Despite the poverty and desperation, Bayview Hunter’s Point has played a critical role in African American culture, expressiveness, especially through the strong presence of women.
In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, female leaders played a huge role in Bayview. Bayview had faced massive employment, discrimination and desperation which led to crime and severe drugs, wrecking families.
Yet these women led the rallies. They used the strong words. They were the pillars, the adamancy, the matriarchs that showed a new pathway. They claimed there must be a way out.
The most influential women were called “The Big Five.” These women were: Julia Commer, Osceola Washington, Ruth Williams, Rosie Williams, and Elouise Westbrook. To this day the streets are named after them.These women were beyond leaders — they were relentless. They made changes in police protection, jobs, access, training, poetry expression, dance….there were inspiring anonymous poets, political leaders, women of force, and hopeful youth expressing their creativity through dancing, expression and eloquence. So out of desperation came creativity and forging of new rights.
Women played an instrumental role that inspired:
“Hope is about getting up every morning and expecting and believing that there’s going to be something better today.” – A woman who was born in Hunter’s Point
For us, it is this mindset that inspires me and why we have the courage to get involved and give. We can never completely understand everything that a community has been through. Yet, we can also never underestimate how resilient people are. They keep persevering despite numerous challenges and limited support. It’s humbly inspiring, and energizes us to take a similar stand.
Sometimes, people we serve may come from a different background (Sometimes, not.) Regardless, we need to understand where someone may have come, from which could affect their lives and their mindset.
Once we have compassion and understand…. we should never let it limit us or them. Their future lives are being determined now. We can either help them positively or get low. So today… why don’t you take action. You don’t have to go to Hunter’s Point. Say hello to a homeless person. Let someone in front of you on the freeway. Smile at someone on the bus. That will uplift a person… a community… the world.
Source of Bayview: Point of Pride: The People’s View on Bayview/Hunters Point (video)