[Edited to Add: If you want to email them in support, please use this email address: TamayoLee2017 at gmail.com ]
First Amendment Rights are being threatened here in Forest Knolls.
We are writing to you to seek your support for ensuring that residents of our neighborhood can express themselves without threats or fear of harm. Since late 2014 or early 2015 we have had a Black Lives Matter poster in our living room window at 11 Christopher Drive. No incidents have occurred because of the sign.
However, in mid-July 2017 we received an anonymous note in the mail addressed to “RESIDENT, 11 CHRISTOPHER DRIVE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94131” with the message “BLUE LIVES MATTER! Get rid of your sign, or WE will!”. We did not take any action at that time.
However, another note was mailed addressed to ‘BLM, 11 CHRISTOPHER DRIVE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94131″ postmarked August 14, 2017 – the Monday after the tragedies in Charlottesville, VA — which stated “It’s time to replace your BLM sign. How about CHINK LIVES MATTER”. (“Chink” is an anti-Chinese slur originating from the turn of the 20th century.) We reported these notes to the FBI and to the SFPD Park Station on August 17. We surmise that the notes were from someone who passes by our house on a regular basis and is aware that we are of Asian descent.
We placed the BLM sign in response to a national concern that African-Americans were not only victims of deadly violence but also suffered ongoing discrimination and disparities in health, education, job opportunities, etc. In June 2015, nine African-American members of an African-American Methodist church in Charleston, South Carolina were murdered in cold blood by an avowed racist. And as the recent events in Charlottesville point out, our concerns of a rising intolerance to people of color and immigrants are not unwarranted. We are sharing this experience with you as our neighbors so that we can ensure that all our lives are safe and that we can all continue to exercise our rights to post the BLM sign or display any other political statement of our choosing. (The sign was taken down in August as a safety precaution for houseguests, but it will be back up very soon.) We also want to make sure that our neighbors and other San Franciscans are not silenced.
We have lived at our house since January 1993, nearly twenty-five years. We have enjoyed our home, tending our colorful flower garden, creating art on our side fence, walking in the newly expanded trails of UC’s forest and meeting others at the reservoirs/ Tank Hill with our dog as well as at Forest Knolls back bench social and summer street parties. We are natives of San Francisco and our children have attended SFUSD from kindergarten to senior year.
Debbie is a Senior Vice President for Futures Without Violence, a national non-profit addressing domestic and sexual violence and child trauma, where she has worked for over thirty-five years. She and her mother have tended our front garden over the last fifteen years. Bill is the District Director for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and earlier served as the EEOC Regional Attorney for twenty years. Civil rights protections are very close to our hearts and we have dedicated our whole professional lives to that cause.
We have contacted Supervisor Norman Yee’s office and plan to meet with him soon. We are open to your ideas and suggestions to send a message that our neighborhood supports First Amendment rights and will not allow residents to be intimidated with racist threats. If you want to post a Black Lives Matter sign or any other sign to express concern and/or outrage, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for your support.
Bill Tamayo Debbie Lee Celi Tamayo-Lee