June and July garden and volunteer photos

In June and July Quesada Gardens organized and hosted several volunteer groups, including Habitat for Humanity, Good Eggs, Youth Conservation Corps, Bloomburg and ARC of San Francisco.

These groups, organized by our tireless-but-probably-exhausted Co-Chairperson Shane King, help to keep our garden tended and weeded. Carlos John Davila and Co-Chairperson Craig Cannon led groups, helping direct the workers and organize the game plan.

Joel and Mary McClure, as they have for years, directed volunteers at the Bridgeview Teaching and Learning Garden, a project they maintain.

Neighbors Carlos Davila and his daughter Meah, Wei Ming Dariotis and Hussain AbdulhaqqTai Tran and Mark Philpot, Jeffrey BetcherMaxine Kraemer, and Rithy Chan are just some of the neighbors who have been working very hard to make the garden beautiful and welcoming. Thank you everyone. And I’m sorry if I missed anyone, I’m not ALWAYS watching!!

Please enjoy some photos from the volunteer groups and from some neighbors working in the garden.

Elizabeth Skow

Jeffrey Betcher neatens plantings on sidewalk in front of the Pettus’ home. 
Images: Craig Cannon
The models posing with their traffic cut-outs. One has been installed on Quesada Ave.
Hussain Abdulhaqq in his skirt of Nastertium.
Wei Ming working in a terraced section of the gardens.
Images: Maxine Kraemer

GIRLFY in the gardens again!

This year’s GIRLFLY poses on the Quesada Gardens’ Tiled Steps located at the Newhall end of Quesada Avenue

Photo by Megan Lowe

Have you seen young women dancing in the Quesada or Bridgeview gardens? It’s that time again! GIRLFLY is creating a site specific dance and studying writing as activism here in our neighborhood during July. You may see them practicing in the gardens, Tuesdays through Fridays.GIRLFLY and Quesada Gardens have been collaborating since 2013.

GIRLFLY brings neighborhood and neighboring teen girls to the gardens to make site specific dances, to learn from the community building that has gone on here, and to deepen the neighbor to neighbor activism that has blossomed here along with the gardens.  Our long time ally and partner Jeffrey Betcher has been front and center in making this partnership a success.

This year we are making dances that explore both diversity and support in and around the Bridgeview Garden, on the long tile steps at the Newhall end of Quesada, and in locations on the Quesada Gardens’ median.  We are also enacting a writing-as-activism project led by SF State ethnic studies professor and QG neighbor Wei Ming Dariotis.

We have 19 girls ready to dance and make a difference. Come see their performances in the gardens on July 29th at noon and two PM. www.flyawayproductions.com

Black Panthers in Bayview Hunters Point

By Kaila Thomas

My name is Kaila Thomas. I am the granddaughter of a Black Panther and a lifelong social activist. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and later moved to Virginia, which has allowed me to experience some of the many cultural differences within our country. I am now a senior at the University of San Francisco where I’m pursuing a degree in American History with minors in Anthropology, African American Studies, and African Studies. I have lived in Bayview for a year now with my cousin and fellow contributor, 

Shane  King.

The forefathers of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton,founded this revolutionary party to protect and uplift the Black communities of Oakland and the rest of the Bay Area after countless acts of police brutality.
As the Black Panther Party grew in popularity in the late 1960s, new offices and chapters began to emerge in major cities across the nation and influenced countless Black Power organizations overseas.
As a result of the rise of the Black Panther Party, FBI Director J. Edgar Hooverdeclared,
“The Black Panther party represents the greatest threat among the Black extremist groups to the internal security of the United States”.
To the government, the Panthers were the the enemy. But to Black communities across the nation, the Panthers were saviors.
Every day, I find myself looking out the window of the T line, taking in all the beautiful murals of famous powerful Black leaders like Malcolm X and Barack and Michelle Obama on Third Street. Undoubtedly, Malcolm X and the Obamas impacted the lives of Bayview Hunters Point residents throughout the years. But what about the Black Panthers?
An image of a San Francisco Panthers’ breakfast program, perhaps here on Kiska Rd.
The Bay Area was the Panthers’ original stomping grounds, Oakland ultimately influencing the San Francisco wings of the party.  San Francisco was crucial to national communication and networking with other diverse groups of the time such as the Brown Berets and the Red Guards on common class issues.
The Black Panther newspaper-where they published their ideals for the party-was distributed nationally out of San Francisco’s printing press. Their Free Breakfast Program, which fed hundreds of children every day, was started in San Francisco.
The Panthers were well established and operating in San Francisco. But were they in our neighborhood, working within our community?
With a little digging, I was able to find that there is a rich history of the Panthers here in Bayview Hunters Point.
I came across an old FBI file which listed all the Black Panther community centers and offices in the city. And sure enough, there was a community center being run out of someone’s apartment on Kiska Road (to be respectful of the current residence, I won’t give the name of the apartment complete and number).
The old FBI file states that this apartment was used as Community Center by the Black Panther Party and most likely a site for the Breakfast Program. Local Panthers operated the party’s “Survival Programs” the out of Community Centers. They provided services such as free clothing, free legal aid assistance, a news service and a free community employment program just to name a few. So the Black Panthers were, in fact, intricately woven throughout the daily lives of the people in our community.
Now I find myself looking out the window of the T line daydreaming about the Panthers marching up and down the streets of Bayview Hunters Point, protecting the people.
I can’t help but wonder if maybe one day there will be a beautiful mural dedicated to the Black Panthers.

Meet the Neighbors: Eddie Edais, “E” of Big Save Market

Eddie Edais, “E” of Big Save Market. Image: Shane King
by Shane King
Known to most in Bayview as E, Eddie Edais came into the world via Saint Luke’s Hospital in 1981. He grew up mostly in Daly City and graduated from San Francisco City College in 1996.
The year before Eddie was born, his father bought a business that would become the center of Eddie’s adult life: Big Save Market, on the corner of Third Street and Quesada Avenue.
Though he studied to be an Auto Technician, he would not end up working on cars for a living. After graduating, E came to Bayview to run the family business.
E, known as a good son in a Palestinian family that values hard work, has been working at Big Save seven days a week, usually 12 hours a day, for the past 21 years.
His easy way with customers and friendly disposition may seem surprising coming from someone so driven to work so hard, but it’s likely the result of his being such an integral and longtime part of the community he loves. After all, Big Save and E’s family have been a central part of the neighborhood for almost 40 years-he lines between work, family and community start to soften.
Eddie started spending time at the store when he was a kid. He enjoyed it.
“What could be better to a kid than being surrounded by unlimited candy and soda and chips?” E remembers fondly.
His older brother, Ray, started working the register at age 6, standing on a milk crate so he could reach the register to ring people up. These days, even though Ray hasn’t worked in the store for over 15 years, not a week passes without a customer asking how he is.


E manages to take the occasional vacation to his family’s hometown of Jerusalem, Israel. His family has owned land there for hundreds of years.

Recently, Israeli settlers annexed land that belonged to Eddie’s family farm. Eddie was visiting his family when the Israelis used bulldozers to destroy groves of olive trees that had supported the Palestinian community for thousands of years. His mother and grandmother were in tears but begged Eddie not to get involved since, as an American citizen, he could lose the right to ever return to Jerusalem.

Eddie has had to learn diplomacy in two countries. Being a convenience store clerk is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and Bayview-Hunters Point has a reputation for gun violence. He has never had a life-threatening altercation with a customer. No guns have ever been drawn in the store in the 37 years Eddie’s family has owned it.

Recently, a neighborhood group new to Bayview, began talking about trying to shut down Big Save Market because they disliked seeing the patrons standing outside the market. E says when heard about it he was furious and ready to fight whatever legal battle he had to.

“When you say, I’m going to shut down your store, you got to understand how many people does this store feed,” he said.

“I got three employees, so that’s three families, besides my family, dad’s family, my brother’s family, my sister’s family — she’s a widow. That’s [seven] families.”

He was very upset and so he met with the group and immediately discovered they all wanted the same thing: to make the neighborhood the best place it can be.

Parrot Poem

FullSizeRender4By Wei Ming Dariotis  

 The black cat jumps up the


but cannot interrupt them;

beaks full of pink plum blossoms,

the parrots coo and

cackle softly

Is it the faint flavor or the soft

petal texture? Or just theFullSizeRender1

smell? Red heads and green

bodies in a cloud of pink

against the mottled blue

spring sky.

They seem so pleased.


It’s just a soft San Francisco


afternoon, in the Bayview

Shane King travels to SXSW, Berlin Film Fest

IMG_5171Filmaker and Cinematographer Shane King with Armistead Maupin at South by Southwest film festival, where they celebrated a film Shane helped to shoot about Maupin, “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.” Image: Courtesy Shane King

Quesada neighbor and Chairperson of Quesada Gardens Initiative,

Shane King, has been busy! In addition to coordinating and leading multiple volunteer days for QGI, raising his daughter running his video production company, and getting engaged, he also recorded an audio tour for the audio tour app, Detour (more about that later in this issue!).

 In addition to being a father, fiancée, community leader, tour guide and video production company CEO, Shane is also a filmmaker, and he has been getting some recognition lately.

 In February, Shane spent five days at the Berlin Film Festival where he attended the world premier of the documentary Tania Libre, a film he shot much of and edited with Director Lynn Hershman. The film will show locally at the Yerba Buena center for the arts as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival

 Then in March, Shane went to SXSW for The Untold Tales Of Armistead Maupin, a documentary about Armistead Maupin directed by Jennifer M. Kroot, that he did the cinematography for had its world premier and won a coveted Documentary Spotlight Audience award. The Untold Tales will likely show at the Castro Theater as part of the Frameline Film Festival

 Now, Shane is looking forward to a relaxing weekend of moving his pregnant fiancée into his house and then shooting an all day dance performance with local choreographer Erika Chong Shuch in the Marin Headlands. 

Quesada Garden hosts groups of volunteers

 H4H - 23Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity with some bags they filled. Image: Craig Cannon

By Elizabeth Skow

Quesada Gardens hosted two groups of volunteers in March, a group of around 35 enthusiastic people from Habitat from Humanity and a smaller group of youth, 8 teens from Student Conservation Association .  Thanks to coordination efforts by Shane King and to Craig Cannon and Carlos John Davila for leading volunteers, these groups helped us to prepare the garden for spring planting.

 The Habitat for Humanity group did a stupendous amount of work, cleaning up palm fronds and weeding much of the garden in one day. I got a chance to work with a group of volunteers weeding and planting garlic.

H4H - 6 Palm fronds are sharp, but they’re no match for these volunteers. Image: Craig Cannon

When they heard the story of Quesada Gardens and how the people here came out and started gardening, building community as they worked, the volunteers were visibly excited about the story and about contributing to the continued success of the gardening and community-building movement

We worked and talked about music, gardening, college and politics. Everyone was friendly and easygoing. Some people had gardening experience, some didn’t but everyone caught on quickly. The group even brought delicious bagels and coffee for all the volunteers!

I was impressed, as I always am when I work with volunteer groups, with the level of cooperation we achieved as relative strangers working together toward a common goal.

Later in the month I worked with Student Conservation Association, weeding the founders garden and sweeping the tile steps. We carefully pulled small weeds out by the roots for about two hours. This group was smaller and a bit shy, but eventually we talked about gardening and what they were studying in school.

Resized_20170325_114147     Joel McClure of works with volunteers from Student Conservation Association

Again, I was impressed with how much we got done. I thought about these high schoolers that gave up a Saturday morning to come into someone else’s community and give their time and labor to us.