I have been involved with the San Francisco Conservation Corps (SFCC) for a long, long time. Youth In Action (YIA) are affiliated to the SFCC. Youth in Action have two youth groups one does very well dealing with environmental and justice issues and expressing them via the media.

Their recent documentary "HP on Fire" was very well appreciated at the Horace Mann School at the recent Environmental Justice Conference held April 27, 2002, which was very well attended. Kudos to all those who worked so hard. Especially Jenn Bowman and Derek DeShane for working on the video.

Just as the Media Group within YIA does so well - the Conservation Group has been doing so much good work. We have our Muwekma Ohlone Park and Sanctuary by Illinois Street . David Erickson is our facilitator, protector, and guardian and has done so much to make this symbol shout out and express itself.

Most of us know that the sewage spill two days before Thanks Giving shocked us all. The Muwekma Park was destroyed for all practical purposes. But when the going get tough, we get tougher - we believe we can make good stuff happen. David and many others see hope and we all express it in various ways. The youth our future hope and leaders - say it all. They love to visit the Park and they love to leave their imprint!

The Bench of Color and Hope!

David Erickson came across some excess beams - huge enough for an elephant to sit itself down and spare room for a couple of others to join him or her. David arranged that the huge beams be transported to the Muwekma Ohone Park and Santuary. David contacted Youth In Action and the Conservation Group came up with a brilliant idea.

It was decided that the beams would be placed in the park at a location where many could sit and ponder, talk, wonder - with love in their hearts and remember - on this bench of color and hope.

YIA and David Erickson decided to place the beams in the Park in such a way that the beams would serve as a bench of solace. Sitting on this bench one can hear the waves break on the Islais Creek Beach. Feel the breeze and hear it whisper in one's ear. Bask in the sunshine. Enjoy the music of the birds. Watch the boats go by. Hear that loud siren of civilization. Watch hundreds of polluting cars and truck go by further there on the Illinois Draw Bridge. Look at the concrete jungle and yet realize here is a place of solace. So many good things!

Just the weight of the beams would be steady enough to hold a couple of elephants - steps would be taken to make it steady enough to meet all Safety requirements.

Right now the beams were placed in a location so that the Youth could give it a coating of nice white paint - the best primer! The next step would entail some heart-felt drawings with colors that would blow anyone away!

The Youth love to paint and express themselves creatively. Accompanying this article we have some digital photographs enjoy them. We all are looking forward to the day we can sit on this bench of hope and look back but more see the bright future of this Park that has gone through so much.

August 12, 2001 I spoke before the San Francisco Port Commissioners at Pier One and requested them to acknowledge the name given to the Park by David Erickson - the Muwekma Ohlone Park and Sanctuary. I explained to them that the Muwekma Tribe considers this a symbol of their struggle. The Muwekma Tribe will soon be Federally Recognized and put back on the Federal Register. They were there until 1927 when they were illegally removed by a Bureau of Indian Affairs agent - L.A. Dorrington. Today, the Muwekma Tribe keeps on fighting - just like this Muwekma Ohlone Park and Sanctuary - keeps on fighting so that it can be restored to its former glory.

Youth In Action has done us all proud. We would like to thank the team leaders and all the youth for their love and creativity. Millions will appreciate this Sanctuary. It was appreciated for thousands of years before and it will in the future. We all would be remiss if we did not thank David Erickon for taking the lead and taking us all to places where the gods love to bestow blessings one of a kind.

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