By Guest Contributor Mike Miller, cross-posted from Classism Exposed
In 1971, when I was “lead organizer” for what became the All Peoples’ Coalition (APC), I learned a different approach to dealing with some racism I encountered among working-class whites.
APC was a federation of some thirty organizations (churches, block clubs, the neighborhood shopping strip’s merchant association, tenant associations, and other groups in Visitacion Valley, a small neighborhood of about 20,000 people in the Southeast corner of San Francisco.
“Vis Valley” included a number of sub-neighborhoods, including Little Hollywood, Geneva Towers, Geneva Terrace and Sunnydale Housing Project (where I grew up).
Its people ranged from low-to-moderate, and a few middle, income. It was ethnically and racially quite diverse. In San Francisco poverty and race politics, it was largely ignored. While racially “integrated,” there was also substantial racial tension in the neighborhood, particularly between the working class and lower middle-class “white ethnics” (Irish, Italian and Maltese) and the African-Americans.