Happy Juneteenth

Good News from SF BayView

Happy Juneteenth! SF Foundation invited the Bay View to apply, and got a grant! Bay View Archive Project For years, theywere told that the Bay View is too radical, too “edgy” to get a grant. Now the mighty San Francisco Foundation has kicked that obstacle out of the way, inviting them last year and again this year to apply. Last year a technical problem got in the way, but this time the grant – for $20,000 to the Bay View Archive Project – is signed, sealed and delivered. Their current website goes back only 10 years, and with the funds they’ll post as many of the previous 10 years’ stories as they can.

Juneteenth at Eastmont in East Oakland Report

I felt happy when I was dancing in the parking lot shouting “Ghetto International” with Jennifer Johns and the young ladies on stage.

I felt happy when I was shouting “I am a colored girl” with the other black woman on the stage, even though I was aware of being light skinned and biracial. After she uplifted all the dark skinned sisters, then she turned around and included the light skinned sisters and our brown Latina sisters who live here, and then all of the other colors and then said pink is a color, too, so the white girls could stand out there in the parking lot with all the colored girls.

I felt happy, doing Capoeira dance and martial arts moves with my Hello Kitty back pack and my skull fascinators and my black lipstick and Theda Bara eyeliner.

I felt happy when I got a mammogram out there and got to wait in the parking lot doing Juneteenth instead of having to get one in Berkeley at LifeLong Alta Bates. I was happy because I got to get my mammogram in a mobile office andd my hour in the waiting room was an hour out in the sun smiling and laughing with my neighbors.

I felt happy doing my goth chick club dances next to the elders who were line-dancing to the super hot cover of Boo’ed Up. I felt happy, even though sometimes I missed my mother – who was dark skinned and not mixed like me, but also a goth – who knew how to swing dance because she learned from her daddy who used to wear a Zoot Suit. I felt happy, even though sometimes I wanted to cry because I am over 50 now and my mommy is dead, and we can’t hold hands and dance and dare everyone to guess if we are mom and daughter or a lesbian couple anymore.

I felt happy when the younger black man asked me to sign his petition and said he knew me from Death Guild.

I felt happy when the grandson of my former pastor JR Richardson, the pastor who cast a vote and then went home and died peacefully in his sleep on died on Election Night 2000, came told me he STILL uses the video production skills my mom, brother and I taught him at th old public access station to videotape churches and secular, as well.

I felt happy when the Juneteenth in the parking lot on Bancroft at Eastmont reminded me of Juneteenth at Kimball Park in San Francisco and all the years me and mom wrote grants for non profits out there including SF Juneteenth.

I am proud of who we are, even if our Juneteenth is in the parking lot of a concrete institutional structure that houses police, social services, and low income medical care on one side and CVS and DeeDee’s Discount on the other side. I hope they make it an annual event.

Happy Juneteenth. I love Oakland.

~ by Sumiko Saulson on June 16, 2019.

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