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Farewell Tribute to Eric Quezada

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Eric Quezada, Executive Director of Dolores Street, and beloved father, son and friend to so many, passed away minutes before 6:00 a.m. on the 24th of August, after an entrenched battle against cancer.
He passed the morning after a candlelight vigil was held outside of his house in his honor on one of those rare balmy Frisco evenings. In the crowd that gathered, one could see a beloved cross section of community that Eric had touched in so many different ways – his friends, his family, folks who had fought side by side with Eric for domestic workers rights, youth opportunity, violence prevention, immigrant rights, housing justice, anti-gentrification soldiers and so many more. Eric left behind a legacy of struggle for justice that has lasting impact in neighborhoods across the city like the Mission district, As a longtime community and housing activist in San Francisco’s Mission and Bernal Neighborhoods.
Prior to joining Dolores Street in the fall of 2005, Eric worked at the Mission Housing Development Corporation and the Mission Economic Development Agency. He also served on the Board of Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center and PODER (People Organized to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights) and as second Vice-Chair elected to the Democratic County Central Committee.
He played a central role in the volatile ant-gentrification movement in San Francisco during the dot com era – a movement that successfully halted much of the transformation of San Francisco into a bedroom community for silicon valley and partially derailed the wholesale displacement of working class families and jobs. This movement was largely responsible for bringing back district elections and the opening up of city hall to progressive candidates representing community instead of a unilateral representation of downtown interests.
Eric was personally involved in the creation of hundreds of units of housing affordable to the poorest San Franciscans, and most recently the rehabilitation of the Dolores Hotel, which will provide housing and bilingual services for homeless folks in the Mission District. He had a leadership role in the creation of the Secret Garden, a cultural, art and gardening space in the Mission District. In fact, his accomplishments are far too long to list here.
According to Ana Perez, immigrant rights leader, “few people have such a deep relationship with people in our community, the clarity of revolutionary politics, the energy, the unstoppable work ethic, and the courage to say the truth and take on anyone who needs to be challenged in defense of community [as Eric.]”
Eric saw the connection between poverty, racism, unemployment, gentrification, and homelessness. He was one to connect the dots and stand strong for the most disenfranchised members of our communities. When he was running for District 9 Supervisor, one the candidates made caustic remarks about homeless people in the district, and Eric reportedly dragged him out after the debate and showed him the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center and gave him an impromptu education on how insulting “my people” was directly insulting him.
In Eric’s struggle with cancer, he personified his fighting spirit, not only living years longer then his original prognosis, but truly living and working during that time. He got so much accomplished post cancer, it is almost inconceivable– started a democratic club, got the Dolores Hotel going, got elected to the DCCC, fell in love, parented a baby girl, buried his father, ran an organization, helped lead an immigrant rights coalition through brutal attacks on civil and human rights – and through it all kept his Fighting spirit so alive it is spreading like wildfire throughout San Francisco as we speak.
From the Coalition on Homelessness and Street Sheet, we will always love you Eric, and we will always be grateful for your hard work and sacrifice.
PRESENTE! La lucha sigue! “The struggle continues!”

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Author: Street Sheet Editor

The STREET SHEET is the oldest continuously published street news paper in the United States. Organizationally, it is the public education and outreach tool of the Coalition on Homelessness. Every month, the STREET SHEET reaches 32,000 readers through over 200 homeless or low-income vendors. Our vendors are charged nothing for the papers they receive, and keep all money they earn through STREET SHEET distribution.

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