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Kaitlin Strange

Berkeley

10+ years in the Bay Area

July 29, 2019

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Colorful, free-spirited, artistic

I have a very strong feeling of San Francisco as artistic and

free-spirited, like the hippies of the 60s and 70s, flower power, colorful Victorian houses, the Golden Gate Bridge, and beautiful parks. So there’s a lot of the physical surroundings that influence the culture of San Francisco. And then it attracts all these free-spirited, innovative, creative people. In the 80s or 70s, if you came here and you weren’t an artist, people would say, “Why are you in San Francisco? You're not an artist. Why did you come here?” It’s very different now. Now people ask you, “What do you do?” You say, “I’m a designer. I work in nonprofit.” They will say, “What? You’re

not in tech. Why are you here?” We’re also seeing a little bit of a time where the city is changing. 

Transients

I think San Francisco has always been a place that people

come and go. There’s a good amount of them. Also there are like local San Franciscans who were born and raised here, but whenever you meet them, ask them all the questions because they’re not a common person. Otherwise, it’s people who just

fell in love with the city or wanted to come here for the dream. They come, they go to school, they work, they learn, they explore and have fun, and then often they leave. 

Progressive and struggling

It’s a city that’s not always grounded but the community is here. People who have lived here for 20+ years are very strongly opinionated. They are activists and community organizers. But now you see a lot of struggles, like a lot of income inequality. This is a very diverse city in some ways, but I think more and more diversity is segregated.  If you’re black or Latino, Chinese or Japanese, you

live in a certain neighborhood. There are certain pockets. It’s not common space which is sad because you lose something when people aren’t integrated.

Chicano / Mexican

I think it’s easy to forget that this land was Native American, and then Mexican before it was American.

Us vs. Them

There’s so much poverty when you walk down Market Street. There’s also locals and people from outside. It’s very separated.

It’s like us vs. them. It’s a dichotomy. I think there should be something that can help people learn or educate each other,

and get people interacting with each other. 

I’m pretty confident that

I can break down barriers

For a shop owner it is easy to hate “the techies,” the new people who are coming in and you never see them except for their buses.

The conversation is that they’re ruining San Francisco. But it’s harder to hate people when that “techie” comes in every morning and gets coffee from me. His name is Mike and he’s really nice. When you put faces to people and to stereotypes and narratives. I'm pretty confident that I can break down barriers. That’s my promise that I’m working on.

It’s really important to get everyone

together to have a conversation

Whatever the issue or the problem, bring tech companies, like Google and Salesforce, local advocacy group, all together and have a conversation and help facilitate that. And hopefully bring people to a common understanding because I think we can better understand that everyone’s values are generally the same. So I think it’s really important to create spaces for people to have those interactions. It’s easy to bring people together that you’ve already known about, but you have to do a lot more work to find who’s not at the table. You can build trust and make your way

to the right people.

The Mission is where you

could never have to leave

The Mission is a place that’s really held on to the artists, community, colors and street arts. It’s still evolving and it has

a lot more money coming in and has new residents. And

we are struggling, but you go there and you can see diversity, which is different. I feel the Mission has this particular feeling

that you could never leave, you could just stay there for three weeks and never have to leave. You live or work in the area

and it has everything for you.  It has cultural events, food, drinks, parks, and sunshine. It’s good. It has most things that I need.

The politics, the physical environment, the artistic and cultural, the historic and heritage, all of those things are making San Francisco.