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Bayview celebrates first annual Black History Month parade

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Community members hold up their fists while chanting “I’m Black and I’m proud” during a parade to honor Black History Month along Third Street in the Bayview-Hunters Point district on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/Special to S.F. Examiner)

The first annual parade honoring Black History Month marched through San Francisco’s Bayview District Monday morning.

The parade, hosted by the Bayview YMCA and the nonprofit 100% College Prep Institute, began with a “warrior queen” crowning ceremony in the park and ended with bounce houses, barbecues and a speech from mayoral candidate and Board of Supervisors President London Breed at the Bayview Opera House.

Bayview locals filtered into the park at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Pool around 10 a.m. as Asale-Haquekyah Chandler, one of the parade’s organizers, was crowned the “warrior queen during times of political arise.”

Chandler, who is running for the District 10 supervisorial seat in November, told The Examiner that the parade was inspired by Breed’s ousting as interim Mayor in January in a Board of Supervisors vote that saw Mark Farrell installed as interim mayor.

After the ceremony, she renamed the neighborhood.

“Bayview Hunters Point is now called Africa Town,” she declared .

Chandler climbed onto a float with Bayview children and was followed by a group of locals, lowriders, a chain of corvettes and a San Francisco Fire Department truck up Third Street around 11 a.m.

Around 200 light poles lining the parade route bore the colors of the African flag, in honor of all of the black people who had been murdered and whose deaths have been unrecognized in The City, Chandler said.

This included her 19-year-old son Yalani Chinyamurindi, who was one of four people killed in a January 2015 Hayes Valley shooting. One man, 29-year-old Lee Farley, has been arrested in connection with that shooting.

“This is how we start seeing ourselves in a different narrative,” Jeremy Vasquez, 30, said while marching to the parade anthem, “Say it Loud,” by James Brown.

Some locals watching the parade’s start had mixed emotions about how it represented the entire community and would spark change.

“What is it about? Black people get together just to walk down the street? What is it going to do?” Virgil Ard, Hunter’s Point native, said. “It’s not doing anything for us.”

Many people were unaware of the parade until just hours before.

“I really didn’t know anything about it, the only thing I found out about the parade is what I found out this morning” Ernestine Beasley, 53-year Bayview native, said. “Black history means a lot to me and I know that we don’t have a parade, seems like every other organization has a parade and we don’t.

The parade ended at the Bayview Opera house, which had hosted Breed’s campaign event “Bayview Day of Action,” just two days prior. The Fillmore-raised mayoral candidate showed up to encourage the people of Bayview, where some of her family lives, to register and vote.

“I think this is great, it’s about our community coming together and just supporting each other,” Breed told The Examiner.

“This community is going to be the community that puts me in the mayor’s office,” she said to the crowd at the Bayview Opera House.

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Mayoral candidate London Breed shakes hands with a man after speaking at an event honoring Black History Month at the Bayview Opera House in the Bayview-Hunters Point district on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/Special to S.F. Examiner)

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