The San Francisco chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America continues calling for justice of victims of unjust systems and state violence, including George Floyd and the victims of the San Francisco Police Department: Alex Nieto, Mario Woods, Amílcar Pérez-López, Luis Góngora, Jessica Williams, Kenneth Harding Jr., and Derrick Gaines.
In solidarity with community members, the chapter called for a sit-in on Tuesday, June 2. The chapter’s call to action came after three nights of San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s sweeping and indefinite curfew, which prohibits, with limited exceptions, San Franciscans from going outside their homes between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The chapter’s Steering Committee released the following statement:
“The protests that have erupted across the nation in response to the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis are an inspiring display of solidarity and outrage at an unjust system that has existed at the heart of America for centuries. However, the response by the Trump administration has been to threaten these protests with the national guard if cities do not quell them; cities across the country, even those run by Democratic governments, have obliged, instituting curfews and inflicting terrible violence on demonstrators from coast to coast.
San Francisco is no different. Mayor London Breed instituted an 8 pm curfew and brought in 200 law enforcement officers from across the state this past weekend to confront protestors – law enforcement officers who, per today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, follow their own department’s use of force policy and are unaccountable to the people of San Francisco. The curfew and the increased police presence are intended to quell legal and peaceful demonstrations – demonstrations which remind the City of its own record of police murder. This is an affront to our right to assemble and our duty to fight for the victims of state violence here and everywhere. It cannot be tolerated.
It’s ironic, on top of this, that the Mayor’s order, like the shelter-in-place public health order released at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, excludes people who are homeless. The city’s abdication of its duty to protect homeless residents is unconscionable, and its willingness to subject unhoused people to harassment, disease, and the elements is state violence. The curfew will not make this situation any better; in all likelihood it will only increase police harassment.
The city must find another way to deal with the crises facing it than to impose martial law. It must have a better plan for accommodating protected protest than guns and tear gas. It must respond to the calls for justice not with platitudes but with action. San Franciscans will not be silent on this issue and the whole world is watching.
Therefore, DSA SF is calling for a nonviolent sit in at City Hall tonight to demonstrate against the curfew. We will not leave unless the following demands are met by the Mayor:
- Defund SFPD: protect our communities and our city budget. Release the Prop C funds to augment social services. The SFPD budget must be reallocated to cover the over $100 million in budget cuts SFUSD educators and students are facing, and to cover any cuts to homelessness & housing services that do not involve SFPD participation. SFPD’s budget has increased steadily for years with little progress on the Blue Ribbon Commission reforms, while crime has decreased by 40% during the COVID-19 pandemic and violent crime is at a 50-year low.
- All non-local cops out immediately. The “mutual aid” provided by other police departments is unaccountable to San Fracnsicans. Mayor Breed must immediately send all non-SF cops out and reject any proposed deployment of the national guard.
- No repressive curfew. The curfew, which curtails San Franciscans’ basic right to free speech and free assembly, will selectively be enforced in Black and brown neighborhoods, and has no guardrails to ensure unhoused people will not be punished.
- No retaliation against protestors. Drop all charges from this weekend. end retaliatory shutdowns and repurposing by law enforcement of public resources like BART, MUNI, and COVID-19 testing sites, because of protests and civil disobedience.
- Protect unhoused people. Implement the Board of Supervisors’ unanimous hotels resolution. End the sweeps. Fulfill the Board of Supervisors’ unanimous mandate to house every unhoused San Franciscan in a hotel room for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is estimated to last through 2022. The city currently pays for hotel rooms that have yet to be used; the city must fill those rooms immediately and start working towards securing long-term housing for every unhoused San Franciscan. Additionally, stop inhumane homeless sweeps and the mayor’s personal encouragement of this practice; end the illegal confiscation and destruction of unhoused neighbors’ personal property, replacing the complaint-driven and law enforcement-led response to homelessness with an evidence-based approach aimed at connecting people with their needs.
- End cash bail as city policy and close the jail at 850 Bryant. While District Attorney Chesa Boudin has called for an end to cash bail, this choice is still up to the discretion of the District Attorney and may reverse with a change in office. We call on the City to end cash bail, a punitive system that disproportionately harms low-income residents of the city. Additionally, while the Board of Supervisors has voted to close County Jail 4 by November 1st, the threat COVID-19 poses makes all jails dangerous to the health and safety of everyone who is held there. Concentrating people in jails in the midst of a global pandemic is equivalent to threatening everyone who is held there with a death sentence.
Come to City Hall as soon as possible if you are able to risk arrest and are not sick. Maintain a safe distance. Solidarity forever.”
The sit-in culminated with a peaceful gathering in front of 850 Bryant—the decrepit jail recently ordered closed by the Board of Supervisors after sustained community efforts. Several comrades were arrested and subsequently released with a citation. No comrades were booked or require any bail assistance, but folks are encouraged to support community bail funds such as the Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee Bail Fund.
Interested in joining more direct action efforts? Join the fight by becoming part of DSA SF today.