Bay Times Article: “San Francisco, Where Are We Going?”

San Francisco Bay Times
 The city I love, and the people that make San Francisco a place to leave one’s heart, are going away. Where are we headed? Some of us, a prevailing minority, are “moving on up” and replacing the rest, a diminishing majority who are headed “down and out.” I’ve heard this problem labeled as an “affordability crisis.” Over the years, I have observed a jagged prosperity. This growth is rapidly reshaping our city, society, culture, politics and economy. My only hope is that this prosperity becomes more evenhandedly managed.

In the last several years, I have observed cyclical waves of exodus. At this time, I am observing my third, and perhaps most devastating, wave. These waves are eroding our city’s foundational culture, heritage and spirit. I have watched our loved ones being washed out by the imbalances present in our city’s evolution. Through this tidal action, deposited on our shores, are a lot of new people from all over the U.S. and abroad.

It is apparent to me, and many old timers, that the latest waves of people that are coming to San Francisco are not doing so for the same reasons as many of those who arrived during the last several decades. Most of the latter were seeking acceptance, opportunity and a place to build a home. They wished to engage in a common culture, and to connect with our accepting community. Now, there is little loyalty to, or preservation of, these important foundational characteristics. Our differences are leading to clashes over policy and limited resources.
The streets tell this story, for those willing to listen. Stenciled on the pavement in black ink is “5%”. This indicates the population of Blacks estimated to reside in the city. Also stenciled are w4ords like “clusterf**k.” fI feel that these, and other such statements, underscore the overwhelming consensus that we are in a predicament that will not be resolved easily. The streets are filled with many such references for those willing to take a moment to see, and to understand, what is happening in our world. Sadly, everybody is working so hard that few have time for community, art, local culture, or to become actively engaged with our common fight for survival.

The job and housing markets are over saturated, as are our social service systems. The cost of living and minimum wage are light-years apart. There are more exclusionary roadblocks to opportunity and prosperity than there are programs and incentives to ensure equality and a nondiscriminatory playing field.

As I reflect upon my own experiences, and interact with other residents, the general sentiment is that even while the city prospers, many things are becoming worse than ever before. The situation, in my option, is unsustainable. I find that we are all on the razor’s edge. I, personally, am uncertain of which side of the widening divide I will land. I’m facing the same hardships and misfortunes that are affecting countless others. I am hoping that we will work together to find the solutions to these problems.

Shaun Hassan Haines is a philanthropist, community organizer, LGBT activist, Information Technology Operations Management professional and photographer. shaunhaines.net/

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Like you, I’m fighting for a better future, for my family, the community and for the health of our human society.  Together, I have fought with you for justice and progress in matters of; social justice, human rights, civil rights, open government, public health and safety, homeless services, worker rights and workforce development, community heritage, and preservation.

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Bay Times Article: “Shaun in San Francisco!”

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Please read: “Shaun in San Francisco

My roots in the city have enabled me to form solid connections. To the Bears, Sisters, Fairies, Techies, Hipsters, Missionites, the Leather communities, and my newest friends in San Francisco’s political circles and more, I say this: you have become my extended family. From the Financial District to the Castro, the Mission to the Richmond, Haight to the Excelsior, the Bayview to Fillmore, SoMa to the Sunset, Ingleside to Hayes Valley, and where I live today in Lower Pacific Heights, San Francisco is and forever will be my home and heart.

I was born in San Francisco General, way back when they referred to it as “The Blood Bath.” Graduating from John O’Connell high school, with a trade certificate in carpentry, much of my classroom time was spent in bungalows. The school was forced to move from the Mission after the Loma Prieta earthquake due to contamination from asbestos, but my passion for learning never faltered.

In those younger years, I fell in love with photography and writing. I wrote for the San Francisco Teen newspaper and was honored to have my poetry published in a few literary anthologies. In college, at San Francisco State University, I pursued Journalism as a field of study. Truthfully, at that age, I had a little more fun taking Jazz, Afro-Haitian, and Modern Dance. I’m excited to return to my roots as a writer.

I am also educated, trained, certified and experienced as an Information Technology, Project and Operations Management professional. In recent years, I joined the Board of Directors at Alice B. Toklas serving on the communications committee. I volunteer at the Bayard Rustin Coalition as a project manager focusing on Organizational Development. I have also served on the Board of Directors at San Francisco Pride. 2014 is my third year to participate in AIDS/LifeCycle. I enjoy working with the community, organizing events, creating community development plans and building coalitions. I am proud to have promoted awareness of, and raised over ten thousand dollars of funding for, various causes. I have endeavored to do so in ways that support and highlight our heritage, local artists, and native cultures.

Here in the city, our communities are evolving at exponential rates. The inequities of this change for a multitude of groups of all ethnic and economic backgrounds have compelled me to get involved. To obtain a real-world education in public service and political process, I made a conscious decision.

Some years ago, I vowed to take an active role in our community, to help guide that evolution by interacting with all of our diverse groups. I hope to lead by example and motivate a younger generation to join me. Let’s all participate in shaping the future by effecting positive change in our society. The first steps in my journey have taught me valuable lessons. I want to thank all who have helped me along the way, especially the Bay Times for giving me a voice and helping me to share the experiences and perspective of an Old School San Francisco Native.

– The quickest route to failure is not to try… S.H.H.

Believe we can connect on issues important to San Franciscans?

Let’s work together.

To become involved in making a difference.

255121834679766

Like you, I’m fighting for a better future, for my family, the community and for the health of our human society.  Together, I have fought with you for justice and progress in matters of; social justice, human rights, civil rights, open government, public health and safety, homeless services, worker rights and workforce development, community heritage, and preservation.

Follow me online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn @HainesForSF