The tension, coupled with exhaustion, was visible as we walked up to Patricia’s Green in San Francisco. A call had been put out for the community convergence and by 6 o’clock the park was drawing a small crowd. People trickled in and milled about, sharing some grub and stories from the raid. Some couldn’t help glancing around at the surrounding streets. After the raid, some were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Several were sore and clearly shaken.
Despite the bulldozing of carefully planted crops and the trash compacting of our kitchen (among other belongings), there was a sense of hope in salvaging this fight. Whether a hummingbird or a crow’s eggs will stop more construction permanently is yet to be seen. For now, we face the army guarding the torn up garden beds. Those that scanned the streets had reason to keep an eye out. Cop cars circled around every couple minutes, round and round, staring us down. This crowd is refugees of yet another eviction. But still we find the energy to gather again and discuss the next move.
At first the plans were loose-a march, then a possible direct action. After a quick circle of thought and ideas the march springs to life, quickly rushing to the street. The smell of sage is thick in the air and I am reminded of a time where true native ancestors fought to the death to defend Mother Earth. Now, we live in a time where not even a city block of green land is worth protecting. (At least this seems to be the typical developer’s stance) The careless corporations and contracted companies are not the only ones turning a blind eye. It appears San Francisco has lost its’ roots in more ways than one.
The pockets of public, green space, along with California appear to be dwindling. There are groups all over trying to fight every cause on their own. Our numbers are not what they should be, considering the countless reasons for us all to be pissed. The truth is, people stopped paying attention. Some seem to just ignore the urgency. Whether or not by choice, these silent voices consent to what just a few decide. These hills have been over-developed right under our noses for cushy condos and the machine is far from finished. It’s this complacency, paired with the demanding daily grind (and sprinkled with media distractions) that have worked well to cast a spell over the city.
They hustle about in their cars, often losing patience with our march, which took intersections at random. A symphony of honking broke out with our stops. Some passers by were on their phones, completely oblivious to our presence. From the windows above, figures peered down at us. I always wonder what it must look like from up there, as a tidal wave of angry, emotionally determined young and old come sweeping by. What do they feel when the streets echo with the sound of hoarse voices hollering, “HEY HEY! HO HO! GET OFF OUR FARM AND LET IT GROW!”?
The march had a few stand-offs with the police, which numbered at least 100 to our 75. (Roughly) We met them at the line of black & yellow tape.There were riot cops, motorbike cops and “casual Friday” cops. (Oh my!) We both had somewhat of a motley crew I guess. We took to the streets and circled round to the back-end of the farm; one made it into Gezi Gardens and pranced around the corner of pavement. A team of cops rushed at us from within the farm, running up the hill like a pack of fire ants. When they got to the bottom they tackled him, igniting the already charged energy of the crowd. There was another arrest I didn’t see, but I also witnessed the cops try to grab a phone from one activist on the sidewalk, which drew many in the crowd like moths to a flame.
We ended the day back at Patricia’s Green and finally rested. Then the megaphone was passed around. One after another people shared a beautiful piece of themselves to us all and forgot, maybe even for just a moment, that the police state wasn’t looming just across the street. Here, in this moment, it was just us and the refugee trees, us and the birds and the sky above.
PS: CaCaaawww S.F.P.D.! Cacaaawww!