The Peoples’ Choice — SFMTA Says Your Voice Matters

It’s ten in the morning on a Wednesday, and Jake Richard is packing his bag for the day ahead — double checking to make sure his jiu jitsu gi is clean and crisp. Richard heads out to the BART station for his hour commute from the East Bay city of Pittsburg to San Francisco Montgomery Street station for his Brazilian jiu jitsu class, preceding an eight-hour workday. “My daily commute into the city is about an hour long, and that is if my train isn’t delayed, which happens often,” Richard,...

Trouble In Paradise — The Day the Yerba Buena Island Community Faded

The day was September 14, 2015. It was breezy and partly-cloudy, an average San Francisco day for this time in September. But this was not a typical day. Byron Kaufman was in the process of moving out of his house on Yerba Buena Island — he had been for weeks. In fact, about a hundred other residents on the island were going through the same process. It was a day Kaufman knew would eventually come, but nothing could prepare him for what came next. A neighbor arrived at his house...

Lions and Tigers, Trump and Clinton, Oh My!

At the turn of the twentieth century, Americans were in a state of economic and political discontent. It sounds familiar, because it is familiar — there are tangible parallels in real time. When L. Frank Baum published The Wizard of Oz in 1900, he stated that he wrote the book to please children, and perhaps this was coming from a place of respite in his mind, an imaginary vacation from the stress their parental counterparts were enduring. However, in the historian Henry M. Littlefield’s 1964 essay analyzing Baum’s work, he...

Determined for Change — Reclaiming Hip-Hop Culture Through Self-Determination

“Now who wants to open for Rakim?” shouted Executive Director Khafre James repeatedly. He was energetically circling a group of about fifteen people, and from his tone it was more of a chant and call-to-action than it was a question. The group of individuals, called Hip-Hop For Change, was gathered for their weekly meeting at Qilombo, a radical community center located in an Oakland neighborhood that many people unfamiliar with the city would never think to enter. They were voting on an upcoming show they will host this fall featuring...

Leaving No One Out

He has a big smile, moderately dyed orange hair with highlights of taupe, and is an overwhelmingly candid intellectual. These are the immediate characteristics that flood one’s senses when meeting Alex Locust, a postgraduate student at San Francisco State University. He is already seated at a brown wooden table in the middle of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at SF State, filled wall-to-wall with literature on what seems like endless bookshelves, and he’s with his good friend Robyn Ollodort. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

From A Bern To A Fizzle

Alyscia Richards was introduced to politics at a young age. Subscriptions to Time and Newsweek magazines lay around the house, the national news blared on the television every night, and political discussions were commonplace at the dinner table. She even remembers the many times she waited in the car as her mother finished up inside the voting booths. Fast-forward and Richards, political science student at San Francisco State University, emulates her parents as she continues to emphasize politics within her own family. Richards still keeps up with the national news...

Urban Exploration: Discovering the Underground Bay

By: Tessa Murphy The voice on the phone wasn’t dark or mysterious like you’d expect from the man giving the where and when for an illicit activity we knew very little about.  John Law sounds like a somewhat distractible old-time hippie, a rough quality working its way into his California accent.  We were meeting at Oakland’s Tribune Tower, where Law keeps an office, but he wouldn’t give any specifics about where we were heading.  All we knew is that we’d be on one of Law’s urban exploration expeditions. Urban exploration...

Free-styling: Bay Area Voguers Are Claiming The Spotlight

By: Stephanie LaRue Jacques Whitfield was 16 years old when he and his friend from hip-hop dance class went to their first ball. The vibe was intense and chaotic. Performers ran around the hall scrambling to find pieces of their garments, and everyone spoke over one another. A fight nearly broke out feet from their seats. Whitfield had no idea what to expect. All he knew was that he had to make it home to San Francisco from Oakland by his midnight curfew, and at 11 p.m. the party had...

Write What You Read – The Writer’s Block

By: Stephanie LaRue I’m going to let you in on a secret. It’s a big one, too. It’s a secret that could damage my credibility. It might even get my writer’s card revoked.   I’m not a big reader. I can count the number of books I read when I wasn’t in school on one hand. Hell, I haven’t even read all the Harry Potter books.   That’s my label: A writer who doesn’t read. It’s like a chef who doesn’t eat. It doesn’t make much sense.   Don’t get...

Love Trolls

By: Minerva Razo “We both know why we’re here,” reads a message from a stranger, “just come over.” Not sure what warranted that from a match but a new message from another stranger pops up before it’s given another thought. “To keep it light, I got a female but I think you’re cute af.” This is from a person who is supposed to be looking for a love connection. These are just some of the messages that people on dating apps receive on a daily basis, and the messages become...

Perspectives of an international student in San Francisco

By: Janisara Katanyutaveetip Before we get started, let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Janisara Katanyutaveetip. I get asked about my name all the time because it’s long and hard to pronounce. I will make things easier for you: just call me “Janis”. I’m an international student from Bangkok, Thailand. I lived there almost my whole life until I decided to come to San Francisco as an international student. I chose to major in journalism because I didn’t want to deal with Math and Science,...

Following the Money

By: Kristen Struckmeyer When I got out of class, a small white envelope was waiting for me on the windshield of my car. I could feel my lungs fill with dread and my face glow red as I read the parking citation, issued at 12:42 pm. I checked my phone: it was 12:46. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. But for the time being I did neither. This overwhelming sense of crisis came from the eight parking tickets I had already received this month. In fact, the large...