Friday, February 03, 2012

Pix of Castro Plaza Tent Protest

One week ago this evening, the San Francisco police arrested and cited Bob Offer-Westort, the human rights organizer for the Coalition on Homelessness (COH), after he had pitched a tent in Jane Warner Plaza at Castro and Market Streets. His creative and fabulous one-man stunt succeeded in bringing attention to state law prohibiting camping at the plaza, a prohibition that would be duplicated if Supervisor Scott Wiener's original legislation for plazas in the Castro.

Three days after his action, Offer-Westort garnered attention from the Bay City News via the SF Examiner, SF Appeal, the SF Bay Guardian and the SF Chronicle, and none of the outlets included a photo from the action. While all the attention was wonderful, I thought it was odd, that a progressive organizer would stage a protest sure to be of high interest to the media and at-large community, and not invite the press or make sure to have a friend take photos of the tent set up in the plaza.

I contacted Offer-Westort to praise his protest and ask why there were no images from Friday. To my surprise and delight, yesterday he shared two excellent photos, that in my opinion would have increased the attention from bloggers and the mainstream media, if he and the COH has been smart to post the images on their site. In their write up, the COH included a boring photo of Offer-Westort's police citation and omitted the images seen here.

My suggestions to him included engaging some of the dozens of folks concerned about the homeless, the Castro's plazas and the Wiener legislation, the next time he organizes another protest. He might not only have a crowd of colleagues making the action happen, but he should also alert the media to his plans, and even if no reporters or bloggers show up, be ready to snap his own photos or take video footage to later share on the web.

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