By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
September 5, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO – Over 80 community members gathered to participate in a multi-sectoral peace march to curb the increasing violence in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco.
Joined by city officials and the police, the community members chanted and held signs as they marched through one of the busiest streets during rush hour in San Francisco.
West Bay Pilipino, United Playaz, SOMCAN and City Crossroads are four of the main nonprofits serving the youth and their families in the SoMa district which is home to a large group of Filipinos.
These non-profits, along with the community were alarmed by the shooting deaths in July and another recent shooting on 8th and Market.
The incidents occurred just blocks away from agencies that serve vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly.
“I just noticed that violence was occurring left and right along the perimeter of the family and youth zone in the South of Market. For me that is unacceptable,” said West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center Executive Director Vivian Zalvidea Araullo. “I know it’s been like that for a long time but it is not acceptable to have violence regularly occur on a very frequent basis in a place where families, children, seniors, and our Filipino immigrant community is at.
San Francisco political leaders joined the march to combat the violence in the SoMa and to ensure the future safety of the children.
“This is an ongoing work,” said Jane Kim who is on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. “It’s not starting today. It’s been going on for years and the work continues. It doesn’t get solved at once but making sure we are supporting after school programs, stronger schools programs like West Bay and United Playaz and SOMCAN.”
The children were glad to send a message to the rest of the community because they do not want to see any more people like them killed in their neighborhood.
“I think it’s really important for our youth to be here because we’re the future and one thing is for sure whatever happens now is what’s going to be effected us definitely in the future,” said SOMCAN participant George Ocampo. “If there’s violence now there’s going to be violence in the future. If we don’t stop it now it’s not going to end.”
You can contact Rommel Conclara at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.