August 26th took an unexpected turn with the cancellation of the “Doom Loop” tour, which aimed to highlight the open-air drug markets associated with homelessness in the Tenderloin (TL). Residents and visitors, in search of an authentic Tenderloin experience, instead gravitated towards Del Seymour, the unofficial mayor of the Tenderloin and founder of Code Tenderloin. They were not disappointed.
Joining his “Walking Tenderloin Tour,” over 100 San Francisco enthusiasts explored the vibrant streets of the Tenderloin. With every step, a powerful narrative of resilience, community, and transformative change was passionately shared, presenting a refreshingly positive portrayal of a neighborhood too often misunderstood.
The tour commenced at City Hall, a beacon of governance and historical significance. As participants navigated the streets, they reached the Moscone Center, a hub for conventions and events. Passing by St. Anthony’s on Golden Gate Avenue was particularly poignant, as it complements GLIDE’s community-driven initiatives, offering essential services to the poor and underserved. Alongside these iconic landmarks, numerous other sites within the TL were highlighted, each offering its narrative, emphasizing the rich tapestry of history, activism, and culture that has defined the area for decades.
“We’re introducing people to what is undeniably the most historic neighborhood in San Francisco,” said Del Seymour. “Despite its many challenges, the Tenderloin has displayed remarkable resilience and continues to rise above adversities,” summarized Del.
“I learned some intriguing history and perspectives about the Tenderloin,” said seasoned journalist and TL visitor Christopher Cook. “It is a potent counter-narrative to the prevalent media myths about the neighborhood and the city of San Francisco.”
Such insights shed light on a community beyond its infamous media image. The Tenderloin is a cultural treasure trove, with stories of artists, immigrants, activists, and dreamers contributing to its vibrant mosaic.
It resonates with the collective endeavors of a robust network of local community services. Numerous youth programs are dedicated to creating safe havens and constructive pathways, giving younger residents opportunities to flourish.
Housing shelters work relentlessly, offering sanctuary to those in need and a bridge to a brighter future. Many unhoused individuals call the Tenderloin’s streets their home. They are more than simplistic labels like ‘addicts’ or ‘homeless.’ They are individuals, each with a unique story, seeking understanding, respect, and a fresh start in facing life’s adversities.
At GLIDE, we’ve remained unwavering in our commitment to the Tenderloin community for over six decades. With an enduring legacy, our dedication has transcended mere service provision. We actively champion that lasting change can be achieved through unconditional love and support. With comprehensive programs ranging from Daily Free Meals and housing support to Men in Progress Men In Progress – GLIDE – San Francisco: serving the people of the Tenderloin and San Francisco since 1963 and Harm Reduction GLIDE Harm Reduction – GLIDE – San Francisco: serving the people of the Tenderloin and San Francisco since 1963, GLIDE exemplifies what it means to be truly immersed in and dedicated to community transformation.
For every attendee, this wasn’t just a stroll through any neighborhood but an immersion into the very soul of San Francisco — a place where adversity is faced with resilience and where organizations like GLIDE stand as beacons of hope and transformation.