Manila Town Part 2
In the Continuation of the first article they came up with a master plan with the redevelopment of San Francisco. The city wanted a Wall St of the west and to make room for it they had a redevelopment plan that would target small communities. This plan for the urban renewal called in for low income-neighborhoods “Blighted districts and slums” and asked for these areas to be razed and “rebuilt along modern lines.” In the western addition and fillmore districts, The city Evicted around 12,000 largely black and asian american residents. In the South of the market area, Roughly 4000 people were evicted. The residents of Manilatown, right at the border of the growing financial districts expected that they were about to be targeted next. In 1968 The owner handed the tenants of the I-Hotel their first Eviction notice. The real estate company wanted to demolish the building to make space for a parking lot. Howevers the tenants resisted. Filipino community leaders and businesses joined the fight along with a growing number of local activists. After months of protests, the owners and tenants agreed to a new three year lease in 1969. Though it was only a temporary fix. By the 1970s, redevelopment efforts moved further and further into Manila Town. It nearly swallowed the entire community and threatened the I-Hotel Once again. All the other hotels where many of the elderly lived were already being demolished. They were already being evicted like dominos in some ways.
In 1973 the owner of I-Hotel sold the building to a Thai-developer. That reignited the eviction battle. For the next four years, inside the courtroom and on the streets protesters fought three more eviction notices. Asian American groups, Religious groups, labor rights groups, and dozens of others communities all came together in a show of solidarity for low income housing. However for Filipino residents it was a fight to claim what little space they had, In a city where that was trying to erase them. In the summer of 1977, The Tenants of the I-Hotel were served another eviction notice. On August 3rd, a news reporter leaked information to tenants and supporters that police might be coming that night.
The police and the sheriff's department were gathering. It was still a threat, but yet they thought maybe this is the final battle, because if they are gathering somewhere and it's in the middle of the night. It's probably going to be a surprise strategy. A Lot of people felt fear when they heard the news, but their integrity is what holds them to fight this last battle in the community. This is their ground and they are willing to protect it.
On the night of August 4th, Tenant leaders set off a “red alert”and over two thousand protestesters gathered on Kearny Street. Many formed a human barricade, locking arms outside of the I-Hotel. While others were stationed inside with the remaining I-Hotel tenants. When the police arrived-on foot and on horses- they launched into the crowds with batons. One witness describes the event as scary as mattresses are on the windows and on the doors as to provide a fort. People were chanting “we won't move, we won't move”. Eventually using a fire truck ladder, The police entered the building through the roof. Once inside, The police were confronted by more protesters. People
were getting dragged down the stairs, being beaten up like a rag doll. It's the last stop of the low income housing struggle at the I-Hotel.