My San Francisco: Labor Day March and Rally

Yesterday being Labor Day and all, what a better way to remember and celebrate labor in the United States than a good old fashioned union action? Yeah, I know that many struggle with unions these days, but I am one of those who believes that working people, middle-class and those who do not occupy the upper echelons of our socioeconomic world are unfairly targeted both for blame for and relief from our current economic woes. So you can surely feel free to comment on unions if you want, but that’s where I am.

This particular rally and march was organized by UniteHere and the Hotel & Restaurant Employees & Bartenders Union Local 2. There were many groups who sent delegations and I was part of the contingent from Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE-CA). Others with whom I have had some connection included Filipino Community Center, Church Women United and the Jewish Progressive Alliance, there were many, many, many organizations and public officials present.

This focus of this particular Labor Day was to gather people to show our support for workers facing long-term contract disputes and their subsequent called boycott. This was also about making a public statement to folks doing business in San Francisco that some of us hope for better treatment of its workers. The Hyatt contract journey is complex, but with many of the other large hotel chains agreeing to contracts, the Hyatt and a few others are still holding out.

In any case, I brought my camera along to capture the day. As I walked the march it was fascinating to see the passion and energy that is galvanized by organized labor. As we walked the rally route, the reaction was diverse: there were fists of support lifted from passing cars, at least one middle finger given from the the top of one of the double decker busses and vacationers were clearly captivated. The highlight for me was the breadth of people there and the energy that was garnered to support the workers.

Below are a few pictures from the day. There was a least one anti-union person there taking pictures and documenting who was there, so I have not included many faces in the pics, just signs and other interesting views. If you want to see them all, you can check out the Local Union 2 Labor Day March Photo Album.

Rally at the end of the march

Fist raised in support from a passing caddy . . .

The Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice delegation

The designated picket line in front of the Hyatt.

One of the many people documenting the day.

And doesn’t every rally need a super hero

Again, please see the COMPLETE PHOTO ALBUM if you want to see more pics from the day.

My San Francisco: The Excelsior

With this post, I am beginning a new series called “My San Francisco” where I will periodically share pictures from events and districts around San Francisco.  There is a little more info here, but suffice it to say that I am not trying to provide a comprehensive look into any gathering or neighborhood, but rather to provide a small glimpse into the complex San Francisco landscape.

This week, I decided on spending about an hour walking around the Excelsior District of San Francisco. I know this area pretty well since I used to work here. I have spent many hours eating, walking and generally hanging out in this gem of neighborhood. That said, I do know that the Excelsior district is much more than the Mission Street corridor, but I decided to just walk up and down Mission to find some good pics. Below are my top choices with a little commentary, but please take a moment to look at the FULL ALBUM to get a better sense of my walk.

You may also want to check out a few of my local favorites: Mama Art Cafe, Filipino Community Center, Zaab Thai, Goldilocks, The Chick-n-Coop, Mexico Tipico, The Excelsior Action Group, Jerry Day and the church where I used to serve as the pastor, Mission Bay Community Church organizes a great Food Pantry every Saturday.

“EXCELSIOR” I love that each of the streets are pressed into the concrete. Not just in the excelsior, but it looks cool.  One of the neat things about the Excelsior is that the streets are names after major global cities.

“PRODUCE” Dotting the neighborhood are these great local markets with fresh produce, meats and other groceries.

“MURALS” There are wonderful murals through the neighborhood.  This is one of my favorites: the “Last Supper” with Jesus really breaking bread with the disciples.

“LOCKS” Like many urban areas there are still some empty lots, most entryways are gated and one still needs to be aware of one’s surroundings. City life for sure.

“LANGUAGES” The Excelsior is one of the most diverse communities in San Francisco illustrated by this shot of three stores right next to one another: Tagalog, Chinese and Spanish!

“RESOURCEFUL”Not sure what about this caught my eye, but the makeshift barricade of old doors to cover a new remodel seemed very urban McGyver-esque.

“JERRY” One of the big claims to fame of the Excelsior District is that Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead spent his childhood here.  This is him as depicted on, yes, a mural. If you want more info be sure to check out Jerry Day held every Summer.

Again these are just a few of the pics I snapped.  If you want to see the rest and can help better identify some of the sights, please visit the FULL ALBUM.  Also, if you can think of some great – and maybe unknown – areas or events that I might want to shoot, please feel free to let me know.