SF community rallies for evicted Filipinos in the South of Market district

SAN FRANCISCO — Despite a recent $100,000 grant for the city’s Filipino cultural heritage district, evicted families continue to wonder if there will be any Filipinos left in San Francisco.

Chants like these are becoming more and more familiar in San Francisco.

Today, they stand in front of 657-659 Natoma Street — where three Filipino families are facing eviction.

The building is owned by investor Michael Cheung — and the community is trying to persuade him to sell it to the city.

“We are out here letting these neighbors know we want these families to stay. They’ve been here for 25 years. They strive in this neighborhood. They grew up in this neighborhood for three generations,” said Ray Castillo.

This has been a growing problem in the South of Market district, or SOMA — which is historically the home of the city’s Filipino community.

More recently, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded SOMA Pilipinas a $100,000 “Our Town” arts grant.

It will be used to increase the visibility of Filipino arts and culture in the SOMA.

However, according to the South of Market Community Action Network, due to evictions, the community fears there will not be many Filipinos left residing in San Francisco.

“Coming fom the same province from the Philippines, being able to stay next to someone that lives in your barangay, somebody from your barrio. That’s why we call this place the Little Masantol, and we want to keep it that way.”

BA has contacted Cheung, although he has not replied.

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