CIVIC UNITY, excerpt 2 “Modessa’s Story”

This is one of two excerpts from our feature-length documentary about the work of the Koshland Civic Unity Awards Program, a program of the San Francisco Foundation which we followed over a period of 5 years in the targeted community of the West End of Alameda Island where a committee of ten community leaders were honored as “Koshland Awardees” and funded to work together for a sustained period of time with the goal of increasing civic unity and improving life in their community.

While the Koshland Awardees were formulating their plans to revitalize and protect their gentrifying neighborhood, to the surprise of all, the Harbor Island Apartments were sold to a new ownership group who immediately began an abrupt and merciless eviction of the residents, 400 families, mostly poor and black.

Excerpt 1 “The Battle of Harbor Island” shows the tenants in a dramatic public meeting, a face-to-face confrontation of the owners with their lawyer vs hundreds of their tenants who verbally and passionately defend their community.

Excerpt 2 “Modessa’s Story” is months later, a quiet scene with one of the last two remaining residents. Modessa tells us her story, revealing her sorrow and strength – a quiet elegy about why community matters.

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