INTERNATIONAL HOTEL NIGHT, 1978 by Rachael Romero
When I look at this poster 30 years after I carved it, I can hear Etta Moon make one of her knowing observations and smothering it with effusive giggles. And I see Mama Helena in her long muumuu serving slices carved from a whole pig onto paper plates for Mr.Yip. Mr Yip was a stowaway from China who became a retired merchant marine continuing to rise at 4am every morning to do Tai Chi.
Manongs of the International Hotel like Tex had worked on ships or in the fields for forty years. Forbidden to marry here, the International Hotel served as their home base, a place where they could hear Pilipino or Chinese music, catch up with each other and eat familiar food.
When an overseas corporation wanted the tenants evicted and the hotel torn down, that dignified man you see in the front of the poster became the most outspoken of the tenants, rallying crowds that grew to 10,000 people over a decade. “My people” Felix would begin his stirring oratory, articulating a yearning for freedom and justice that continues to give voice to countless others used and discarded in this country’s ruthless pursuit of wealth.
All of this was celebrated that night in 1978, more than a year after the brutal 4am I-hotel eviction. Those ordinary people came together in an extraordinary way, leaving us an enduring legacy of courage, camaraderie and love. I am grateful to have been a part.
"This is working art, posters for the streets, for placards, for demonstrations. Sometimes these posters don’t just reflect reality, but have served, as Bertholt Brecht exhorted, as hammers with which to shape reality. These images are calls to action for struggles that have sometimes escalated into battles, and that have sometimes even changed the relations of power. The International Hotel posters by the SF Poster Brigade—several of which are included in this book—come to mind. They are testament to a moment in history that altered people’s perceptions of housing and development struggles in San Francisco..."
Fernando Martí reviews Inkworks' book: Visions of Peace & Justice, published on: Nov 01, 2007 for LEFT TURN
1967-1978. A decade of resistance to eviction and destruction of community.
Smithsonion's Capitol Gallery, Washington DC 2013
Banner includes I Hotel poster by Rachael Romero, SFPB
Posters by Rachael Romero SFPB
Mr Yip and Rachael in Chinatown SF 1978
Rene Yanez by the pirated billboard in the Mission
Felix Ayson speaking while Moscone nods off
Pool Hall and Tino's Barber Shop were the last of old Manilatown.
ten thousand people circled the block
Tex in his single room at the Hotel
Wahat Tampao speaks at City Hall rally
Emele De Guzman speaks at City Hall rally
What was once a thriving community--now displaced. Photo c Rachael Romero
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