Youth Protest Passage of Prop. 21

by Diana Block
San Francisco, Ca. – On March 8, in the wake of its disastrous electoral approval of the Proposition 21 (youth gang initiative), around 500 youth (a truly multinational group), and some older ones of us, gathered at Powell and Market. After a rally which included reference to the fact that today is International Women?s Day and that young women have been in the forefront of the battle against 21, we took to the streets marching up Powell, stopping traffic, and chanting vigorously the whole time. The spirit was angry, militant and very organized and disciplined. When we arrived at the SF Hilton, which had donated funds to Prop. 21, most people entered the hotel en masse, occupying the entire lobby area for about an hour. The speakers, chanting and teaching totally disrupted the Hilton’s privileged space. When the police gave their warning that all who remained would be arrested, about 100 protesters stayed. Under 18 folks were taken to Mission Police Station and demonstrators joined them in front of the station to show support. Overall I was really moved by the combination of spirit and youth self-organization of this protest which I hope is generating a counter-statement to the ballot box’s racist manipulations against youth in this state.