SAN FRANCISCO – The 2015 Barrio Fiesta is a revival of an old tradition of the Filipino community in the South of Market.
Filipino culture was on display through traditional performances, games, and food.
Community leaders say that now more than ever is the time to celebrate the Filipino presence in the SoMa because of the recent evictions many Filipino families have been facing.
“Our community is threatened. It’s under attack from financial interest that are not our interest,” said community leader Tony Robles. “It’s our way of giving back to our community and letting our folks know they are valued, we love them, and that they’re important.”
“We have been fighting a lot of evictions and I think organizing the barrio fiesta and having the community come together is an avenue for our community to see that number one the Filipinos are here to stay,” said Luisa Antonio, the executive director of the Veterans Equity Center.
Teresa Dulalas is a single-working parent who has been evicted through the Ellis Act three times.
“Our family is going through a lot right now through the eviction process but the community have actually rallied around us,” said Dulalas.
At a recent fundraiser San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee says that while they will give assistance to families there must also be a basis to evictions.
“We have an eviction defense array of attorneys that are very smart and we provide them with city money so they could work with any families that are under that kind of pressure to make sure property owners and landlords have a good reason and not an inappropriate reason [to evict],” said Mayor Lee.
Mayor Lee has used the neighborhood stabilization fund to help stop tenants from being evicted.
“We want to stop speculative evictions and we’ve been successful. Supervisor Julie Christensen and I stopped a whole building of evictions in Chinatown just last month and we could do the same,” said Lee. “Sometimes it’s a phone call and sometimes it’s buying the whole building so we can keep affordable housing.”
The advocates of the Fil-Am community say they will continue to do what they can in the fight against evictions.
Despite fighting for equality and evictions, these kababayans say that as long as there is a San Francisco there will always be a vibrant Filipino American community living in it.
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