as a machinist.

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Blackness and Homelessness Intersect in San Francisco

Black woman in African headwrap against a red, gold and green background

by Samel Leparan

The intersection of Blackness and homelessness in San Francisco is a history that can be told in several ways. To intersect means having at least one element in common. But what do blackness and homelessness have in common? Where do blackness and homelessness meet in San Francisco? 

Let’s dive directly into the most common views and well observed elements that directly or indirectly intersect blackness and homelessness in San Francisco.

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“Oppenheimer” and the Story Behind Those Who Lost Their Land to the Lab

The town of Los Alamos, New Mexico with Fuller Lodge and the "Big House" dormitories is seen in an undated photograph. Department of Energy/Handout via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC29C2A06ME3

by Andrew Hay, Reuters/International Network of Street Papers

In the movie Oppenheimer the eponymous character played by Cillian Murphy says the proposed site for a secret atomic weapons lab in northern New Mexico has only a boys’ school and Indians performing burial rites.

But there were homesteaders living on that land.

In 1942, the US Army gave 32 Hispano families on the Pajarito Plateau 48 hours to leave their homes and land,

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Anti-Homeless Violence

The New Lynchings of the 21st Century

Updated on May 16th to reflect current developments

What does Walgreens carry on its shelves that could be worth a human life? Banko Brown was a young Black trans activist who had been unhoused in San Francisco for a decade. In his volunteer work and community organizing with the Young Women’s Freedom Center, he consistently advocated for basic access to services, and was beloved by his community. 

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Dismantling Anti-Black Racism in the U.S.

by Martine Khumalo

Black people in America have clear visions for how to achieve change when it comes to racial inequality. This vision includes supporting significant reforms to, or complete overhauls of, several American institutions to ensure fair treatment, among them the criminal justice system and  political engagement and voting. This vision also involves supporting Black businesses to advance Black communities and providing reparations in the forms of educational, business and homeownership assistance. 

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