Thursday, August 18, 2005

"PROTEST (Fri., 8:30 a.m., 400 McAllister, SF) Against Eviction of Precita Eyes Mural Director"- Susan Cervantes (HELP! Is It Dwelling or BU$INE$$?)

Protest Against Eviction of Precita Eyes Mural Director Tomorrow

Susan Cervantes
Raquel Fox 18.AUG.05

When does San Francisco stop being San Francisco? Can you imagine the City without its murals? Neither can we, so we ask that you come and join us on the steps of 400 McAllister, Friday, August 19th, at 8:30 a.m. to protest the eviction of one of San Francisco's premier muralists and community activists.

It's no secret that the higher cost of living, increasing rent, and out-of-control housing market in San Francisco is changing the make-up of the City, driving out artists and working-class people. Now, in what may be the ultimate slap in the face, long-time veteran of the Mission District, Susan Kelk Cervantes, who has been a central force in the creation of hundreds of San Francisco's murals in the Mission, including the treasured artworks on the Women's Building, Bernal Heights Library, and Cesar Chavez Elementary, is facing eviction.

Despite having lived in her home for over 35 years, Susan Cervantes and her family received, via a three-day notice, an eviction from her new landlords, Douglas Wong and Pearl Yee, who purchased the building in July of 2005. They claim that her residence was an "unlawful use of the space" because the previous owner, in the 1960s, had converted a bottom floor, zoned for commercial use, into a two-floor residential unit.

Susan is the Director and Founder of Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center, responsible for the creation of murals, connecting youth to art programs, providing educational tours and much more. She has given her life to art and states, "I gave back everything I had, all of my income to promote what I believed was important- light and color and beauty and the sharing of public space that belongs to everyone. We tried to preserve culture and bring art . . .and now I may have to leave."

If evicted, Susan Cervantes stated that she may have to leave San Francisco due to the high cost of rent, and her absence at Precita Eyes may result in the organization's instability. This would place San Francisco's support of the muralist tradition in jeopardy.

Many in the community are rallying behind Susan, including Jeanne Derrah of the Precita Valley Neighborhood Association who stated, "Susan's eviction would be devastating for her and for our community after all she has done for us."

Please come and join us to protest and say in a unified voice to the courts and the press that San Franciscans refuse to be pushed out of the City! We value the contributions of the City's artists and say no more unfair evictions in San Francisco!

When: Friday, August 19th at 8:30 a.m. Speakers will start at 9:00 a.m. Court hearing at 9:30a.m. Where: Steps of 400 McAllister, Court House. Who: To get involved in organizing efforts, please contact Bobbi, of Central City SRO Collaborative, via e-mail at or

Please also check for further updates.


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