Dear Living and Giving readers,
Yet some of us can’t leave here. But there’s plenty to do to help! There is so much!
Today, I’ve taken a look at one of our most important areas in San Francisco: Bayview-Hunters Point. It’s rich with history and culture. And it also was hit so hard by a set of circumstances that we need to help change. And that change always comes first by the people inside…. but we can get in right alongside them and serve. Our first goal to do so is to Listen. That’s the most important step in volunteering… to listen first to the people of the community.
So before we jump into help Bayview, let’s learn a bit about its culture.
This is Part One of a Series: Listening and Giving Locally: Bayview-Hunters Point
Bayview-Hunters Point was a wonderful place of opportunity in the 40s. Many people from the South escaped severe racism by coming to California. There were jobs, opportunities, and openness. The original purpose of Bayview-Hunters Point centered around the Navy shipyard in preparation for World War II. The government constructed housing for the workers and an infrastructure. All of this was good; people were providing for their families. There was purpose and a community.
However, as time passed, certain economic factors launched tough conditions. After the war ended, the Navy shipyard closed. It sparked a downturn in economic opportunities, which also led to desperation. The housing barracks stayed, but were not maintained. People’s livelihoods were destroyed, and their self-esteem and identity were equally affected.
Let’s listen to this one resident:
“A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. You are the provider. You don’t come home to your girlfriend or wife without milk and food on the table. If that means you have to do it illegally, you do it.”
And this community resident:
“The people of Bayview-Hunters Point didn’t want this life, but it was out of desperation.”
As the economic opportunities shrunk, so did the confidence of the African American community. They didn’t feel they had the support or means to take care of their families. Heroin, and then crack in the 80’s, started to take a strong hold — wrecking families.
One poignant story was of a young man who had lost his brother at age two. His mother went crazy and would get high on crack. He has now devoted himself and his life to be a better example for his family and “going somewhere.” He has that vision in his mind of what it did to his mother:
“I don’t ever want to see her like that,” he says. “My life is showing my mom that I can take care of himself and I will be ok, and she will be ok.”
These types of stories make you realize that without a vision, education, and opportunity we can live very limited lives.
This could happen to any of us.
So if you want to give to a place that needs help, we’ve chosen some similar situations for you…. See if one of these inspires you to get involved and give. There are places like Bayview-Hunters Point that exist all over the world…
UniversalGiving Partners around the world making a difference:
Source of Bayview: Point of Pride: The People’s View on Bayview/Hunters Point (video)