Harvey Milk Plaza “Seat-In” on November 18, 2012

Dozens of protestors brought chairs and benches to Harvey Milk Plaza in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro district on November 18, 2012, to protest the removal of benches by the cabal of merchants known as the Castro / Upper Market Community Benefits District (CUMCBD). CUMCBD had previously decided to remove the $40,000 benches at Harvey Milk Plaza at an additional cost of $1,800 because homeless people were actually using the benches!

Protestors from Community Not Commodity and various other groups dedicated a replacement bench installed for $30 in recycled wood and concrete plus labor (yay Craig! update as of 9:37pm the bench was removed) with speeches in a soap box chalked on the pavement (yay Carmen et al.!) and songs from Tommi Avicolli-Mecca and Francis Collins. The speeches highlighted connections between the bench removal and the attitudes of certain business people and Supervisor Scott Wiener toward the homeless in San Francisco, as well as the needs of elderly and disabled people for public places to rest, the need for a public commons where people can sit, lie, and congregate, the special needs of LGBT youth who are homeless for places safer than Golden Gate Park, and the economic crisis caused by the super-wealthy 1% who got bailed out while foreclosing on and evicting homeowners and renters by the millions. People suggested future gatherings to protest as well as finding out how people who aren’t necessarily property owners or businesses can take back control of public space from the greed-mongers.

More videos coming soon…

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