San Francisco is full of beauty and opportunity – seven miles by seven miles of vibrancy. It’s also full of heritage, spirit and heroes who are doing amazing things. Here are a few who’re proud to call Bayview home.
The (Un)sung Hero
Take the talented musician Michael Franti, for instance. Despite charming audiences at BottleRock Napa and embarking on a national tour this summer, Franti’s unique art of music and politics can be traced back to his home in Hunters Point. He is creative, outspoken and talented — something he attributes to the community he lives in and is a strong representative of the strength of Bayview-Hunters Point.
The Creative Storyteller for Social Change
Imagine a group that encourages young adults to produce digital media that tells their unique stories and engages them to positively transform themselves and their communities. Well, that’s happening right here in Bayview, with BAYCAT. This organization believes that every person’s story matters, and the young members envision a world where media and technology facilitate the art of storytelling from the broadest possible range of experiences.
It’s the brainchild of Villy Wang, who is empowering youth to talk about their lives through storytelling — in a variety of mediums. Wang used her passion for storytelling in a recent TED Talk to explain how she developed a program to train kids in filmmaking, so they can create new, authentic stories and break the cycle of bias perpetuated in media.
The Community Chefs
Chef Eskender Aseged also wanted to break down barriers, but he did his with another artistic medium: food. Radio Africa & Kitchen was created first as a pop-up before becoming a celebrated restaurant in Bayview. One of the more popular events is Community Tuesdays, where Radio Africa showcases local music, arts and culture in collaboration with the local Bayview community.
Food is also at the heart of Bayview business owner April Spears. The proprietor of the Third Street staple Auntie April’s Chicken-n-Waffles, the famous comfort food restaurant. But she is not stopping there. She is launching a new restaurant called Café Envy, which will feature healthy fare and aims to foster community and create a model for young African-American entrepreneurs in the Bayview.
It helps that Spears and some of her neighbors are working to create a cultural district in the Bayview — an organized enclave of residents and merchants intent on preserving and promoting the community’s African American heritage.
From music to digital media and food, there are many ways to celebrate where you come from and just as importantly – where you’re going. We’ve highlighted just a few of the great movers and shakers in the community. Our hats are off to the many, many more we didn’t mention, too.