Student Spotlight: David Ventura

Sunnydale: Revisiting the Projects

A Writer Reflects on Her Childhood in the ‘Swamps’
Written by Mintoy Tillman | Photography by David Ventura 

The author returns to Coffman Pool Playground in Sunnydale, where as a child she played withe friends after swimming classes. Photo by David Ventura

When people ask where I grew up and I reply that I’m from Sunnydale, I sometimes get weird looks. When Sunnydale shows up in the media, which isn’t often, it is almost always related to violence and crime. There are a lot of stereotypes about life in the projects.
There’s the single-mother household. The poor, the uneducated, the underprivileged. The drug addict. The criminal. The lazy person who refuses to improve his or her living situation.
I wouldn’t say these stereotypes are completely false, but they’re not completely true either.
Most San Franciscans never see Sunnydale at all, unless they are on their way to the nearby Cow Palace. Even fewer will ever know about my Sunnydale. It’s a place where people are resourceful and self-reliant, but take care of one another. Where people are proud of what they have and share with the community. It’s a place that made me strong, wise and determined. READ ALL& See the photo essay.


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