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imperialism & war

Hiroshima Flamewalk Arrives in SF

The Pilgrimage arrived in San Francisco today to the delight of many birds.
We started out this morning in Sausalito - a very shi-shi town - that was silhouetted with the San Francisco skyline. Dennis Banks, an AIM-cofounder, walked with us.

There were some scowls and faces of wonderment as we walked through the bourgeouis streets down to the the Golden Gate Bridge where we were stopped by Bridge Security. Security told us that we would not be allowed to cross the bridge with our flags unfurled and with our drums. We were told that we would also have to cross the bridge in pairs 20 ft. apart from each other as they were afraid we would cause an accident. Jun-san said it would be OK. I found out later on today that there was a man carrying an American flag daily on the bridge.

Even though we were not allowed to drum or pray or walk in unity, our spirits were not hampered in any way. It was a majestic walk across the bridge over waters where nuclear submarines have been spotted. I also ran in to my friend River.

We walked through the Marina where Banks gave us a great speech and where he and Fred drummed and sang to the group. After a short rest, we continued on to the heart of the financial district.

Our reception in the financial district was somewhat dismal. Many higher ups were early-lunching in fancy restaurants and gave us the usual "what are they doing?" scowl most of you are familiar with. Despite that, we picked up several new walkers. We ended the financial district walk with a drum/chant in front of the Japanese embassy. I was really impressed with the impact of the group. Jun-san was greeted by security who remembered her fast/prayers in front of the building earlier this year. I interviewed a couple of people from the building. While they were all happy with the walkers not all were in solidarity with our message of peace.

From there we walked down to City Hall were we ran into a loud and raucous homeless protest. If we are not vigilant, Portland will soon follow in the steps of San Francisco in creating a horrendous homeless problem. It was pretty disconcerting to see such this problem and, in fact, many of the walkers commented on the obvious homeless problem in San Francisco. Jeff remarked that America can continue to inflate their "defense" budget but not increase money for social problems and it just reminded him how much more we need peace.

Activists from the SF Homeless Coalition had stormed into a City Council meeting in protest of proposed legislation to cut welfare benefits to a quarter of what they currently are. The remaining portion would be pooled and used for shelters. Some activists I talked with also mentioned that more anti-homeless legislation (along the lines of sit-lie ordinances) were also being proposed.

It was really great to be able to cross boundaries between different movements like that and I thank PDX IMC for providing me with a press pass before my journey.

I'll have to write more on the homeless groups in SF at a future time as its late and I'm starting to run out of energy. Today is the fourth day of a fast that will end tomorrow.

After City Hall, we walked south through the Mission District. The walkers overwhelmingly felt this part of town to be their favorite. The smell of the great food down there sent my fasting stomach into slow down. While I know the gentrification phenomena is on-going in the Mission, I was happy walking those streets.

Our walk today ended at a synagogue in Berkeley where we were greeted by several women from Women in Black. They educated the walkers on what they do and on the latest Israel-Palestine events.