Where Do We Go From Here? | Mechanics' Institute

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Where Do We Go From Here?
A Conversation on the Bay Area's Homeless Crisis

In partnership with the San Francisco Writers Conference.

This FREE event will be conducted via Zoom. Please register here.

Join “OG Rev” Harry Louis Williams II, Interim Minister of Compassionate Care at the historic Glide Memorial Church and Randy Shaw, Director of San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic, for an inside look at the region's rapidly growing homeless population and what it is like on the streets now during these turbulent times. Both gentlemen will speak of their writing careers and their experiences helping our most vulnurable citizens. Moderated by Laurie McLean, Director of the San Francisco Writers Conference and Taryn Edwards, Librarian and Strategic Partnerships Manager of Mechanics' Institute.

 Randy Shaw is Director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic (THC), which he helped found in 1980 and has worked at ever since. The Clinic currently leases, manages, and provides supportive services in 21 Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels that are home to over 2000 tenants. THC is San Francisco’s leading provider of permanent housing for homeless single adults. Randy’s most recent book, Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America, discusses strategies for increasing affordability in progressive cities like San Francisco. It was just released in paperback with a new preface. His previous books include The Activist’s Handbook: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century; Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century; and The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime, and Resistance in the Heart of San Francisco.

 Randy is the editor of BeyondChron, an alternative news source with a particular focus on housing issues and politics. He frequently appears and is quoted in local, regional, and national media on issues of housing, homelessness, and gentrification. Randy's books are available through  Alexander Book Company

“OG Rev” Harry Louis Williams II - A hail of bullets outside his East Oakland window changed Reverend Harry Louis Williams II’s life in the fall of 2002. The next morning, as he traveled down the street to the neighborhood stores, he noticed that a shrine comprised of teddy bears, balloons and empty Remy Martin bottles had been erected overnight. Someone had lost their life in that hail of bullets.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Reverend Williams took to the streets for answers. He spoke to both drug users and drug traffickers about the madness that had engulfed the community. What he found shifted his focus as a minister. The emphasis of his work came to involved the incarcerated and those returning to the society. He mentored gang-involved youth and foster children. Williams’ founded a ministry to human trafficking victims. He became a board member for Homies Empowerment, a community-based outreach to gang involved youth. In between his street ministry, Reverend Williams, also known as "OG Rev", has written 9 novels and nonfiction books. His latest is entitled: Taking It To The Streets: Lessons From A Life Of Urban Ministry.  

Harry Williams was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Asbury Park, NJ.  He holds a B.A. degree from Kean University, Union, NJ and a Master of Divinity Degree from Palmer Theological Seminary, St. Davids, PA.  Currently, Reverend Williams serves as a community minister/activist in Oakland California.  He is also the Interim Minister of Compassionate Care at the historic Glide Memorial Church in the San Francisco Tenderloin neighborhood.  Harry WIlliams' books are available through  Alexander Book Company.









Members & Public Free

Future Activities

Sep 24 - 11:00am

Write If You Dare!
A virtual version of our popular drop-in writing group

Sep 25 - 12:00pm

Virtual Tour of the Mechanics' Institute
with Librarian and Historian Taryn Edwards

Sep 26 - 3:00pm

Libraries of the Barbary Coast, 1848-1879
an illustrated lecture with librarian Taryn Edwards

Sep 29 - 5:30pm

Knit Happens Online

Oct 1 - 11:00am

Write If You Dare!
A virtual version of our popular drop-in writing group