Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

Film: The Polk Gulch Oral History Project

When a new wave of urban gentrifiers infiltrate a historically disenfranchised LGBT San Francisco community conflicts and tensions abound. Can they find a way to live together harmoniously or will war ensue?

Since the late 1970s, San Francisco’s Polk Gulch neighborhood has been a national destination and home of some of the most underrepresented persons of the LGBT community, including runaway and homeless youth, immigrants, people of color, and poor and working class. However, this historic neighborhood is on the brink of change as new residents arrive with their own ideas about its future landscape and identity.

Remaining gay and transgendered bars are closing, rising rents are forcing out long-time residents, and middle-income heterosexual businesses, restaurants, bars, and residents are quickly moving in. As tensions and conflicts continued to abound, this project aims to build bridges and facilitate dialog within a growing, diverse Polk Street community using oral histories, photography, and web-based media.

Here, bar manager Alexis Miranda tells her Polk Street story. You can hear more Polk Street stories from this California Humanities’ Community Stories project by visiting the GLBT Historical Society’s Archive.

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