#12DaysToShowUp Day 6: Displacement, Gentrification, and Housing Part 1

As a part of SURJ Bay Area’s #12DaysToShowUp Fundraising Campaign — and our ongoing commitment to racial justice and reparations — 50% of all donations raised for SURJ are passed on to local POC-led organizations. The other 50% will be used to fund under-resourced rural SURJ chapters and to support our own work mobilizing white people in the Bay Area.

Donate to SURJ Bay Area before December 31 to help us reach our year-end fundraising goal of $20,000.

In addition to your donation to SURJ, we encourage you to match donations directly to POC-led organizations like those we’ve featured each of the 12 Days of this campaign.

Displacement, Gentrification, and Housing

Gentrification and displacement are forcing longtime working-class Black and Latinx Bay Area residents from their homes and communities. Between 2012 and 2017, median rents in Oakland increased by 36.2% to over $2,300 for a one-bedroom apartment, reflecting a dangerous trend that has impacted all cities in the Bay. The burden of this “affordability crisis” is not shared evenly. Black, Latinx, and other Communities of Color, which have been historically discriminated against and targeted by racist housing policies and predatory lending, are being displaced from their homes and communities. The result: between 1990 and 2011, Oakland’s Black population decreased from 43 percent to 26 percent of the population. In San Francisco, it was cut in half from about 10 percent to only 5 percent. The city’s historically Latinx Mission District lost over 1000 Latinx families in the same time.

Gentrification happens when housing and development decisions are driven by profits rather than the needs of longtime community residents. Rather than reflecting natural changes in the makeup of neighborhoods, “gentrification happens in areas where commercial and residential land is cheap and where the potential to turn a profit either through repurposing existing structures or building new ones is great” (from Causa Justa::Just Cause). Gentrification is driven by those who stand to make a profit from this process - landlords, developers, and other businesses. It is supported by government policies and processes, such as those that favor private development of market-rate housing without considering the need for affordable homes.

BUT Gentrification and displacement are NOT inevitable! SURJ Bay Area follows the leadership of organizations like Causa Justa:: Just Cause (CJJC), which organizes working-class Black and Brown communities to build political power, fight for resident decision-making regarding development, and push our government to prioritize immigrant and tenant rights. Recent victories have included the passage of Measure JJ, which significantly strengthened rent control laws in Oakland. CJJC also challenges displacement through its tenants’ rights clinic, which supports tenants in knowing their rights and fighting illegal rent increases and evictions.

White people need to fight displacement of Black & Brown communities - including by donating to the organizations leading this struggle. At SURJ Bay Area, we recognize that white people are the prime beneficiaries of racist housing policy. We also understand our obligation to invest in movements led by people of color to fight displacement and assert their rights to stay in their homes, neighborhoods and cities. In collaboration with CJJC, SURJ Bay Area’s Basebuilding Committee provides monthly Anti-Displacement and Gentrification Workshops to organize participants to take action against displacement, and to raise funds for CJJC’s transformative work. In the workshop, SURJ centers the analysis offered by CJJC’s organized and powerful base and shares their call for immediate action against displacement.

SURJ Bay Area believes it is essential for white allies and accomplices to show up against displacement--to challenge ourselves to seek education, to invest in People-of-Color-led movements, and to identify strategies to financially contribute to this work.

Today is DAY 6 of #12DaysToShowUp and we ask you to support our work by donating here. Over 50% of all donations are directed towards local POC-led organizations. The rest will be used to fund under-resourced rural SURJ chapters and to support our own work mobilizing white people in the Bay Area.

Donate to SURJ Bay Area before December 31 to help us reach our year-end fundraising goal of $20,000.