Sunday March 30
16th Street BART Plaza
Taking inspiration from our homies at Food Not Bombs, and as a way to make an intervention in the conversation on “cleaning up the plaza” in a low key and social way, Coffee Not Cops shares free coffee, pastries, and literature for everyone kicking it in the plaza (except the police, of course).
We want to keep the plaza as a place — a commons — for hanging out for all the folks who’ve called it their home for years. For us that means carving out a section of the plaza that is unwelcoming to the cops, who have recently made a point to occupy the area morning, noon, and night. We want to shine a light on the fact that the police presence in the plaza is for the benefit of the new gentrifiers and actually not for the safety of those of us who have hung out an lived on this corner for years.
We plan to continue doing Coffee Not Cops every other Sunday at 11 a.m. Join us with your literature, banners, music, art, food, conversation, and/or other contributions to expanding and reclaiming our neighborhood commons. And don’t forget! Food Not Bombs serves every Thursday at 16th and Mission plaza. If you want to help cook, drop by Station 40 at 5pm.
Below is the text to the flyer we hand out to folks in the plaza during Coffee Not Cops:
Coffee Not Cops stands with our neighbors against the eviction epidemic, the new condo developments, police brutality and harassment, and the tech culture that is draining the social and political spirit of our beloved city.
When we serve coffee, many folks in the plaza are confused. “Isn’t it good the cops are here? It actually IS unsafe in the plaza.” We can’t argue that 16th and Mission is a safe place, but we do argue that the reason the cops are finally concerned is because this is slated to be ground zero for a huge puke-worthy condo. All the folks who have lived through the roughness of this corner — survived shoot outs, witnessed and suffered from pimp violence, those who’ve struggled with drug addiction and those who’ve sat here week after week handing out clean needles and harm reduction material — are facing another imminent threat: eviction and/or jail. Let’s say crime stops on 16th and Mission. Do we really think it will be Latino families, working class people, and young people of color who will be around to enjoy this supposed lack of crime? The “cleaned up” plaza is a future designed for all them new tech yuppies, and scared ass rich people who’ve never walked down the same streets as brown folks or homeless people. SFPD claims they’re here for “the community’s safety,” but we know what community they’re talking about.
We serve coffee in the plaza because we want the folks who have hung out and lived in the plaza for years to come back and not be intimidated by the police. See, for many, cops are the ones who are unsafe. Even the supposedly progressive, lgbt friendly San Francisco police are notorious for beat downs and shootings of poor people in general. They especially target black men and people with mental health problems. We don’t want cops to feel like they can come to our plaza and intimidate and harass our neighbors for the benefit of white and rich people with out some push back!