SFTR’s Executive Director Vinita Goyal reflects on Transit Month and our finale event.
This past weekend I read a story of artist T.L. Simons who did map making in Oakland and through his art was meditating on Oakland on the series of obliterations the city experienced over the years. Not too dissimilar to Oakland, we can be tempted to take a pessimistic view and lay down our own history here in San Francisco: how we occupy the unceded Ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples, the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Peninsula, of the “shoreline of marshes and tidal estuaries now reshaped for the demands of the global economy,” and of our elaborate streetcar system that we systematically dismantled over the last century.
However, I am inspired by Simon’s dedication that is not one of despair and reads such:
“I have chosen to illustrate this map not as a horrific depiction of the catastrophes that define our common history, but as a reflection of the resilience and magic I see in the city around me. It is a reminder that no matter how bad things get, they are always changing. I want (the map of the city) to ground the viewer in the place where they stand and to spark the imagination of those who will struggle for a different kind of future.”
This forward gaze that Simon had is also true of several individuals who we celebrated this past Friday, who with their imagination are moving the region to a different kind of future.