As a person who has lived and worked in the Tenderloin and Central South of Market communities for well over a decade, I have a message for my community about the recent actions of the San Francisco Redistricting Taskforce.
First, to my beloved Tenderloin & Central SoMa family and friends. I’m sorry. I’m sorry because I know you trusted me to be a voice for you in this process. You asked me to fight to secure justice for you and to protect you from harm brought against you by a political and financial elite of this city. I’m sorry for the real harm and suffering that this taskforce will cause in your daily lives. I wish I could have done more, but I promise to continue fighting for and with you forever and as hard as I can.
I’m sorry also to the broader communities of color, marginalized residents and the most vulnerable members of our city. I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to protect you from the violence that this taskforce inflicted with malice against you.
Don’t give up. You are not alone. I see you, I hear you, even if this taskforce was deaf to your tears and cries. Yet something amazing has happened. They sought to divide us and set us against each other. They have failed. New alliances have formed between our communities citywide. We have become a new force, united. We have become a force that will ultimately bring down the very political and financial elites that have weaponized this taskforce against the people of this city.
The Tenderloin will still support our neighbors in Central SoMa as well as deepen our connections with the rest of our allies in our new District 5. We look forward to working with Dean Preston, our new Supervisor for the Tenderloin, as we continue to advance our movement for justice and equity for all our residents, housed and unhoused.
Finally, I would like to end with the famous words of 19th century reformer and abolitionist Theodore Parker, words which also inspired Martin Luther King Jr.: “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.“
Stay strong. We are together, we are strong, we are JUST. And we will win in the end!
To the four of the nine taskforce members who displayed an actual moral compass, human compassion, sense of justice and truth, thank you for your leadership and principle. I support you and thank you for your attempts to secure justice for all of San Francisco.
Curtis Bradford is a co-chairperson of the Tenderloin People’s Congress, an organization that is now in the newly assigned District 5.