San Francisco-The black community in San Francisco saw a sea of change in the late 1960s and early 1970, that helped change the landscape of San Francisco.

Black people in the city protested for change, leading protests against discriminatory hiring practices in department stores, hotels, car dealerships and grocery stores. At San Francisco State, black students held a strike that led to the first nationwide Black Studies program in academia and the creation of the Ethnic Studies Department.

The city also saw an increase in the black population, as in 1972, one in seven residents were black.   While most of the black citizens lived in the Fillmore area of San Francisco, a growing number of blacks were located in the Southeastern part of San Francisco, which consisted of Potrero Hill and BayView Hunters Point.While this area was growing with black residents, many people felt the area was underserved, especially regarding black youth and the economic opportunities. In 1973, a group of fifteen young people marched to San Francisco’s City Hall, demanding training and money to help give economic opportunities and careers for residents of the Southeastern part of San Francisco.

This march would help to create Young Community Developers, a job training and development and workforce organization, that has helped people in Bay View and across the city, find careers, jobs and build lives to improve San Francisco. Fifty years later,  YCD is celebrating 50 years of service, this year with the Golden Impact Gala at Chase Center, October 12 at 6 pm at 690 Terry Francois Boulevard in San Francisco.

“Fifty years of YCD means impact, community and stability,” said Dion Jay Brookter, the executive director of Young Community Developers.

“Young Community Developers is the community. Being here and having the impact it has had over the years, as the organization has seen the Good, the bay and the ugly of the city. YCD is still here.”

Brookter, a former football player at Utah State, came to YCD in 2010, as a result of being mentored by former YCD Executive Director Derrick Tolliver. He worked under Tolliver and then under Shamman Walton, the former executive director of YCD.  He said the impact the non-profit has made is “immense.” “A lot of people in Bay View got their first jobs and or work experience through YCD,” said District 10 San Francisco Supervisor Shamman Walton and former executive director for YCD,  “The work YCD has done has created thousands of jobs for people all over the city,”

The small rickety house on Yosemite, has been YCD’s home over the years and it has stood the test of time.  Walton was the executive director from 2011 to 2019 before he became a San Francisco Supervisor.

Now YCD has expanded its reach in BayView and across the city. In 2018, YCD partnered with College Prep in Bay View, which deals with educational tutoring and preparing youth for college. It also partnered with Inner City Youth, another job creation and job development agency in the Ocean View area of San Francisco, founded by Ocean View activist Mike Brown. YCD has also expanded into housing.   

“We built 60 units of affordable housing and  we have 500 units in the pipeline,” said Brookter.  YCD partnered with AMCAL, a group of  real estate companies, focused on student, market rate and affordable housing, and built the housing on the Hunters Point Shipyard.

While YCD has adapted and grown over the years, Brookter says the Fiftieth Gala will pay homage to the people who made YCD what it is today.

“I want to make sure they get their roses,” said Brookter. “Folks have put in the work so we can be here for 50 years. We are paying homage to the past, sharing what we are doing now and getting YCD ready for the future.”

The Golden Impact Gala for YCD is at Chase Center, October 12 at 6 pm at 690 Terry Francois Boulevard in San Francisco.  Tickets start out at $200 a person.  For more information on tickets or sponsorships for the event, contact Laila Newton by phone at 415-822-3491  or by e-mail at [email protected]