You Represent Those Sorry-Ass People…Hate Crime in San Francisco

root - Posted on 01 January 2000

Homeless advocate assaulted with racist and classist slurs writes an open letter to the SF Board of Supervisors

by Willie Warren/PO’ Poet and Organizer

To: Board Of Supervisors,

From Willie Warren

The story you are about to read is a true "event" that happened to me on Labor Day weekend. It is a result of the strange and hostile behavior that I have seen out in the public since the introduction of the Care Not Cash Plan and other city policies that target the homeless. This is the story.

On 09-02-02 at 8:10pm I was coming from the bus stop at Van Ness Street and Turk Street. As I got to Polk Street and Turk Street I decided to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken to get something to eat.

After I crossed Polk Street, I turned left to head up Polk to get K.F.C. on the corner of Polk Street and Eddy Street. There were some people out in front of the bar called the Wooden Horse. As I passed one girl who looked
familiar I said, "How ya doin?" She smiled and said, "I’m good, How are you?" As I kept walking past her I noticed 2 white guys in front of the bar showing lots of anger by cursing a lot.

I paid no special attention to it until one of them looked at me and shouted, "Hey nigger Mother Fucker." At first , I was shocked that he actually said that to me, but I kept walking trying to ignor it. He said it again, but louder, "Hey nigger, I’m taking to you punk.

" I stopped momentarily and asked him, "Why are you saying this when I don’t even know you?" His reply was, "Fuck you." He approached me and was blocking my way. His friend was behind me.

I went around and kept walking away. He and his friend started following me until I stopped to let them pass me. When they passed me, I backed up in the direction of the bar. One was my height and the other one was taller.

When I stopped backing up, they both turned around and came back towards me. This is when I sensed trouble. The biggest one again was blocking my way, while his friend was behind me. I said, "What problem do you have with me? I’m a Homeless Advocate who works around the corner.

" When I said that, he really got angry. He said, "You represent those sorry ass people. You should be agreeing with Newsom e and his plan, you fuck." I told him, "I don’t think so. Do you work for Newsome or something?" At this point, he started shuffling around like he was in a boxing ring. Realizing that he was ready to charge, I started taking off my backpack. That’s when his friend who was behind me grabbed my backpack from behind.

As I pushed him away, I turned around just in time to see the bigger one coming at me with some type of club-like object in his hand.

But, I saw it too late and was hit hard. Blood immediately gushed from my head as I went down. As I tried to get up, I was hit again above the eye. As I was going down again, I tried to get away from him to put up some kind of defense.

But I had lost too much blood and couldn’t see so I landed on the ground hard. As I turned back to see where he was, I saw him coming and about to kick me some more. But I also blacked out as he approached me. I don’t know what happened next because I was out cold.
When I came to, there was a paramedic kneeling next to me telling me, "You’re going to be alright bro. "You’ve been assaulted and some injured.

"The Police are here investigating this incident and you’re going to S.F. General Hospital for treatment." I said, "O.K." When the paramedics put me inside the ambulance the blond haired guy asked me, "What happened?"

At first I said, "I don’t know" because I couldn’t remember. But after a few minutes I remembered that I was hit by a object of about 12 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. I said, "wait, that guy hit me with something.

" He asked me, "Could you tell me what it was?" I said, "I can describe it to you but I don’t know what it was."

He said, "O.K. Don’t worry about it. Just rest until we get to the hospital." Again I blacked out. When I came to, I was being wheeled in the Trauma Center of S.F.G.H., I was asked to slide over to the waiting bed and relax until the doctor arrives.

The doctor checked me out thoroughly to see if there was any serious damage. Luckily there was none. The doctor asked me, "Do you know where you are?" I said, "Yes. I’m in S.F.G.H. in San Francisco.

" The n she said, "You don’t know where you are?" I said, "Yes. I’m in S.F.G.H. in San Francisco." She then said, "You don’t have a concussion, but you might have some light headaches for a few days."

One of the nurses said, "However, since the introduction of Care Not Cash and other policies, there has been an increase in street violence. It was at this point that I decided to write a sort of article abut if for others to increase there awareness of what kind of behavior can happen.

At 3:00am my friends came and took me to their house to recover. After several hours of rest I was able to sit up to think a lot clearer on this matter.

Since the first words that were shouted to me contained the "N" word, I believe that these two guys had a real problem with my "suntan." This could be the reason why they singled me out and started towards me.

Then, upon noticing my backpack, could have made them believe that I was homeless. Then, they realized that I was a Homeless Advocate, that took them over-the-edge. As a result of this, I am not a surviving target of a hate crime.

Had I been a homeless person who didn’t have friends that I do, I can imagine that I would’ve been very scared. What shelter will have available bed spaces that last longer than a one night’s stay.

Policies like Care Not Cash and being illegal to sleep in your car cause homeless people to panic. They cling only to survival when someone in City hall is plotting to take away their source of income or their "home" and possessions.

It also causes residents to blame homeless people for the rising tension between themselves and homeless people.

I’ve heard that Gavin Newsome actually had to hire his own personal security to guard him where ever he goes. Is Gavin Newsome afraid that what happened to me might happen to him?

This incident was caused by ignorant people who believed in a wrongful and uncaring way of thinking if this letter that you are reading right now were to be read by every citizen in town, whether homeless or not, what would they think of present city policies and the Care Not Care plan?

Do you really think that the people of San Francisco would elect a Mayor whose policies are causing a anti-social and violent breeding ground? That would be like electing Gavin Newsome for Mayor to prostitute negative policies amongst the people, with Willie Brown as his pimp collecting all the credit and glory.

Time for Gavin and other city officials to wake up before they ruin San Francisco. I’ve read about these supposed endorsements that Gavin had and lost the same week. Political figures and policies like these are on a self –destruct course and are planning to take all of the City down with them.

Safety in citizenship isn’t a privilege, it’s a right!

Surviving Yours

Willie Warren

Cc: The Street Sheet

Cc: Board Of Supervisors

Cc: The Chonicle’s Editor

Cc: The Examiner’s Editor


A Poem in response by Willie Warren

Here’s a whiten your hair story,

Or at least, turn it gray;

My private space was violated

With a shocking memory display.

At 8:00pm Labor Day night,

Coalition On Homelessness bound;

After a McMillan’s Drop-In shower,

My hunger craving I found.

At Polk and Turk streets,

Seeking Kentucky Fried Chicken.

North on Polk with no idea,

That my safety clock was tickin’

Never fearing to walk along,

With all of life to gain;

Into a life chapter of,

Numbness, then pain.

Passing people on the sidewalk,

Weaving by smoking, of course;

Two guys outside the bar,

Named the Wooden Horse.

Never seeing them before

While walking, insults began;

These two fools didn’t like,

The shade of my suntan.

"Hey nigger" they r repeated,

Time stopped in suspension.

As I walked they followed me,

With speed they started to gain;

Increasing my chances to feel,

Numbness, then pain.

The bigger one blocked my path,

His comments were unkind;

This is where I asked them,

"Guys, what’s on your mind.

I don’t know who are,

I’m a Homeless Advocate,"

And then seen you before;

I’m a Homeless Advocate,"

His response was arrogant,

"Your advocacy has flaws;

Gavin Newsome has the plan,

Homeless need to obey laws"

I said, "Dig this slick,

Advocates don’t struggle in vain;

We oppose policies that cause,

Numbness, then pain."

I forgot about his friend;

Somehow he got behind me,

I forgot about his friend;

Somehow he got behind me,

To help initiate my end.

As I finished my statement,

I was grab bed from behind;

Seconds after I freed myself,

Contact became unkind.

One hell of a wallop,

Right above my left eye;

Blood flowed fast and furious,

Like boiling hot red dye.

The world is falling away,

And balance I tried to obtain;

Another hard wallop causes,

Numbness, then pain

Falling a downhill slant,

I skidded, maybe seven feet;

Again, I tried getting up,

With no help from my feet;

Alas, going unconscious,

With darkness all about;

Except this tiny white light,

Hoping it wouldn’t go out.

Somewhere in the darkness,

Of my own inner space;

A silhouette figure with halo,

Long hair and bearded face.

Guided the light to return,

To help life signs, sustain;

A paramedic treating my,

Numbness, then pain

He said, "You’ll be alright,"

Passing out, one more time;

Awaking in the hospital,

My head ringing it’s chime.

A pretty woman doctor,

Holding my pain subside,

Replacing with care instead.

At 3:00am I’m leaving,

To recover at a friend’s;

Realizing I could be dead,

Other victims met their ends.

Policies like Care Not Cash

Cause violence and racial strain;

Voting no on Prop "N" prevents,

Numbness, then pain.

Willie Warren

Coalition On Homelessness


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