San Francisco

SF Black Leaders Want the Fillmore Heritage Center to be a Safe Space for Community

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Prominent California Black leaders gathered Monday in San Francisco to demand the city to hand over a long-struggling property in the name of reparations.

Black leaders want the Fillmore Heritage Center to be gifted to a non-profit group to be transformed into a meeting place for members of the city's Black community.

They say its a fight to save the soul of the Fillmore, which they describe as the center of San Francisco's Black community for decades.

The now shuttered Fillmore Heritage Center is the place where the Black Panther political party once led the community beginning in the 1960s.

"We say today, make good on the promise," said Rev. Dr. Amos Brown from the San Francsico NAACP.

Dr. Amos Brown said the Fillmore Heritage Center was the Harlem of the West until urban renewal forced people of color out of the Fillmore.

Actor Danny Glover remembers it the same way; a center piece of the neighborhood where he grew up.

"I'd come here with my dad and I'd see the magic that was happening on the street down there," Glover said.

The address is also special to Dr. James Taylor, a San Francisco State professor and expert on the subject.

"Right here is where I got my education from the Black Panther Party," said Dr. Taylor who is also part of the San Francisco Reparations Committee.

They are now calling on the city to donate the building to the community so it can be used as a Black heritage center, the first step toward reparations for centuries of abuse.

"I think London Breed should shock the world next week and do something like she's done for the homeless," Dr. Taylor said.

Mayor Breed, who earmarked over $120 million in police funding to be redirected toward partial reparations, said state laws could put roadblock in front of any plans to donate the building to anyone.

She also said some are concerned about the viability of its use as a cultural center in the long term.

"I would like to see the venue open. I would like to see the venue be a huge success. I don’t want to see the venue continue to be a financial drain on the city," she said.

Community leaders promised they won't take no for an answer and will continue to press the mayor and board of supervisors until this is indeed a Black heritage center in the heart of the Fillmore.

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