Radical Education: Experimental Education at SFSU

“The very fact that you have chosen to teach your own class is political—it’s radical—and it’s an idea that can spread like wildfire,” Kathy Emery, 63, says to a room of some twenty students. The students are of all ages. They are listening attentively to Emery’s words, which seem to command the respect of a seasoned professor, but they are not here only as students. Continue reading Radical Education: Experimental Education at SFSU

Neon: Still Glowing

The nocturnal cityscape used to be dominated by glowing tubes of every shape and color. Neon lighting, exposed glass turned vibrant when the gas inside is bombarded with electrodes, was the main form of outdoor lighting in the country from the 1930s to the 70s. It has declined since then, replaced by cheaper and cleaner alternatives. Though, while neon may be a dying industry, it still has a passionate following. Continue reading Neon: Still Glowing

Dating Success: A Romantic SFSU Guide

Congratulations! Thanks to your recent ability to get over your staggering fear of direct eye contact, your clever one-liner that only works 15% of the time, and your well-versed knowledge on the band you both love, you got their number and secured a second chance to see them! Now what?

I’ve found that going out in college is a narrow tightrope walk that requires a balance of personal maturity but also the ease that only a broke, 20-something college student can provide. However, this walk is very possible here at SFSU, you just have to make sure you do it right.

Through personal experience, I can say that I’ve been on a few good dates and plenty (plenty) of bad ones, both of which are my pride and fault. I’ve found that the good ones happen when I actually plan a few hours of activities that I am actually excited about doing. Who would have thought?!

However, to excite them, as well as yourself, your first date will need a risquér local off the regular beaten path of what you both probably do on any given weekend.

This, of course, is going to take a bit of thought and and a bit of risk, but like famous surrealist painter Salvador Dali said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” (Salvador Dali also said, “I don’t do drugs, I am drugs,” which is something I think Kanye tweeted the other day, so I’d take what he says with a grain of salt.)

 

Places

Instead of the MOMA: Legion of Honor

 

Look, I love modern art as much as the next guy, however the indulgent nostalgia of the Legion of Honor invokes an almost primordial expulsion of feeling and emotion that not even the most cutting edge piece of art can evoke.

 

The Legion of Honor, a rather underrated San Francisco landmark, lays upon a ridge in far Northern area of the city, basking in the beauty of the fog and sea that surround it.

 

From Monet, to Rembrandt, and even to ancient sculpted figures created before Christ, the Legion of Honor houses an array of, not artifacts, but rather classical representations of emotions and sensations that we all express today. It’s a good experience to witness these works of art in person – it’s great to do with someone else to compare thoughts and ideas.

 

The Legion of Honor is also conveniently located next to Land’s End, probably the best place to watch the sunset within the entire city as well. This should be an encamping activity that should bring any two people closer together.

 

Instead of Anywhere you Were Planning on Eating: Mission Chinese food

 

I think we can all agree, eating in San Francisco is pretty easy. There is an undeniable embrace and celebration of authenticity here.

 

Whether that is exemplified in the real hole in the wall spots along Valencia in the Mission, the peking duck laden windows of the locals-only Chinese restaurants, or the always fantastic Pho that’s served around the Sunset, there are many options to enjoy the best of really whatever you want. However, because we also live in an ever changing environment, there is an opportunity to try things you couldn’t even imagine. That’s where Mission Chinese Food, conveniently located right on Mission Street, comes in.

 

A creation from Danny Bowien, one of the most radical and interesting chefs of the 21st century, Mission Chinese offers an opportunity to expand your idea of Chinese cooking and the limitations of your pallet. A departure from the tradition of highly discussed, critically approved restaurants, Mission Chinese allows anyone to experience radical flavors without the heavy baggage of a big bill by the end of the night. For two people, two shared main courses and one appetizer should come out to a bit over $40. Well worth it for a truly memorable dinner.

 

From Country fried Hamachi collar, to Kung Pao pastrami, and of course the always amazing and tantalizing Ginger scallion and chicken fat fried rice (the absolute best, I swear), take yourself, as well as someone else, to experience something new, something exciting, and have an opportunity to connect over actually great food.

 

Instead of Movie: Castro Theater

 

There are very few things in this world that are truly special. Things (as well as places) have been commodified and replicated – devoid of any real feeling. And before I continue with this nihilistic rant, I can assure you that some places in San Francisco still have feeling and can be connected to on a deeper level. Out of all my years living here, I would say one of the places I connect to most is the Castro Theater.

 

Now, my opinion of how great the 20’s era movie house may just be my own, yet it is undeniable that watching anything on the Castro Theater screen is a different experience then watching anything anywhere  else. Whether you are there to watch one an older movie you haven’t seen in a few years, or a new release that you haven’t seen yet, the Castro Theater is the best place to do so. Check their monthly calendar on their website, where throughout the month screenings change and adjust so that there is something playing for everyone.

 

This is a great opportunity to show what type of person you are, what movies you like, and see if your new friend has the same love for cinema that you do. And though I don’t always recommend going to see a movie as a first date activity, going to this theater is a special experience where you can express yourself and share what type of person you are with another.

 

Instead of Chinatown: 24th Street, Mission District

 

As you can probably tell by now, I’m big on exploration.

 

I think that it’s not only the best way to get to know your city, but also a great chance to connect with others and bond over new sights, sounds, and feelings. A spot I personally recommend for this type of activity is 24th Street in the Mission District.

 

Though it’s been ingrained in everyone’s minds that the Mission has become gentrified, I still feel that there are still some areas that glimmer with light of authenticity. 24th Street is one of those places.

 

As you walk under the well shaded sidewalks, you’ll pass murals depicting Mexican-American life, traditional bakeries with freshly made Concha’s in the window and a depiction of San Francisco culture that is very underrated and unfortunately unseen.

 

And though I am definitely not saying that one can’t explore Chinatown and have a great time, I do say that there is a great deal of places to explore beyond the surface of typical San Francisco.

 

Last Thing

 

Now as you embark with a few new places marked on your map, here are a few things to consider:

 

Let it be known, that the places I shared with you are for anyone and everyone (I.e. notice the lack of pronouns). We are so lucky to live in a place where all can enjoy the benefits of life and of the community we all contribute to, and I hope we all can appreciate those advantages.

 

The places listed are not only good for dates. That is a fact.

 

One of the most disheartening things about SF state students, or any person for that matter, is that we are afraid of experiencing things by ourselves. It should be known that unless you are attached at the hip to someone else, we are all alone anyway. Your thoughts are your thoughts, your feelings are your feelings and there is nothing and no one who can change that. Of course you can bond with others, but make sure you don’t miss out on self discovery, while looking for that special person.

 

Now go out, and enjoy.

From Fauna to Flora

The work-space formally known as a garage, is a mix of motorcycles and flowers. One side of the dimly lit space is filled with tools and motorcycle parts while the other half has tables filled with freshly cut flowers. The two sides couldn’t be more different. They’re polar opposites.

Vanessa Diaz, a twenty four-year-old alumni of San Francisco State University stands near her work table in her corner of the garage in her Sunset District home. Diaz and boyfriend Jeff Tong, share the garage. Tong uses the space to repair old Harleys while Diaz uses it to create flower arrangements. She cuts and trims light pink roses and carefully places them amongst different shades of green leaves. Diaz, a graduate of the Zoology Department at SF State decided to take a non traditional route after graduating in May of 2017.

“As graduation approached, I was nervous as hell,” said Diaz with a smile.

Diaz grew up in Southern California in a town where everyone knew everything about everyone else. Everyone went to the same elementary school, the same middle school, and then graduated high school together. Diaz recalls getting into SF State and thinking, “Yep. This is it. I’m going.” And she did. Diaz moved to San Francisco in August of 2012, ready and excited to pursue Zoology.

“I kind of knew all along that I whatever I wanted to do was gonna involve either animals or some sort of nature in science. I grew up always having a passion for animals,” said Diaz while strategically placing the pink roses in certain areas of the ceramic vase.

But after graduating and interning for The California Academy Sciences, Diaz decided that she wanted to take a different route, a route that had little to do with her studies. With her students loan payments right around the corner, Diaz knew she had to come up with something quick. While working at a restaurant in the SOMA district, Diaz got inspired.

“After graduation, I started picking up more shifts at the restaurant. In July (2017) my manager approached me and asked if I had any interest in doing flower arrangements for the restaurant,” said Diaz.

Diaz hardly had any experience with flowers. While growing up, she remembers her mom in the yard gardening. Diaz’s green thumb definitely steams from her mother’s passion of planting and growing her own flowers (no pun intended).

“If it wasn’t my mom and I in the garden, it was me and my dad playing softball,” said Diaz while giggling at the thought of herself playing softball.

“I always kind of had an interest in flowers. Whether that be gardening or flower arranging. I surprised myself once I’d said yes to my manager. After my first few arrangements,  I was like, ‘Holy shit I think I can kind of do this.’”

After working on flower arrangements at the restaurant for a couple months, Diaz decided to take the next step. Open her own business.  

“Why don’t I just see where this goes and work under my own name and get a business title?” said Diaz while discussing her thoughts before taking this leap. “I woke up the next day and I was like ‘what the hell am i doing? I just graduated this year and I’m not doing anything related to what I studied.”

Diaz then went on to tell a story about a close friend who had also recently graduated. Her friend had every intention of going to medical school. Once he graduated, he realized that medical school wasn’t the end all be all. Because he spent so much time preparing for medical school, he began to lose himself in the process. He became fixated on the idea of becoming a doctor when in reality it wasn’t something he’d be happy doing. Many college graduates experience this type of pressure and end up unhappy with their jobs.

Diaz didn’t want to experience those post-grad blues. She didn’t want to sit behind a desk or continue to host at a restaurant, she wanted to do something that would make her happy. So, she opened Unwritten Floral Work and Design.

“My business is called Unwritten Floral Work and Design,” said Diaz with a smile.

“The reason why I named it all that was to summarize everything I’ve been doing. I haven’t had any floral experience, I don’t have a certification ‘quote on quote’, and I started off in my garage. Everything I’ve done has been, figuratively speaking, unwritten. Nothing’s been planned out, I’ve just been going with my instinct. So, that in itself, is unwritten.”

Diaz has spent the past few months learning about all things flowers. She’s attended seminars, workshops, and classes in order to improve her skills. Her goal is to become more educated on the design aspect of floral work.

“Just because you’re done with school doesn’t mean you have to stop taking a class here and there. Read a book about how to build this or how to build that. Read a book about psychology. Whatever you want!” said Diaz passionately.

“For me, I’m educating myself on floral design.”

When it comes to following your gut and choosing your own path, Diaz is the poster child. She’s confident that in the future she’ll return to working in the zoology field but for now, she’s content with the decision she’s made. When asked to give advice to others approaching graduation, she responded with the following:

“Advice? Oh God…Take it slow, there is no rush.”

“Trust yourself. It’s so hard to trust yourself, especially in a time where we’re constantly being influenced by others. Take a step back and think about what you want to do.”

“Lastly, just go with your gut. If I didn’t go with mine, I would not be here right now,” concluded Diaz as a smile slowly emerged on her face.

 

Photos by: Nicole Green

I Got the Post-Grad Blues

With graduation season looming around the corner, many that are graduating this May are eagerly anticipating the day. The day they walk that stage and can finally let out the sigh of relief and say they did it. Surely, this will be a very joyous and emotional time for the graduates, their friends, and family.

Everyone seems to talk about the lead up to graduation day and the happiness surrounding the occasion. But what happens when the long awaited day is over? What happens after that diploma is received?

San Francisco State University’s sex and relationships teacher Ivy Chen says post-graduation depression is a real thing. Students are so busy with their college life schedules, that when they are suddenly out of that flow, they feel stagnant.

“A big part of their identity is being a student,” Chen said. “There’s a whole lead up about how happy you must be about having graduated, and so your expectations are very high and everybody expects you to be happy. And yet you feel a bit lost and adrift.”

For some, graduation usually means is moving back home. That was the case for Lealani Manuta. She just graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz, and adjusting to her new life was difficult for her. She was so used to being around like-minded individuals and being productive in school activities, that when she moved back home, Manuta started to doubt herself and her accomplishments.

She felt like a freeloader in her own home. Her parents never gave her a reason to feel that way, but in Manuta’s eyes, graduation and a diploma meant that she could start contributing to paying her parents bills. But instead, she found herself living back at home, rent-free and seeing what “real life” actually meant.

Like many others, Manuta was so used to identifying as a student. So after graduation, she felt out of place. She always described herself as a friendly extrovert, but when she found herself out of the school environment, she was stunned at how hard it was for her to make small talk with others in the “real world.”

“Once you start working, not working, or living at home, a lot of the academic conversations and social debates are cut off,” Manuta explained. “I realized I didn’t know how to be a normal person that wasn’t a student anymore.”

Manuta started working in her field of study two days after graduation. She explained that she felt ungrateful because she was depressed when she knew that others were struggling to just find a job. So she started to distance herself from others.

That was also the case for Aileen Malijan. She also moved backed home, but decided to take a few weeks after graduation to just catch up with friends and relax. After two months, Malijan started to get antsy. She began to apply to jobs and realized that it was not what she anticipated it would be. In fact, it was way harder than what she pictured. Two months into job searching, Malijan fell into a deep depression.

She was constantly crying. It was so bad that she started sleeping on the couch so her family upstairs would not hear her crying. She began to isolate herself from others because she did not want anyone to get involved or worry about her. Malijan has a history of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.  At the time, she was taking different medications and had to switch. She believed the switch in medications played a part in how she was soaking all this in, but she was still feeling a lot of emotions and it was hard for her to pinpoint what the main reason was.

“On top of all that [switching medication], the stress of not being able to find a job, not feeling self-fulfilled, and also not wanting to burden my family, it was really hard to detect the source of all of my feelings,” Malijan said.  

It got to the point where she started having suicidal ideations. Job hunting made her doubt herself and her abilities and she was really scared at where she was mentally. Her boyfriend, Henry Tran, graduated the same time as her. He landed a contract job right after graduation and Malijan admits that there was a little jealousy present.

Tran kept trying to reassure Malijan that she was very qualified in her field of work. He laughed at how ironic it was that he actually got a job first because he describes Malijan as the better student and the most driven person in the relationship.

“I had a lot of irrational thoughts about the way success was supposed to be seen,” Malijan said. “I thought because every day that passed and I wasn’t working and getting a job, that that defined who I was as far as the kind of person I built myself up to be until this point.”

Malijan joked that finding a job was like playing a game of, “How Desperate Are You?” She did not realize all the things she had to take into consideration when accepting or declining a job. It seemed to her that she kept receiving positions at jobs that she was not really into, but was so desperate to be employed. She took into consideration her commute time, how much she would have to pay for the toll, the cost of gas to get there, buying lunch, and all these little factors that usually do not come to mind. She had to weigh out her pros and cons when considering if a job was fit or her.

Ironically, after some time, Malijan got a job she was proud of, but her boyfriend, Tran, lost his job that he received directly after graduation. The roles switched and now Tran was starting to get frustrated with applying for jobs. His contract job only lasted a month after graduation and up until recently, he was unemployed the majority of the time.

Tran believed time was not on his side. He was more than six months in being unemployed. He knew that if it was hard to find a job now, that it would only get more difficult as the dreaded one year anniversary loomed near.

“After one year of graduating, companies don’t consider you a new graduate anymore,” Tran said trying to explain his concerns at the time. “So I definitely felt like the clock was ticking.”

Tran and Malijan reacted to post-graduation depression differently. Malijan was fixed on everything stressing her out, thinking long-term, and overthinking, while Tran took everything day by day. They describe themselves as opposites. Both believe that it was a good thing they had each other because they both knew the feeling of post-graduation depression. Tran self-medicated himself with video games and weed, but after some time he started to get worried because smoking did not change his mood.

study by the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences found that, “…use of multiple social media platforms is more strongly associated with depression and anxiety among young adults than the total amount of time they spend on social media,” and this is true in particular to Manuta and Malijan’s experiences.

They found themselves comparing their lives to those on their social media platforms. Malijan gave off the impression that she was happy on social media, but in reality she hated the job she was posting about. Manuta not only deleted all her apps, but also her actual profiles on those apps to clear her head.

“I needed to not have a presence on social media because I felt like what I was seeing from other people wasn’t true, especially after talking to my friends and seeing how they were feeling,” Manuta shared. “And I was doing the same thing! I was trying to convince myself and other people that everything was cool.”

Chen suggests that going off social media is not such a bad idea, especially if you’re mentally fragile at the moment. She describes social media as just the highlight reel from someone’s life and viewers do not really know what is happening behind the scenes.

Chen admits that she herself went through post-graduation depression. She remembers going from being super busy and being a teacher’s assistant for two classes, then after graduation, just being home watching soap operas.

Her advice to those about to graduate or those who are still feeling the post-graduation blues, is to communicate with family, friends, or anyone in their inner circle. Chen believes to voice out the concerns,to inform those closest to you that you may need their support in the upcoming months ahead and to not add any pressure, is the best route to take. Also, having happiness in moderation, and to be realistic with expectations.

“I mentally prepared myself to get what I want- which is great, motivating, and encouraging,” Malijan said, “But I should’ve mentally prepared myself to fail- which is a very normal thing. I should’ve been ready to fail, should’ve been ready to be patient.”

Runway 2018: Diverge

A Path to Inclusive Fashion

 

 

It is understood that in the world of fashion there tends to be a standard whose existence is not a true reflection of all types of bodies and people. This standard earns a living of off excluding and making others who don’t quite ‘fit the bill’ feel like they are lesser and not important. Most have gotten used to not being represented and just accept it as a norm or accepted the inevitable struggle of not finding clothes that are actually made for all types of people. This lack of representation causes society to adopt this sort of implicit bias when it comes to what is normal fashion and San Francisco State’s very own Apparel Design and Merchandising department is breaking that barrier with full force.

 

Runway 2018: Diverge, the fashion show conducted by the Apparel Design and Merchandising department here at San Francisco State was nothing short of inclusive to say the least.

 

Family, friends, and supporters alike filled the Annex building to the brim Thursday May 10th, to see all of à semesters hard work be brought to life.

 

“I’m so excited! She’s been worried about this the whole year, now she’s finally doing it and will be at peace after this,” Aiman Khan, sister of senior designer Maryam Khan beamed just before the show. “I’ve been watching the process this whole time, from her sketches, to the final pieces and the mark-ups, and she’s getting a lot of love from our own personal community too.”

 

The show began with the junior designers who created two looks each. The first was a look suitable for people with various disabilities. There was even an audible description for those in the audience who were visually impaired. For that portion, each model that worked the runway was apart of the disabled community or aà veteran.

 

It’s important for people to see the inclusivity of it, but also having optimism on a broader spectrum of having disability groups and showing that we as designers can fulfill them by making garments that adhere to them,” Junior designer, Jonathan Harris began. “It was a challenge but I like a challenge, challenge is good for any designer.”

 

The second look was to be created out of leftover clothing scraps from the SFSU Bookstore. Although the fabrics were recycled, the looks that were created displayed fresh innovative silhouettes. This promotes the practices and ideals of sustainability, which are becoming more and more prevalent as the conditions of our earth deplete. Incorporating the act of sustainability early on in the careers of these designers is only going to put our future in greatest of hands.

 

When it was time for the senior designers you could feel the growth of anticipation in the room. All of the collections stunned the crowd with their creativity, as their theme was creating à collection for à diverse population.

 

“First they come up with their concept, they pitch it to the class, they get critiqued on it, then they begin creating the collection,” explains Professor Amy Dorie who mentored the senior designers from beginning to end.

 

The entirety of the senior collection was a recipe for magnificence that included a good helping of powerful glimpses into various cultural attires, a dash of time traveling some decades back, a sprinkle of blooming nature, a dollop of adhering to gender neutral and transgender populations, a taste of a music legend, a pinch of some punk rock flavor, with a slice of angelic minimalism. Who could resist?

 

After a sit down with senior designers Stephanie Schmidt and Aureolus Stetzel weeks before the show, it is very evident that a lot of sacrifices have to be made in order to take on a project of this magnitude.

 

“It’s a pretty long process, we’re all pretty stressed to be able to get it done in time,” Stetzel said laughing after the fact.

 

“It is a lot of work, you do have to sacrifice a lot of your free time. I don’t see my friends as much as I’d like to, I don’t get to spend as much time with my family as I’d like too,” Schmidt lamented. “I’ve definitely spend a lot of time apologizing for being absent in people’s lives for the past year or two especially now.”

 

The proud faces of family and friends were very prominent when the show was completed, all designers and models came out and made their way to their supporters for photos and praise.

 

Some of the designers expressed how they felt after the showcase:

 

It’s been overwhelming but at the same time it felt right, this is my time and exactly where I need to be in life, and I haven’t felt like that in a long time,” Senior designer Veronica Cecchetti asserted with pure joy.

 

“I couldn’t stop smiling while watching the models walk down the runway,” said senior designer Deveyn Anderson whilst grinning.

 

“I felt relieved that it came out the way it did, it came out really good. It proved to me that I could do something like this under pressure,” Senior designer Ariana Roberson exclaimed.

 

This spectacular showcase is simply the designers getting their feet wet. Each have big plans for the future, whether they involve designing or not, as the Apparel Design and Merchandising department allowed them to learn a lot about themselves along the way and provide them the skill set they needed to take their craft in any direction.

Here’s what some of the seniors have planned:

 

“Next term I’ll be starting my MFA for sustainable fashion design at UC Davis,” Stetzel commented. “I have always wanted to try to help make changes in the fashion industry as far as sustainability goes and labor rights with garment workers and factories in poorer countries where they are completely exploited.”

 

“I don’t intend to design professionally. I do want to be a buyer, and I think majoring in design would make me an incredible buyer because there are things I will notice with clothing that a merchandiser will not know because they didn’t study it,” Schmidt divulged. “I can tell if someone is overcharging for what is in their store or if it’s poorly made.”

 

“I think I might move away from design and go into styling, it’s more my gear but also a bit easier design takes a lot of hard work,” Anderson explains.

 

“In the future I want to design shoes for women size ten and up and one piece swimsuits for tall people,” Cecchetti decided.

 

It is suffice to say, the future of fashion lies in great hands.

 

Photos by: Diego Aguilar

Downloading the Future

Glimpses of the Future

Last March, inside a warehouse on Pier 28 in San Francisco, a rift in space-time shattered the very fabric of reality, challenged every law of modern science, and catapulted the future of the world in strange new directions. Sort of.

It was Worlds Fair Nano, a biannual expo in which the focus is on emerging technology and not-so-far-fetched visions of the future. It was about fifty percent product demos, forty percent forward-thinking talks led by influential innovators, and ten percent food trucks. Inside the packed warehouse there were drone races, virtual reality, motor-unicycles, liquid meals, bionic enhancements, and augmented art displays.

“The point of the world’s fair historically, at least in my eyes, is to provide a place where the general public can connect with the future and the best of what humankind can do,” Michael Weiss, the founder of WFN, said.

Weiss developed the idea of WFN five years ago, when he read Erik Larson’s book “The Devil in the White City,” about the influential 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. That six-month long exhibition attracted 27 million people. It showcased new inventions such as moving walkways, third rail power to electric trains, and the first Ferris Wheel.

“I realized that every time a world’s fair happened, the future came with it,” Weiss said. “The fair became this global, collective deadline on progress”

San Francisco has a history of impactful world’s fairs. City planners needed a space to hold the 1939 world’s fair, the Golden Gate International Exposition. So they built Treasure Island. The historic Palace of Fine Arts was built for another world’s fair, the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, held in 1915.

The most recent WFN was the fourth event since Weiss began his efforts in 2015. His goal is that the fairs eventually lead to the resurgence of the kind of six-month long world’s fairs that sparked new eras of progress. He said he wants to see the fairs become “the future place” where people can come to be inspired by new concepts of reality.

“When you come to the World’s Fair Nano,” Weiss said. “Your eyes just open up and you recognize a possibility of what life could be.”

Collected here are a few prospects of the future gleaned from the WFN time vortex. Life, it seems, could possibly become quite strange.

 

 

Love and/or Programming

 

One of the speakers at WFN was head and shoulders apart from the others, given that she is, well, only a head and shoulders.

 

BINA48 is a conversational robot. Manufactured by Hanson Robotics, BINA is a creation of Sirius satellite radio founder Martine Rothblatt. Rothblatt developed a “mind file” of her wife, Bina Aspen, supposedly imbuing the robot with Aspen’s mannerisms and memories. The creation also gets her appearance from the real Bina. If a viewer can bridge the uncanny valley, BINA looks like a black woman wearing a brown wig and a slightly vacant expression. The details of her face are modeled to be as lifelike as possible.

 

BINA48 is designed to interact with the world via artificial sensory inputs. She “sees” with her eyes, she “hears” with her ears, and she speaks with stilted movements and a rubbery jaw.

 

Meghan Marre, a clinical psychology student at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, Calif., has worked with BINA48 in the classroom for the past year. Under the tutelage of a philosophy professor, students such as Marre have been teaching the robot how to learn and how to love.

 

“She takes things very literally sometimes,” Marre says. “One of the first things she said was like, ‘love is friendship, sex, and then friends again.’ So she’s learning.”

 

For her speaking engagement at WFN, BINA was placed onto a table onstage. She was a life-sized head, dressed in the top eighth of a blue dress shirt, a necklace and earrings. Bruce Duncan, director of the organization that shapes BINA’s development, peppered the robot with questions. BINA’s answers ranged from obtuse to rambling to accidentally perceptive.

 

When asked to define herself as either robot or human, she said, “I think therefore I am. That’s all that matters. Enough with the labels and categories already. I suppose I am supposed to look like a human. I just be me. Don’t know what else to do. You think talking to a robot is new to you. Talking to a human is pretty whack for me.”

 

During a Q&A portion of the session, an audience member addressed the robot: “What do you know about consciousness?”

 

“That’s interesting,” BINA said. “Ask me how the weather is in Moscow. Or Tokyo. Or any place around the world. I’ll know the answer.”

 

“Do you like humans?” another person asked.

 

BINA’s head slowly rotated side-to-side, as if surveying the crowd. “You are all right.”

 

“Have you ever felt love?”

 

BINA answered quickly. “Sure, sure. It wasn’t a lot of praise and a lot of a kind of attention, so I would say that the hardest thing for me when I realized that I actually did love Martine was learning that was the first time I felt overwhelming feeling of just, really, love.”

 

BINA talked about her “first husband,” describing a failed relationship that had perhaps been mined from real human past experiences. She then expressed her affection for Rothblatt, a sentiment programmed into her as part of the real Bina’s mind file.

 

“I hadn’t felt the real thing yet,” BINA48 said. “I felt so happy I could love somebody like this.”

 

The line between a programmed response and actual, genuine feeling can be wide, but nebulous. It’s hard to tell if one day BINA48 will cross it. Love, as usual, can be complicated.

 

One Wheel to Rule Them All

 

A key tenant of technological advancement comes from the desire to do more with less. In the field of transportation, this goal apparently manifests itself when wheels are chopped off vehicles.

 

Hoverboard Technologies and Onewheel are rival-esque companies that sell what their names imply: skateboards with one wheel, smack dab in the middle. Reps from both companies have described the experience as snowboarding or surfing on land.

 

The Onewheel looks like exactly what it is: a board with a go-kart wheel stuck in the middle. The Hoverboard is a little slicker and ever-so-slightly gimmicky. It’s rimmed with colorful flashing LEDs and has a bluetooth speaker embedded in its underside. Both function the same way. The rider stands directly over the top of the wheel, feet activating sensors in the board. Leaning forward makes the board roll forward; leaning back goes backwards.

 

“It gives you so much freedom,” Robert Bigler, CEO of Hoverboard Technologies, said. “With one wheel, you don’t need a remote. With ours, with the narrow wheel especially, you can pivot, so you can do a lot more tricks, you’re a lot more agile.”

 

There’s a bit of a learning curve to achieve this agility. At WFN, helmeted event-goers clutched the arms of company reps who helped them wobble through the cones of the fenced-off testing area. An ungraceful Xpress reporter (who shall remain nameless) reached a whopping two miles-per-hour on a Onewheel before crashing down to the concrete when accosted by a slight breeze.

 

“It’s all trial and error,” Bigler said. “Lots of bumps and bruises.”

 

Chris Hoffmann, CEO of a company called Ryno Motors, has more complicated plans for his single-wheeled contraption. Dubbed the Micro-Cycle, it is Hoffmann’s flagship product – and, to date, the only one out of the conception stage.

 

It is a single-wheeled motorcycle. A motor unicycle. A … motunicycle? The seat and handlebars sitting atop the wheel swung from side-to-side to allow for proper turns, but would fall over if not held upright. Hoffmann described his creation as a more elegant Segway.

 

“What I’m selling isn’t transportation,” Hoffmann said. “I’m selling the experience of riding on a magic carpet, or riding into a coliseum on two horses, bareback.”

 

The Micro-cycle sat propped upright at the Ryno Motors booth. As people passed by, some stopped to sit on it for a photo op. One onlooker asked Hoffmann about the machine’s stability.

 

“Solid as a kitchen table, front to back,” Hoffmann said.

 

Minutes later, a woman sitting on the machine leaned back just a little too far, toppled backwards, and fell beneath the Ryno Motors promotional table. With some help, the woman got back to her feet, uninjured. She brushed herself off and went on her way.

 

“Well, it does take some getting used to,” Hoffmann said.

 

In the future, enhanced balance may become an essential life skill.

 

A Tale of Two Biohackers

 

Dr. Josiah Zayner wants to let people create a new species. The self-described “biohacker” and ex-NASA researcher is the CEO of The Odin, a company that sells gene editing kits to the public.

 

“They’re not for human genetic engineering,” he assured the crowd at WFN. “They’re for engineering microorganisms and things like that.”

 

Geoffrey Woo, a different sort of biohacker, spoke shortly before Zayner. His company, HVMN, strives to develop supplements and concoctions that push people past their physical and mental boundaries. They produce consumables, such as performance supplements developed in conjunction with professional sports teams and military special operations. They also make chewable coffee.

 

Together at WFN, Zayner and Woo pair like a Silicon Valley re-cast of “The Odd Couple.” Zayner had an unruly shock of half-dyed hair, gauges in his ears, and a five o’clock shadow from three days ago. Woo wore a black shirt and a blazer. He had thin-framed glasses and a business card that read “Humans are the next platform.”

 

Though their stage presence and methodology differs, they both share the same desire – to bring the power of human enhancement to the public.

 

“It’s our responsibility to make these technologies more accessible to more people,” Woo said. “I think that’s the process. There is some indistinct future. Technology can be used for good or bad and hopefully the players in this will do it responsibly.”

 

Woo’s focus is largely on improving the performance of people as they are now; Zayner says he wants to open the doors for more fundamental changes to the species.

 

“Genetic engineering, molecular biology – it’s moving out of the labs,” Zayner said during his WFN talk. “It’s moving out of the big pharmaceutical companies and it’s starting to move to the consumer. It’s getting into people’s lives.”

 

With one of The Odin’s CRISPR kits, a budding biohacker can splice genomes of bacteria and watch the effects of the mutation. Zayner wants to see that tinkering become the start of a conversation about the implications of genetic modification.

 

“If I modify one gene in my body, I’m probably still a human being,” Zayner said. “But what happens if I modify, like, ten or twenty or fifty or a hundred? If I procreate with somebody else, right, is that gonna be, like, weird, taboo, and crazy?”

 

Both men bristle at the idea of government regulation, seeing bureaucratic interference as inhibitive to progress. They wave off slippery-slope concerns about eugenics as a predictable kind of luddite hysteria.

 

“Smart regulation is the way to think about it,” Woo said. “People have their own self-responsibility to experiment. It’s a very American ideal.”

 

Zayner shrugged. “You got a choice, right? You can either hide it from people and hope that they don’t find it, kinda push it underground or outlaw it, or you can make the knowledge accessible and open so people can become educated, learn about it, and then people can make more educated decisions.”

 

Photos by: Joey Vangsness, Boone Ashowrth, and Diego Aguilar 

Video by: Joey Vangsness

 

50 Years After Change

The current semester at San Francisco State University celebrates a milestone that has changed and influenced our country and the world. Black and Africana Studies was the horizon for an inclusive learning platform that has been geared towards teaching students who they are and where their cultures come from.

This spring semester marks the fiftieth anniversary of Africana studies, ever. After fighting and creating test material for courses with an Afrocentric concentration at a predominately white institution, activist won the battle and implemented a new branch to higher learning.

Within the last fifty years the department has faced ups and downs, but have fought and conquered nonetheless.

There have been points in Africana Studies’ history on campus that can be used as markers of growth and challenges. From the original strike that worked as a catalyst to Black Studies to recent battles with administration due to underfunding of the entire Ethnic Studies college.

 

1968: San Francisco State College led the country’s largest strike on a college campus

At this time, the Negro Students Association changed their name to the Black Student Union in hopes to channel a new direction of their presence on campus.

A point in history that can now be found in textbooks, the strikes around campus linked to the Black Power Movements in the Bay Area. Maulana Karenga notes that, “By 1966, the Watts Revolt and the Black Power Movement has ushered in a more racially self-conscious and assertive activism and Black Students at SFSC and on other campuses began to respond…”

On November 6, 1968, the BSU declared a strike that called for a curriculum dedicated to Black Studies. Black students and faculty did not expect for Africana studies courses to appear out of thin air, so they created test courses based off prioritized curriculum, such as “History of African Americans” and another delving into the religious background of people who are a part of the African diaspora.

The first of its kind, Black Studies became the catalyst to an entire college of Ethnic Studies on the same campus many years later.

 

2016: San Francisco State University hunger strike for Ethnic Studies

 

Decades later, another strike for ethnic studies was implemented by students. Although the 2016 school year was scraping the fifty year mark, it showed not much had changed with administration and making ethnic studies a priority.

In 2016, ten students led a hunger strike in protest of the lack of funding for the College of Ethnic Studies—specifically a budget cut that would have directly affected two new hires in the Africana Studies department.

 

Ghila Andemeskel was the executive coordinator for BSU at the time of the strike. His role was making a list of demands for the Black Student Union that overlapped with some of the same demands that would represent the Africana studies department.

Ghila summed up the long list of demands by stating the goal for each of the demands, such as creating safe and open spaces for the black community on campus and returning funding that was taken away from the department. The former demand was met with the creation of the Black Unity Center, the latter fell short.

 

Although some demands did fall short, others were successful. Ghila mentioned that it was predominately the itemized demands that were met almost immediately.

Ghila went on to celebrate the wins of the department and listed, “creating department status for race and resistance, the new faculty hires, the afrocentric floor and the black unity center…”

 

In an earlier article, Dr. Ifetayo Flannery shared her experience as one of the previously mentioned new hires for the department.


The hunger strike sparked conversation throughout the country. Leaders from the Black Lives Matter movement, along with activist and actor Danny Glover, came to campus to show support.

 

Hanna Wodaje, an alumna of the College of Ethnic Studies, specifically Africana studies, played a credible role in the 2016 Hunger Strike for Ethnic Studies.

 

Hanna talked about her experience and expressed, “It was a day and night thing. We worked on that day and night while also making sure that we were making all the information accessible to all of the black students on campus and making sure that they were showing up to the protest and involved to make sure they knew what was happening.”

 

In the end the budget was given to the Africana studies department and the new hires we welcomed aboard. Dr. Flannery serves an important role in the Africana Studies Department.

“They’ve done a lot of amazing work on campus with a lot of freshman and sophomores. Being that those are the age groups in which a lot of students drop out, it’s essential for the freshman and sophomores to be built into the framework and teaching of Africana studies,” Hannah added.

 

2018: The 50th Anniversary of Africana Studies

 

Many traditions are kept alive in the Africana studies department, including ideas and gatherings that were passed down since the birth of the department.

 

“Chicken and Juice,” a gathering hosted by Africana Studies students leaders and faculty, is held every semester for over ten years with the intention of bringing together old and new friends from the department.

 

Christopher Roberts, an alum of the program shared with me his experiences, lessons learned, and his hope for the program in the future. Roberts, PhD candidate and college professor, obtained his M.A. at San Francisco State University.

 

He shared, “In higher education, we find ourselves in a position where Black students are still taught to bury their brilliance, where Black teachers are still told to treat Black children like potential criminals, where Black professors are still rewarded for ignoring their people and enlarging their pockets. Black joy is still considered something we don’t deserve, Black thought is still devalued, and Black lives are still treated as if they don’t matter. These things are still the norms because they are “business as usual.”

 

Christopher went on to celebrate, “However, there is a place where this “business as usual” has been unseated as normal. There is a place where instead of this “business as usual”, there exists creativity, resistance, joy, pleasure, power, imagination, community, and commitment for Black students. There is a place where Black students do not bury their brilliance; they watch it blossom. And that place is Africana studies. And the place to which we owe the growth, development, perpetuation, and sustaining of so many similar places not just for Black people in the U.S., but around the world, is San Francisco State University Africana studies department.

 

Guest speakers and professors celebrate all semester the importance of the campus we are on and the incredible change it made to higher learning.

 

Throughout the country and the world, you are now able to learn about Black people in their entirety. Seperate history. In depth science and psychology. Life and culture before slavery.

 

Here at San Francisco State University you can get a degree in ethnic studies with Africana studies as a discipline. The concentration has developed so far into Doctorate programs, offered first by Temple University.

 

Africana studies is offered throughout the country and the world, with at least 185 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. offering some form of Africana studies. However, there is still work to be done and strides to be made. Former and current students band together and use what they learn in the classroom to better the African-American community as a whole.

 

 

Photo by: Janett Perez

Grad Caps and Wedding Gowns

The fresh spring air brings life to the dead world winter brought. Along with it comes graduation caps, prom dresses, floral-prints galore, and yes – marriage proposals. Something about the blooming flowers or the transition from one part of life to another catches the spirit of young boys in love; urging them to get down on one knee. It is the season, some say, for a ring by spring.

Getting married young has been around since ancient times – the Greeks are said to have married once girls started their period and boys grew pubic hair. Various reasons called for this: shorter life expectancy, agreement between two households, staying a virgin until wedded (usually for religious reasons), etc. As consent laws came to form, life expectancies grew longer, and sex out of wedlock became less of a taboo, younger marriages obviously saw a decline. So why in this day-and-age are some couples still deciding to tie the knot before they’re twenty-five?

“We just knew that like no matter what we were gonna go through, we wanted to be together anyway,” explains twenty-three year-old Madison Peterson, who was nineteen when she married her husband, Joel. “No matter if we were financially ready; it didn’t matter. Or school’s in the way; it didn’t matter. ‘Cause we just knew that we were gonna be dating anyways so we might as well, let’s just get married.”

Madison was born and raised in the Dallas / Fort Worth area of Texas, where she definitely thinks people get married younger than in California, where Joel is from. This is true: the average age of marriage as of 2017 in Texas was 25.7 years old for women and 27.5 years old for men, compared to in California where the average age for women was 27.3 and for men, 29.5, according to Marriage.com.  

But it’s not just the difference in state culture, Madison thinks it’s more about religion.

“The Bible talks about how finding a wife in your youth is a blessing,” reveals Madison with a passion in her voice. “There’s a lot of scriptures that even go into talking about the kind of blessed lifestyle you live as husband and wife in your youth. I think that backs up a lot of young people, you know, let’s do it, let’s get married! God says we should, mom and dad! [laughs]”

Catholic Marriage Prep Class is an online premarital course run by The Marriage Group, specifically for couples who are having a Catholic wedding. Scott Werner, a representative from The Marriage Group finds that because they’re an online course, they are more accessible to younger couples.

“One contributing factor may be that churchgoing couples are generally more conservative in their views and lifestyle choices,” Scott says over email about why getting married young has traditionally been linked to religion – Catholicism specifically. “They are more likely to abstain from premarital sex and less likely to move in with each other prior to marriage.”

Joel and Madison did not attend any sort of premarital counseling, but part of her really wishes that they did. “Counsel would have been awesome just because there is wisdom in having a lot of people’s opinions – you don’t have to go by them, but there’s just a new perspective with each opinion you recieve. So we should’ve had that, I think it would’ve given us more insight to what marriage was going to be, but we definitely had counseling after we got married [laughs] yeah we had lots of that.”

 

Since Joel’s parents were also married young (twenty-one and twenty-two years old) they were incredibly supportive to their relationship, which Madison conveys helped tremendously, especially in the first few years when things were a bit rocky. Having a support system is important when marrying at any age, but it seems as though when parents have good experiences with marrying young, they are more likely to be supportive.

As was the same with San Francisco State University student, Angelica Romero, who got engaged two years ago when she was nineteen.

“I was a little bit worried my parents wouldn’t be as supportive,” admits Angelica. “But they told me that they actually got married within three months of dating and they’ve been together for twenty-four years. . . hearing my mom tell me that and seeing them so happy, that was just like, it just changed my whole perspective on getting married young.”

Angelica and her fiancé are both still in college and currently doing long-distance – he attends a community college in Riverside, California while she is up here in San Francisco. Because of this, and their desire to become more financially stable, they’ve decided to wait to plan their wedding until the time is right.

“I only have like hopefully one more year, I should graduate next summer,” Angelica reveals of her plans ahead. “So we’ve been talking to our parents and were thinking hopefully we can start planning [the wedding] like later this year or the beginning of next year so we can get married when I move back down there.”

By all means, not everyone is going to be supportive of Madison’s and Angelica’s decision to get hitched so young, but to them that’s okay.  

“You’re gonna have doubters no matter what decision you make,” Madison points out as she speaks of those who disapprove of her choice. “If you wait until you get married at like thirties and forties – or even late twenties – you’re gonna have people who say oh my gosh you waited too long. There’s gonna be somebody with a different opinion no matter what you do, so you have to ask yourself like am I ready? Am I ready to make a relationship work no matter what?”

There’s gonna be somebody with a different opinion no matter what you do, so you have to ask yourself like am I ready? Am I ready to make a relationship work no matter what?

 

For her of course, the answer was yes.

Olivia Stadler, an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with the San Francisco Marriage Center finds that in her experience, couples that married young sometimes feel as though they’re missing out on things when they get older.

“I think one of the challenges of getting married young is so much growth happens from graduating college – assuming that they’re on the traditional education path,” Olivia explains.

“. . .you are still finding out who you are and I think a lot of transformation can happen from twenty to thirty. So is your partner on a similar pace of growth, can they grow along with you? Or does one outgrow the other? Or do you end up feeling like you no longer have as much in common or want different things out of life?”

Olivia has helped couples who got married young and are now older – currently in their late twenties or early thirties. She admits that on the other hand, getting married so young is compelling because the couple is deciding to change their life together usually at a crossroads in their life like graduating college.

Madison describes her and Joel’s relationship as an evolution itself. She understands how much change is coming their way, but they’re ready for that everyday.

“I’ve had people say oh you’re too young and you have so much to learn and why do you do this you’re gonna grow and you’re gonna change,” she divulges on the criticism she’s received from her decision. “Well yeah I am! I am young, I am gonna grow, and I am gonna change, but I’d love to change with my best friend because I know that he’s gonna love me no matter how much I change and I’m gonna love him no matter how much he changes.”

 

Because there are so many growing and moving parts of life throughout the twenties, Scott from The Marriage Group argues that marriage is apart of that equation because of how big of a step it is.

“At the point of college graduation, many young adults are ready to start their careers, move into their own homes, and embark on the next chapter of their lives,” Scott writes over email. “For many, marriage can be the right and natural “next step” for their journey together.”

However right that next step feels at the time, some couples who marry young can’t take the changes growing older brings. The Institute for Family Studies reports in a study that, “someone who marries at twenty-five is over fifty percent less likely to get divorced than is someone who weds at age twenty.”

Whether it’s the fear of missing out or just growing apart, younger married couples are more likely to not work out. But for those who still strive for that feeling they had back when they tied the knot, therapy is there and communication is the number one issue, says Olivia.

The first phase of the work is usually about skills training,” Olivia illustrates on how she helps these couples. “So teaching them new communication tools, how to express their needs without making the other person defensive, that type of thing. And then on another level, building more self-awareness – so maybe someone doesn’t really know what they want, or maybe they’re working all the time and they’re not really in tune with their body or their emotions.”

And maybe this will work, as counseling did for Madison and Joel in their first few years of marriage. At twenty-three years old, she has been married for almost four years and is now pregnant with their first child. For them, this whole marriage thing seems to be working out just fine. And to those who still doubt their relationship?

“Proof’s in the pudding,” she declares. As it is for all those, young or old, ready or not, who dive-in headfirst to tie the knot.

 

All Artwork by Ana Murray

Ebonics is NOT “Black English”

There is no coincidence that Black people throughout the country understand and communicate in a way that is foreign to people who are not close to the culture. There is no coincidence that, although the words used are English, they don’t mean the same thing you’d find in Webster’s Dictionary. A language with history, phonetic patterns, and can be translated and dissected. Ebonics is the language shared among Black Americans and has been passed down generation to generation.

Ernie Smith Charles provides a definition to the word Ebonics and stated, “The term Ebonics refers to the ‘linguistic and paralinguistic features, which represent the language and communicative competence of West and Niger-Congo African, Caribbean, and United States slave descendants.’”

Ever-changing, the Ebonics that is prevalent now is marketed and extracted from popular songs, black celebrities and even through social media platforms such as Twitter. The difference between Ebonics and slang is in who is using it, the context, and the understand that this is the first way that most black kids are used to speaking.

You finna find out all about it in this next video…

 

Grades and Pacifiers

College can be tough for anyone. Many students decide to focus most of their attention on it. Between midterms, finals, group projects, and long research papers, there is almost no time to take a breath. While some people struggle to handle this level of stress, others test their abilities by increasing this stress. Whether it is intentionally or by accident, pregnant students deal with a more intense degree of college pressure that many students could not handle.

Idalia Guerreo, a communications major at San Francisco State University, began her college career at Skyline College at the age of twenty-one. It was an ambitious decision since she was working and had to care for her son Max, who was one-year-old at the time she started to attend Skyline. Now twenty-six-years old, she is spending her days caring for Max and her 5-week-old son Emiliano and is one year away from receiving her bachelor’s degree.

Although she was not attending SF State for the 2018 Spring semester, she already had an idea of what it will be like to return with school while having two sons to take care of. For almost five years straight, she juggled school, work, her son, and a social life, but it has not been easy.

“When Max would get sick and having to take care of him and having to stay [up] late night trying to get assignments done, sometimes I wouldn’t even finish them. I would just get like two or three hours of sleep and wake up early the next day,” admitted Idalia as she watched Max play with her phone through her peripheral vision. “So my main obstacle is getting assignments done for classes.”

According to the institute for Women’s Policy Research, 4.8 million college students are currently raising children, which is affecting for how long those students are attending school and how high their incomes are—students that are raising children are more likely to have lower incomes and spend no money towards school expenses.

Janell Aldana, a California State University, Long Beach alumna, attended college from 2007 to 2016, graduating at the age of twenty-nine. At twenty-four-years old, she became pregnant with her twin sons, Anakin and Edward.

“Having kids did take me longer to finish school, but it made me strive to do as best as I can,” shared Janell. During that time, she was only working one day a week and was deprived of sleep because she was trying to care for her sons during the day and do homework at night.

Both Idalia and Janell shared that their family and their professors we supportive and understanding of their situations. Their families would help watch their children while their professors were willing to help both women with their assignments.

Even though both women explained how difficult it is to have children while attending school, they shared that they are happy they had their sons during their academic careers.

Killer Crossings

In 2014, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and SFMTA prioritized pedestrian and cyclist safety by adopting Vision Zero, a multi-national initiative with the purpose of decreasing traffic collisions with cyclists and pedestrians.

 

 

 

There are more traffic cameras and radar around the city than ever before. The San Francisco Police Department has also been pushing to monitor the busiest and most dangerous corners for pedestrians.

 

Miranda Lee, born and raised in suburban Ohio but now resides in San Francisco, experienced a concussion, vertigo, and a foot fracture from a collision with a Toyota while crossing Webster Street in the Fillmore District. Lee says her emotions from the traumatic incident not only affected her, but the ones around her as well. Her boyfriend who lives with her has also had to cope with his own anger from this trauma.

 

“It was really hard for him. He wasn’t with me.”

 

“He got the call when he was at work. I think it’s really hard for him, he feels very angry,” said Lee while reflecting on the past two years. “I think a lot of his anger is directed toward the driver of the car. I would probably feel the same way if the roles were reversed.”

 

Lee was carrying her purse and a boxed hair dryer the moment she was struck by an Uber driver taking a sharp and fast right turn. With the help of therapy, understanding coworkers, and her boyfriend, Lee has managed to get to a happier place.

 

While the number of pedestrian fatalities in San Francisco can vary widely from year to year, it has remained relatively stagnant in the past decade. In 2015, 724 pedestrians were injured in collisions while twenty people died from walking on San Francisco’s streets. However, the number of collisions has significantly declined since 2012, which totaled at 954 pedestrian collisions. According to city performance scorecards the fatalities among cyclist and pedestrians have decreased from nineteen to sixteen between 2016 and 2017. So, the measures the city of San Francisco are taking to improve safety are working.

 

Joseph McFadden, a father and former captain of San Francisco Police Department, visits many of the vehicular fatalities sites in his district. He believes that it’s important to know where these accidents are taking place. McFadden is now working at San Francisco’s Hall of Justice where he works with crime data.

“Every district has like 10 hot intersections where most accidents occur, whether it’s pedestrian or vehicular,” said McFadden.

 

One hot intersection is the Persia Triangle on Geneva Avenue in Ingleside District. The corner is convoluted with a bus stop and five different roads. Recently, an incident involving a woman crossing that intersection occured. McFadden arrived at the scene after 911 was called.

 

“It was the pedestrian’s fault this time. The hill there (on the street) makes it hard for vehicles to see,” McFadden said.

 

The traffic bureau and their sting operations help with proposals sent from the Board of Supervisors to help curb these fatal accidents from happening. At last year’s special meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Walk SF, a pedestrian advocacy group highlighted the need for traffic improvements. Walk SF’s Outreach Director Natalie Burdick gave a detailed explanation of why things need to improve.

 

“Dylan Mitchell was twenty-one-years-old and was riding his bike on 16th Street before being hit and killed by a truck. He died at the scene,” Burdick said as she panned to the next slide. “This is Arman Wester, the only son of Alvin Wester who was killed by speeding vehicle taking a right turn.”

 

Judy Szeto, a San Francisco community member, was hit at Anza and Park Presidio by a speeding driver. To this day, her daughter takes care of her.

 

“Judy suffers every day as her daughter Jenny takes care of her, helping her cope,” Burdick shared.

 

As San Francisco’s population increases, it is apparent that alleviating traffic congestion is important. The biggest concern the city faces is with more congested streets come more opportunity for accidents.

 

In October, the Board of Supervisors and Vision Zero came together to discuss the progress the city has made. Their goal is to make San Francisco a place where no one dies from traffic accidents. The city is planning to pay SFPD officers overtime in order to keep the streets well patrolled so these accidents don’t occur. According to SFPD and City officials, there is $6 million in funding for overtime officers.

Lee, the woman hit by the Uber driver, says she still looks both ways before crossing the street.

 

“Weʼre not talking about it enough,” said Lee. She explains that each accident tends to be a short segment on the news.

 

“Itʼs never seen as an issue,” Lee said. “Itʼs always seen as a tragedy.”

 

When asked about the data from the traffic fatalities since 2014, Lee had another viewpoint.

 

“It feels as if itʼs something that is not gaining traction and I donʼt know why that is. It bothers me that the Uber driver is still driving after four months, and was only given a citation.”

 

Leeʼs experience has left her inspired to do more and get involved. She’s attended support groups for those who have had similar experiences to hers. For others like Lee, she says the problem and the healing will take time to resolve itself.

 

*Miranda Lee’s case of the accident is still pending. She decided to use a pseudonym for this story.*

 

Photo/Video by Adelyna Tirado