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This week in civics: Eat summer treats, explore Sunday Streets and make sense of SCOTUS

Illustration by Camille Cohen

The Glen Park Gum Tree Girls Festival

Glen Canyon Park, Elk and Chenery Streets
Sunday, July 10, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Free

As Margaret Thatcher once said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” Whether you agree with Thatcher’s politics or not, history has demonstrated the wisdom of her words. Women, we get the job done! 

Recently, women’s activism in San Francisco has been focused on protesting the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. But back in the 1960s, San Francisco had the Glen Park Gum Tree Girls, a group of fearless women who banded together to fight a freeway cutting through their neighborhood.  

Geri Arkush, Zoanne Nordstrom, Joan Seiwald (aka the Gum Tree Girls) were a group of Glen Park activists. | Courtesy of the Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project

This Sunday, the Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project invites San Franciscans and all Bay Area residents to the inaugural festival named in honor of the Gum Tree Girls to revel in Glen Park’s history and memorialize the accomplishments of the courageous women along with other Glen Park activists. 

When threatened with the construction of a freeway running through Glen Park in 1965, Geri Arkush, Zoanne Nordstrom, Joan Seiwald, along with their predecessor and fellow Glen Park activist Mrs. Hermini “Minnie” Straub Baxter, led the Freeway Revolt, ultimately saving Glen Canyon Park and the rest of the neighborhood.

Before virtual petitions and mass emailing tools, the Gum Tree Girls were left to the bare essentials of grassroots organization, galvanizing the neighborhood through old fashioned phone banking and letter writing and ultimately standing up to engineers of the City and County of San Francisco and the California Highway Department, (today the California Department of Transportation or Caltrans). Their relentless efforts earned them their name of the “Gum Tree Girls” because, like gum, engineers couldn’t get the ladies out of their hair, noted Evelyn Rose, Founder and Director of The Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project. The origin of the group’s nickname can also be traced back to the blue gum eucalyptus trees in the park that were at risk of being chopped down in order to make room for the freeway. Rose hopes that Sunday’s festival passes on the perseverance of the Gum Tree Girls.

“The festival and some of the other histories we’ve discovered in our district help portray how important it is to ‘have moxie,’” said Rose. “That’s the motto of the festival. We need to get our moxie and to use the lessons of these women, the Gum Tree Girls, Mrs. Baxter, and even going back to the suffragists, and continue to work to ensure that we have an inclusive society where everyone can be their authentic selves and can feel safe in the public and feel safe at home.”

The Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project formed in 2014 to carry on the legacy of Glen Park and teach its rich history to the public. At Sunday’s festival, you can not only learn about the neighborhood’s past, you can also enjoy entertainment and nature walks. Volunteers and donations are also welcome.  

—Rosalie Tapavalu

Tongo Eisen-Martin’s Spoken Word Album

San Francisco Main Library, African American Center Exhibit Space, Third floor
July 6, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
| Free

San Francisco’s Poet Laureate, Tongo Eisen-Martin, posing for a portrait in the living room of his family home in Bernal Heights on Thursday, June 16, 2022. He celebrates the release of his new spoken word album at the San Francisco Public Library's main branch. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin celebrates the release of his new spoken word album, I Go To The Railroad Track And Follow Them To The Station Of My Enemies, with a poetry reading and discussion with friends at the San Francisco Public Library’s African American Center Exhibit Space. Originally from San Francisco, Eisen-Martin speaks to the extrajudicial killing of Black people and the American Black experience through his books and writings such as We Charge Genocide Again, Heaven Is All Goodbyes, Someone’s Dead Already, and his latest book of poetry Blood on the Fog.

“He’s noticing shit that I better notice if I want to experience life in color,” said film director Boots Riley about Eisen-Martin’s new spoken word album. “He knows that to live, you gotta make shit around you move. You can’t just watch.” (LM)

WTF SCOTUS?! Manny’s Supreme Court Year in Review

3092 16th St. or Virtual
Thursday, July 7, 7:30 p.m.
| $5 – $12

With the swearing-in of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court and the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it’s been an eventful year at the highest court in the land. At Manny’s, Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP attorneys Max Alderman, Christina Lee, and Anjali Srinivasan guide you through what the overturning of 50 years of Roe precedent will bring, and what the state of California is doing about it. The three lawyers bring experience in litigating high-stakes civil cases, with Srinivasan representing 154 economists in an amicus brief in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court case which effectively overturned Roe. (GL) 

Understanding Gender for Family and Friends

Thursday, July 7, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. | Free to $15

Gender Spectrum hosts an educational webinar about the complexities and nuances of gender. Hosted by Gender Spectrum staff members Jenna Redmond and Naomi Cruz, the program is intended for parents and anyone else with a gender non-conforming loved one but welcomes all. The seminar will cover what gender is, the meanings of terms such as transgender and non-binary, how to support those in your life navigating gender, and more about pronouns and gender dysphoria. (GL)

Erie Bazaar: Public Works’ Monthly Art Market

161 Erie St.
Sunday, July 10, 1:00 – 6:00 p.m. | Free

Join Public Works for their monthly, pop-up art market featuring Bay Area artists, vendors and DJs. The event aims to gather San Franciscans to support their local artists and community members. Erie Bazaar will feature 20 vendors on the outdoor patio and inside the main room amid drinks and dancing with Public Works’ resident DJs. The event will also host raffle prizes and other surprises throughout the creativity-filled afternoon. (LM)

Sunday Streets Valencia

Valencia Street between Duboce Avenue and 26th Street
Sunday, July 10, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Free

Sunday Streets returns to Valencia with nearly a mile of car-free roadway. | Young Chau/Courtesy Sunday Streets

Enjoy nearly a mile of Valencia Street car-free with plenty of bike- and family-friendly activities along the boulevard. Bay Wheels offers free bike rentals and the SF Bicycle Coalition offers free bike lessons for kids. There will be a rock-climbing wall between 23rd and 26th streets and chalk drawing for kids between 14th and 16th streets. Local shops will also be open, with live performances happening throughout Valencia Street. Note: east-west car traffic is permitted along 16th, 18th, and 24th streets, and eastbound car traffic is allowed along 14th Street. But hopefully, you can drop four wheels for two that day! (GL)

Foodwise Summer Bash

Ferry Building
Sunday, July 10, 5:30 p.m.
| $165

Savor eats from local small businesses at the Ferry Building's Foodwise Summer Bash. | Amanda Lynn Photography/Courtesy Foodwise Summer Bash

Few things scream summer like a freshly made dish featuring tomatoes, peaches or corn as the star ingredients. At Foodwise’s first in-person Summer Bash since the pandemic, attendees are greeted with the ultimate spread of all-you-can-eat food and drink from 45 of the top Bay Area restaurants and wineries. What’s more, ingredients are sourced from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and the Mission Community Market, so you can eat fresh while supporting small businesses. The event also gives you a chance to walk the Embarcadero promenade and retreat inside to the Ferry Building if it gets chilly, all while enjoying live music and activities. (CE)

A Conversation with Tim Miller: Inside the New Republican Party

The Commonwealth Club, 110 The Embarcadero or Virtual
Monday, July 11, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. | $10 – $50

Curious about how major shifts in the Republican party over the years have impacted the future of the GOP?  Author, activist and political consultant Tim Miller discusses his time inside the Republican party leading campaigns for presidential candidates and his book, Why We Did It, with former White House Communications Director and Pod Save America co-host, Dan Pfeiffer. Miller’s book dives into the decision-making of the GOP that led to the Trump era and how it all culminated in the events of the January 6th insurrection. You can watch the conversation online or in-person. (YM)

Rosalie Tapavalu, Charlotte Ehrlich, Garrett Leahy, Yeily Mendez and Lisa Moreno contributed additional reporting for this story.