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Tenants rights takes center stage in social justice fashion show

Tenants rights takes center stage in social justice fashion show

The runway was set as housing advocates of the Bay Area strutted down in a housing justice fashion show that took place at the Kapwa Garden in SoMa on Sept. 5. 

The show celebrated the diversity of San Francisco and benefitted the San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition (ADC), a coalition of local nonprofit groups dedicated to housing justice and an integral part in the fight against tenant displacement in San Francisco. Participating groups included the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, the Asian Law Caucus, the Eviction Defense Collaborative, Causa Justa/Just Cause, the SF SouthEast Tenants Union, the Coalition on Homelessness, and many more.

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“It took about three months to plan this event with the help of a lot of people in the community,” HRCSF SouthEast organizer Maria Jandres said. “We opened the event to the community and to be as inclusive as possible there were no requirements at all.”

The event was organized by Marynoel Strope, Jandres, and local designers, including the Daily Malong, sewists, artists, activists, and fashion students. Two of the judges of the show featured were Jackie Fielder, a Native American, Latina, and queer educator and organizer, Judge Cary Gold, a judge of the Superior Court of San Francisco County. Each contestant had a political message attached to their costume ranging from equity for all to housing is a human right. 

Members of the SouthEast Tenant Association took part in the housing justice fashion show, representing latinx culture and fighting for tenants rights. Photo: Kevin Colindres

“We had representation from many different and diverse communities in the Bay Area,” Jandres said. “We all wanted to come together to show that we all stand together no matter what community we are a part of. Many members of the SouthEast Tenants Association came out to show support and show pride of where they came from.”

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Eva Mas, a seven-month pregnant queer tenant, and her queer alternative family living in the Mission District, are three members of the community that face potential eviction without warning.

“It started off with the landlord bullying us and harassing us and we didn’t understand why that was going on,” Mas said. “She would insert herself into our home without even letting us know and would tell us that she is going to sell the property.”

Mas received an email from a realtor stating that the property was being sold and they quickly began to do research on their rights as a tenant. 

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“It’s really scary because in early November my baby is going to be born out of a c-section and I’ll be bedridden taking care of a newborn for the first time,” Mas said. “The landlord is saying that they are going to want to have a lot of people come to look at the property to sell it while all this is going on.”

Mas and their family have reached out to organizations to give them advice on what the next steps are. 

“I‘ve been involved with the community for a long time and now it’s one of those situations where I’m finding that after many years being a supportive role in the community I’ll have to be the one asking for support,” Mas said. “It’s a tough situation to be in but to see all these people here today gives me more hope that everything will work out.”

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