Peaceful March Remembers Neighbor Alex Nieto as Shooting Investigation Drags On

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Turnout was strong, peaceful, and focused during yesterday’s march and memorial to mark the nine-month anniversary of Bernal neighbor Alex Nieto’s death in an SFPD officer-involved shooting on March 21, 2014. Yesterday’s march to remember Alex began on 24th Street in the Mission before heading up to the spot on Bernal Hill where Neighbor Alex was killed. Our friends at Mission Local had reporter Daniel Hirsch on hand at the rally:

The march was peaceful and no police officers were noticeable on scene. It began with a rally at the Bart Plaza on Mission and 24th Street around 4 p.m.. When those gathered began to move what started as a procession along the sidewalk quickly spilled onto the street, blocking traffic along 24th Street in several directions. Led by Aztec dancers and chants of “No Justice, No Peace, Stop the Racist Police,” the march lingered at the corner of Folsom and 24th Street for several minutes, before making its way up to the top of Bernal Hill [for] a ceremony honoring the dead.

MissionLocal also captured video of the march; click through to watch.

Bernalwood will provide updates if SFPD or City officials release any more information about Neighbor Alex Nieto’s death as part of an ongoing investigation that remains shamefully slow and opaque.

PHOTO: Daniel Hirsch for MissionLocal 

Sunday: Repair the World with JCCSF at Alemany Farm

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Tikkun Haolam is a Hebrew phrase that means “repair of the world.”

In modern Judaism, it often refers to the ideals  of philanthropy, social service, and community outreach. The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco has a very active Tikkun program, and this Sunday, Oct. 5 they’re organizing a volunteer work effort at the fabulous Alemany Farm in South Bernal.

Sarah Stickel from JCCSF shares the deets:

Hi Bernalwood Neighbors,

Want to do some good for your ‘hood this weekend?

Your fans and friends at JCCSF are coming to YOU this Sunday, 10/5 at Alemany Farm! We welcome everyone to join us on the farm from Noon – 5:00 pm while we lend a hand and help out a local treasure and urban farm that provides tons of free, local, organic produce to local low-income families and beyond. Come get your hands dirty, invite your friends, and take home your own free produce!

For information and to RSVP, visit our website and join us on the farm this Sunday!

Many thanks and best wishes to all you Bernalwood beauties.

PHOTO: Alemany Farm via Alemany Farm on Flickr

Saturday Morning: Cleanup Party in Precita Park

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When you look down at Precita Park from the safety and climate-contolled comfort of the Google Earth blimp, it looks… Peaceful. Pristine. Like an urban oasis.

Actually, when you look at Precita Park from street level, it looks pretty damn awesome as well.

This is no accident. Precita Park looks so super-sexy in no small part because of all the hard work Neighbor Demece Garepis has done through the years under the auspices of Precita Valley Neighbors, the volunteer group she so valiantly leads.

Tomorrow morning, PVN is organizing a neighborly Precita Park cleanup party… and it’s a great opportunity to give the park some of your love.  Neighbor Demece says:

We are going to Clean Up Precita Park!

Join us this Saturday, Sept. 13 at 9:30a am. Meet in the Children’s Playground. Bring your bags, hand shovels, and rakes! Neighborly conversation and friendship provided.

IMAGE: Via Google Earth Pro

Starting Tonight: Vigils and March to Remember Alex Nieto

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Friends and family of Alex Nieto have organized a series events, starting today and culminating tomorrow, to honor the young Bernal resident who was killed in an officer-involved shooting on March 24.

Adriana from Justice for Alex Nieto wrote to Bernalwood to extend an invitation:

The Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Committee invites Bernal Heights to come support their neighbors The Nieto Family at the following events that will take place tomorrow Thursday and Friday at the Alex Nieto Memorial, on the north slope of Bernal Hill:

  • Thursday Aug. 21st, 7PM-Midnight: Sunset Vigil on Alex’s 5th month anniversary of killing by SFPD (ceremony, poets, musicians, speakers)
  • Friday Aug. 22nd, 5AM-7AM: Sunset Ceremony (danzantes, Buddhist Mesha Irizarry, mother of Idriss Stelley, killed by SFPD in 2001, will lead us in calling the names of those killed by SFPD in past decades)
  • Friday Aug. 22nd at 12 Noon: Alex Rises! March for Civil Rights against Police Killings! (Starting from Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill)

Additional details at the Justice for Alex Nieto website, and the poster below:

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PHOTO: Top, Alex Nieto memorial on Bernal Hill, this morning August 5, 2014 at 8:22 am, by Telstar Logistics

Local Ladies Use Unicorn Power to Counter Bernal Planned Parenthood Protests

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Equipped only with a few signs, a deep appreciation for the bizarre, and plenty of Grrl Power zeal, a gallant group of local ladies staged a rally at the Planned Parenthood on Valencia yesterday to counter the anti-choice protesters who have recently been more aggressive there.

The professionally fashionable Neighbor Dema shared this dispatch from the sidewalk:

Our goal was to defuse an ugly situation with humor. I think some people were quite confused, especially by the “Unicorns Are Real” poster, but we had a very positive response. One guy instantly donated $100 to Planned Parenthood on his phone, one woman brought us muffins, and the kind folks at Terra Mia gave us free coffee! We also got several people to become members of PP. Success!

Unicorns Forever!

Well played, local ladies. Well played. You make us proud. Also: Unicorns forever!

PHOTO: via Neighbor Dema

Supreme Court Decision Amps Up Protestors at Valencia Planned Parenthood Clinic

Recently, a unanimous US Supreme Court decision invalidated a Massachusetts law that created protest-free “buffer zones” around clinics that provide abortion services, on the grounds that the law violates the First Amendment right to free speech. San Francisco has a similar buffer-zone law, which has been much appreciated at the Planned Parenthood on Valencia Street in recent years.

Yet because of the Supreme Court ruling, San Francisco’s law also is in jeopardy, and Bernal’s Plannned Parenthood clinic reports that incidents of harassment by protesters are on the rise — although City officials are reluctant to do much about it. The Chronicle has the story:

Planned Parenthood executives say San Francisco police and the city attorney aren’t doing enough to protect patients and staff from “harassment and intimidation” at the organization’s health center on Valencia Street.

“Each week, as the harassment and intimidation escalate … the city’s ordinances are violated ever more flagrantly,” Planned Parenthood’s Bay Area chapter leader, Heather Saunders Estes, wrote in a July 22 letter to City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

And when center staffers call police, they are told that “there is nothing they can do,” Saunders Estes wrote.

The latest protest rift was brought on by last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Massachusetts’ 35-foot no-protest zone around clinics.

The protesters now ignore San Francisco’s 25-foot buffer zone as they pass out literature, and film staffers and patients entering the building, clinic reps complain.

SFist adds that “Planned Parenthood’s Bay Area chapter asks volunteer escorts to sign up here.”

Hat Tip: SFist

PHOTO: Protestors outside Valencia Planned Parenthood clinic in 2011, by peephole

Occupy Bernal Disavows Rogue Graffiti on Peralta Home

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occupyhouseOver the weekend a home on the 600 block of Peralta Avenue in Bernal Heights was tagged with Occupy Bernal Heights graffiti, prompting several neighbors to share photos of the damage with Bernalwood.

Graffiti seems incongruent with the above-board (and generally impressive) tactics of Occupy Bernal Heights activists, so Bernalwood reached out to Neighbor Buck Bagot from Occupy Bernal for insight. He replied:

Occupy Bernal hasn’t been active as Occupy Bernal in over a year, since we folded into SF ACCE. We’re now doing a lot of work helping folks in Bernal and the Mission fight Ellis Act evictions. (We helped the tenants at 23rd and Florida save their 10-unit building). And that’s not our style. No vandalism or violence, especially towards the Police.

Whatever vandal did it must think they evicted prior residents of something – no excuse though. Juvenile and destructive. And not effective either. A very few of the Occupy SF folks have no aspirations to tap the support of the vast majority of our neighborhood/City/nation. Like the term “99%” – we mean it. [Graffiti is] destructive, and counter productive.

PHOTOS: Top, Rally P.; Below,  Evan S.