Equality

Equality Poster

Equality Poster

This poster includes both historic and recent photographs of activists protesting for workers’ rights, racial equality, and equal access to opportunity. From the Black Panthers in Oakland, defenders of the I-Hotel in San Francisco’s Filipino community, to the annual gatherings on International Workers’ Day in the Mission District, Bay Area communities have played a prominent role in advancing racial and socio-economic change for all.

I-Hotel

In the 1920s and 1930s, the International Hotel, also known as the I-Hotel, was home to many seasonal Asian laborers, particularly within the Filipino-American population. Slated for demolition in the late 1960s, the community rallied together to resist the eviction of the low-income tenants who had called the I-Hotel home for decades. While the original I-Hotel was eventually demolished in 1981, the Chinatown Community Development Center worked to develop a new residential property and by 2005, a new I-Hotel was erected. The new I-Hotel contains 105 apartments of senior housing, a ground floor community center, and a historic commemorative display.

Black Power

The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s set the stage for the Black Power movement, which grew to embody a stronger expression of self-empowerment and sense of urgency in advocating for racial equality. Stokely Carmichael, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), popularized the term “Black Power” in 1966. The Black Panther Party, one of the most radical voices to develop out of the Black Power movement, was founded in 1966 in Oakland, California, by Huey P. Newton, a first-year law student. Author Jama Lazerow describes the Black Panthers:

As inheritors of the discipline, pride, and calm self-assurance preached by Malcolm X, the Panthers became national heroes in black communities by infusing abstract nationalism with street toughness—by joining the rhythms of black working-class youth culture to the interracial élan and effervescence of Bay Area New Left politics.[1]


Workers’ Rights

In 2009, over 600 San Franciscans marched from Dolores Park to the Civic Center, chanting in unison:

“Sí, se puede, sí, se puede!” (“Yes we can, yes we can!”)
“El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!” (“The people united will never be defeated!”)

In 2010, the Bay Area chapter of the Laborers’ International Union of North America group rallied the public in San Francisco’s Mission District during the annual International Workers’ Day (also known as May Day). Gathering in solidarity, citizens expressed opposition to state and federal policies that they feared would escalate cultural hostility and discrimination against immigrant workers and minorities.

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Workers protest at Woodfin Suites Hotel, in Emeryville, Calif.   (Photo: David Bacon)

Workers protest at Woodfin Suites Hotel, in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo: David Bacon)

 


[1] Lazerow, Jama; Yohuru R. Williams (2006). In Search of the Black Panther Party: New Perspectives on a Revolutionary Movement. Duke University: Duke University Press.