SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, the Coast Longshore Division of the ILWU will present a 0,000 check to the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center in support of its expansion efforts. Last June the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a plan to demolish and expand the Center into a 20,000 square-foot comprehensive community institution with two distinct components – residential and an expanded community center. The Center is still working to raise the final million necessary to create a modern space to better provide pragmatic assistance and resources to San Francisco’s underserved communities.
The Booker T. Washington Center was launched shortly after World War I as a resource for San Francisco’s African American population. When it first opened its doors, it was responding to the lack of services available to African Americans. At the time, this included union membership. However, the ILWU has always been inclusive and this is how the initial bond between the two organizations was formed.
When the Officers of the ILWU Longshore Division heard of the rebuild project, they approached Pat Scott, Director of Booker T., with a check for ,000.
San Francisco’s ILWU Local 10 then brought a resolution to the Longshore Division’s Caucus that took place from June 11-15 asking for a donation of 0,000 into the project. Delegates representing 30 locals on the West Coast unanimously approved the resolution. The ,000 check became a 0,000 donation, and the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center found itself significantly closer to reaching its fundraising target.
“The Booker T. Washington Center provides essential care and services for the people of the Western Addition and neighboring communities,” explained Leal Sundet, ILWU Longshore Division Coast Committeeman, “They have grand and achievable plans to provide 21st century resources to those most in need, but right now they’re struggling to do so with antiquated facilities. We had the capacity to help them close the gap, so we reached into our pockets and made an investment in San Francisco families and children. San Francisco is where our headquarters is and the City is our roots. We have members, both retired and active, that have utilized and been supported by Booker T.”
Plans for the new community center include approximately 48 new affordable homes for San Francisco families, transitional aged youth (18-24), and youth who have aged out of foster care. In addition to this residential component, the Booker T. Community center will also include a state-of-the-art gym, a youth center offering academic support, childcare, and technical training, and a new playground, garden and open space area.
Since its inception, Booker T. has maintained its tradition of serving the city’s underserved and underrepresented, and has become a cornerstone for children, seniors, families, and others in need of support.
About the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center
Founded in 1919 and incorporated in 1923, the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center has provided support for African American families since just after World War I. It has been an organizing force, and has responded to community needs with job training, after school and teen programs, recreation, emergency food, counsel on housing and health care, senior clubs and other programs.
Many of Booker T’s efforts were in response to Jim Crow segregation, discrimination in employment, disenfranchising black soldiers and their families after the First and Second World Wars, and the uprooting of black families through urban renewal. More recently Booker T. has expanded to serve local immigrants. Many are from the Middle East, Mexico, Russia and China. Please visit www.btwscs.org for further information.