Mural at Haight and Steiner Streets, Lower Haight, San Francisco
Muralists: Amanda Lynn & Ursula Xanthe Young; photo by Anna Hennessey, copyright 2022.

Working with the community in San Francisco has been integral to my life over the past 15 years. I live in the Lower Haight and am a part of our vibrant neighborhood. I am also co-founder of the San Francisco Birth Circle, a community group in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood that provides resources for low-income families, and especially those who live in Potrero Hill Terrace and Annex complex, San Francisco’s oldest and largest public housing development. The Birth Circle works with artists in San Francisco and from around the Bay Area, showing participants the power of art as they prepare for birth and parenting. We are connected to community leaders at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House (NABE) and to San Francisco’s Homeless Prenatal Program.

Articles on Local Issues

Since 2016, I have volunteered and worked with community leaders and residents of Potrero Hill Terrace and Annex. In addition to the work I do with the San Francisco Birth Circle in Potrero Hill, I have written several newspaper articles and essays about issues affecting low-income families in Potrero Hill Terrace-Annex and other marginalized people in the Bay Area. That work has brought me close to editors and others in the SF Bay View Newspaper community, and has also connected me to Bay Area activists and others across the country, including some members of our prison population who are concerned with the treatment of low-income children at schools and in our society. I also write pieces about local art in the Bay Area and am especially interested in covering the work of those who have devoted considerable time to their work but have not had the financial resources to network and spread the word about their art.

Synesthesia and the city in Ron Poznicek’s paintings of San Francisco

Ron Poznicek’s paintings of San Francisco show the city’s mood on an overcast day, the glistening of a streetlight on rainy pavement, the feel of a car parked sideways on a hill and the loom of a building’s shadowy bulk in a downtown landscape. Viewers do not just see the soft glow of sunlight on Poznicek’s painted streetcars, they feel the warmth of the glow on their faces. The sensation of walking through San Francisco’s fog and mist is palpable when looking at some of Poznicek’s atmospheric paintings of the city on a foggy day. And it is through vision, not listening, that Poznicek’s viewers hear the grate of a San Francisco streetcar on its tracks. The artist’s paintings are synesthetic, tapping into a blend or crossover of the perceptions we experience when in the city.

 The Mission Local
(newspaper article)

Remembering John W. Smith, Jr., longtime ‘Mayor of Potrero Hill’ (1947-2022)

This newspaper article looks at the life of longtime Potrero Hill resident, John W. Smith, Jr. (1947-2022), known fondly by many as the ‘Mayor of Potrero Hill.’ John moved to Potrero Hill’s Terrace and Annex public housing development from San Francisco’s Channel Project in the the 1950s. As the resident who had likely lived the longest in Terrace-Annex before passing away in 2022, John was a walking history book, remembering the many cultural and social changes, as well as those of San Francisco’s natural environment, that took place on Potrero Hill during the almost 7o years that he lived there.

San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
(newspaper article)

Starr King Elementary, segregation and wealth: the politics of liberal San Francisco’s “separate but equal

This article examines troubling events at Starr King Elementary School, San Francisco’s most racially and socioeconomically diverse public school. In today’s climate of marginalizing low-income people across the United States, and in particular low-income people of color, the events at Starr King point to how segregation does not have to happen through the actions of the far-right. Instead, segregation happens when people in power, many of whom identify as liberal, diminish the opportunities of those most in need through the redirection of resources. 

San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
(newspaper article)

Republished in Counterpunch

Brenda Kittrell (1955-2020): Advocate for public housing community, #BlackLivesMatter and scrutinizing property ownership in San Francisco

This newspaper article looks at the life and work of Brenda Kittrell (1955-2020), well-known in Potrero Hill for her advocacy on local, state and national levels, as well as for her commitment to safety and community in her San Francisco neighborhood, particularly within the African American community. Through Brenda’s life, we see that rules regulating property ownership and the allocation of housing for low-income African Americans, as well as city plans to “revitalize” housing for low-income minorities, should be scrutinized.

San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper (newspaper article)

Bay Area Juneteenth Event Includes Protest Against Right Wing Billionaire Fisher Family: Taking Public Space from Minorities in SF and Oakland

This article discusses a 2020 Juneteenth event in Oakland devoted to stopping police terror and ending systemic racism, as well as to stopping privatization of Bay Area public spaces, including the Port of Oakland. The article especially examines activities of San Francisco’s billionaire Fisher family.

(short article)

Anna Hennessey, PhD