University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
$3,000 Scholarship and Hearst Medallion
STORY: Decades ago, San Francisco was known as a national beacon of African-American culture, so much so that it was referred to as "The Harlem of the West". Today, this is no longer the city's reality. According to The New York Times, one in every seven residents was African-American in 1970; today, it's closer to one in twenty, with the majority living in low-income or public housing.
The reason African-American families are departing the city is largely economic. Many families are being priced out of their homes due to an increase in real estate driven by high-paying jobs in technology, and are relocating to Oakland or other cities along the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. To combat this growing issue, the city has taken measures to renovate and improve public housing, paying particularly close attention to the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, the only African-American majority neighborhood left in the city. The neighborhood is also notorious for high rates of crime, drugs and murder.
This photographic essay aims to document the day-to-day lives of African-American families living in low-income housing in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood and to combat the neighborhood's reputation. With the pressures of gentrification on one side and the pressures of neighborhood violence on the other, the African-American community remaining in the Bayview experiences much adversity, but one thing helps keep them united more than anything else: family.
CAPTION: Brothers Amir and Zavion Tucker, 9 and 10, respectively, play basketball at Youngblood-Coleman Playground on Monday, May 29, 2017, in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. The two have lived in the neighborhood all their lives, but their mother, Glenisha Warren, is planning to relocate the family to another city in the Bay Area because she feels that her children don't have enough space to play and grow, and can't afford a larger property in San Francisco. "There's just not enough space," said Zavion.
Tasha Crosley, 33, sits with her son Keimarcus Parish, 2, while he marvels at a ring pop at their apartment unit on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. Crosley gave her son the treat to cheer him up after he had gotten into a fight with one of his older brothers. The city recently remodeled the low-income apartment complex where Crosley and her family live, but Crosley worries about the safety of the neighborhood for her children. "They need more stuff for kids," she said. "You gotta worry. Your kid can't go up the street, your kid can't go down the street. It's basically like you're in your own jailhouse cell in your own house because it's not really safe. Sometimes people come through shooting with your kids outside."
Jalen Walker, 16, relaxes in his room on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at his family's apartment in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. Walker, who is legally blind, has lived in the neighborhood for seven years but is noticing a change in the neighborhood's demographic. I'm starting to see how a bunch of caucasian people are like taking over the neighborhood, it's just different," said Walker. "It's kind of confusing to me. These people seem afraid, and they make it obvious. I don't understand why they want to live in this circle. Why would you want to live in a community full of [African-Americans] if you think that's what most of them are about."
Alize Hackett, 21, stands on the porch of her YMCA coworker Brianna Reed on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. Hackett, who also lives in the neighborhood, has become increasingly involved in community engagement in Bayview-Hunters Point after experiencing the deaths of several close friends and family members. "I'm trying to be stronger for my family and for myself," she said. "I got involved with working at a young age. I enjoy it because it's like I'm giving back. My life experiences have taught me a lot, and I feel like a leader in my community."
Aundreyah Mackey, 7, deposits a ladybug onto a flower while her brother Jaelin Hall, 9, walks behind her at the City of Dreams community garden on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. The City of Dreams community center was established 14 years ago with the mission of serving Bayview children that live in low-income or public housing. The community center offers summer and after school programs, as well as a community garden complete with chicken coops, bee hives and plenty of plants. "It's really cool," said Hall. "Every time you garden you get to explore stuff and make stuff. I like to look at every single bug just flying around. It's super duper fun."
The San Francisco skyline can be seen on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, from an abandoned public housing project in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. The city has recently undergone efforts to remodel and rebuild several low-income housing units in the Bayview neighborhood, leaving behind a wake of temporarily unused buildings and properties.
Siblings Miunique Mchemry, 7, and Jacquar Mchemry, 4, play together while their friend Kaimani Walker, 8, relaxes on the couch with her dog Maddie on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at Walker's family's low-income apartment unit in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco.
Lottie Titus-Whiteside, 59, sits on the floor and admires a puppy while her daughter Selena Crain, 41, excitedly points toward the puppy held by Titus-Whiteside's husband Donald Whiteside, 64, on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at Titus-Whiteside's low-income apartment unit in the Bayview-Hunter Point neighborhood of San Francisco. Titus-Whiteside's dog Baby recently delivered the litter. After experiencing a stint of homelessness, Titus-Whiteside was able to secure low-income housing in the Bayview, and has been involved in community efforts for the past 22 years, working at both the YMCA and the San Francisco Housing Authority.
Pepper Watts, 39, mixes meatloaf with her hands while her son Jalen Walker, 16, places a baking sheet onto the table while the two prepare dinner on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at their low-income apartment unit in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. Watts, a mother of five, worries about her family's future in the neighborhood because of gentrification. "It's just people coming and restructuring all the people who live here," Watts said. "I got a bachelors, why am I still living in the projects? Why am I still living paycheck to paycheck?"
Viant Parker-Garrett, 11, relaxes on his bed and laughs at a joke made by his brother Kiere Garrett, 15, while the two play a basketball video game on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at their family's low-income apartment unit in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. "I feel like [the city] should offer African-Americans more places to live. The Bayview shouldn't be the only place where African-Americans should go to find housing or the help that they need," said Garrett. Based on their experiences growing up in the neighborhood, the siblings hope to work as homicide detectives or firefighters in the future, provided careers in the NBA don't work out. "When they see us, people think, 'They're from the ghetto, we should not like them,'" said Parker-Garrett. "I feel like I belong here, this whole community is my family," he continued.
Brothers Jaquain Williams, 11, Keimarcus Parish, 2, and Quincy Johnson, 8, play together on the top bunk of Johnson's bed on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at their low-income apartment unit in the Bayview-Hunter Point neighborhood of San Francisco.
A chain link fence surrounds a stairwell leading through a low-income apartment complex that is undergoing renovation on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in the Bayview Hunters-Point neighborhood of San Francisco.
Jun Tevite, 32, holds his hand to his head while having a spiritual moment during a morning Bible study at Project Bayview on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. Frustrated and feeling that he was going down a bad path in life, Tevite left his home in Pittsburgh, Penn., seven months ago to move into Project Bayview, which offers housing for men looking for self-betterment through Christian discipleship. Tevite, a father and a husband, is one of eight men who live in Project Bayview full-time. "I grew up with Christianity, but I kept having faith and kept losing faith," said Tevite. "It's been great at Project Bayview. I've learned how to turn away from my bad habits, alcohol, drugs. I robbed a lot of places at gunpoint. It's taught me to be a better father, it's taught me how to be a man, spiritually, but also as a human being living in this world."