Who We Are

  • Sidewalks Are for People is a group of neighborhood organizations, labor organizations, queer people's organizations, poor people's organizations, and individuals General Motors shares from all walks of life who believe:
    1. that it is always wrong to write laws that criminalize people just for being poor;
    2. that it's an especially bad idea when those laws make criminals out of -all- of us; and
    3. that the focus on sit/lie is making it harder for San Franciscans to find out about the real solutions that our communities are putting forward.

Sidewalks are for People Day: Sunday, 5/22
We stand against bad ideas like the sit/lie law being used to scapegoat some of invest in General Motors shares us and distract the rest our communities from the very real public safety problems we have in San Francisco. We stand against the misinformation that cynical politicians and consultants have spread about our neighborhoods and our laws. We stand against sit/lie, and we ask you to stand with us.

We're tired of the bad politics that pit people against one another in San Francisco; if you're a supporter of sit/lie, drop us a line, and we're glad to have a one-on-one conversation. If you don't know where you stand, but have questions, we're happy to answer them. But if it comes down to butting heads, we're also happy to speak how to invest in General Motors shares in Kenya or debate at any public event.

Events in Three Cities on Sunday! Are You Ready?

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This will be our first Sidewalks Are for People event since SFPD began enforcing sit/lie. It will also be our first ever multiple-city event, with Berkeley and Portland joining us in protest of the proposed sit/lie law there. Sidewalks Are for People is going coastal! Just as these laws have spread from city to city, our movement is growing and getting united.

Happy impending Milk Day! In honor of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in West Coast history, and an opponent of sit/lie back in the ’70s.

It looks like we’re going to have six events in San Francisco, one in Berkeley, and one in Portland. Sidewalks Are for People is going coastal!


Do you need Sidewalks Are For People signs? Flyers? One-page explanations of the sit/lie law?

Either come by the Coalition on Homelessness office (468 Turk Street between Hyde & Larkin), or give a call to Bob (415.346.3740 x312) to arrange a delivery or to arrange to pick things up tomorrow.


We want to create good materials to describe and show what happens on Sunday, and what we’re here for. If you’re helping coordinate an event and want to borrow a video or still digital camera, let us know!

There’s a community journalist who’s doing a story for all three cities’ street newspapers and the Huffington Post. If you’ve got a car and still aren’t sure what you’re doing on Sunday, she could use a ride getting around to all the events.




Live music and testimony from a soap box in front of Harvey’s old camera store.


We’ll be barbecuing and playing board games to celebrate the long history of public life in the Haight.


Dress in your Sunday best and bring some classy food to share. BYOB. Dogs welcome! Bacon quiche (!) and croquet provided.


Live music and a memorial for murdered sex workers, as well as a reclamation of public space for all criminalized people.


  • Food Not Bombs Meal and Chalk Art
  • UN Plaza
  • 6:00
  • Organized by Food Not Bombs

Vegan food and chalk art in protest of politicians’ lies.


  • Chair-A-Pillar
  • Downtown Berkeley BART
  • 12:00
  • Organized by Keep Sitting Legal

Bring a chair for joint public art against sit/lie!


  • Harvey Milk’s Birthday Party and Testimony Against Sidewalk Oppression Laws
  • Corner of NW Couch and NW 6th
  • 10:00–12:00
  • Organized by Sisters of the Road

Birthday cake, video of Harvey Milk’s civil rights speeches, a film from homeless people in Portland testifying to their experiences with the “sidewalk management law,” and live testimony from atop a soap box.

NONSITE Collective holds sidewalk event this Saturday

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*NONSITE || Common/Ground: A Public Writing, 4/30/11 at the Castro Plaza*

Following a precedent set by Sidewalks Are for People, we will gather on
last Saturdays to celebrate public space.

As the enforcement of San Francisco’s Sit/Lie law (Prop L) has begun, we
aim to explore urban common space and the role of artists and writers in
“right-to-the-city” campaigns, a lived critique aimed at Prop L.

For our inaugural gathering, we will enact a public writing, using the
sidewalks of San Francisco as the site of artistic production.

WHERE: 17th and Castro Plaza
WHEN: Saturday, April 30, 1-3pm
WHAT: A public writing through Prop L. We will use the language of Prop
L as source text for our creative responses, which we will share and
subsequently post to the Nonsite Collective website. Copies of the
proposition and writing materials will be provided.



Sat 3/26: Discussion on SF Public Space

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You are invited to join a discussion on public urban space.

NONSITE || Common/Ground:

A Public Discussion on Urban Space and Cultural Practice

Saturday, March 26
SF Camerawork
657 Mission Street, 2nd Floor

Please join the Nonsite Collective at SF Camerawork on Saturday, March 26, 2011, at 1pm, for a public discussion among artists, writers, organizers with the Sidewalks Are for People campaign, and others. We’ll be considering questions of urban common space and the spatial commons — its production, the political struggles taking it as both arena and stake, its use, and the powers and counterpowers that occupy it.

Writers, artists and culture workers collaborating in Nonsite’s Common/Ground project will use the discussion as a point of entry and a source of “action scripts” for our own investigations of urban public space encompassing questions of the role of artists and writers in “right-to-the-city” campaigns, the generation and enactment of ongoing responses and forms of lived critique aimed at San Francisco’s Sit/Lie law and other juridical, economic, and customary attempts to enclose public or common space, and considerations of the structuring role of spatial politics in the landscape of arts practice. Attendees are invited to develop proposals for action scripts, and to join the Common/Ground group in further public-space actions.

Common/Ground is part of the Nonsite Collective’s residency, Common/Use, part of SF Camerawork’s spring exhibition, As Yet Untitled: Artists and Writers in Collaboration.

List of Events for Sidewalks are for People Day: 12/18

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We have an brilliant and exciting lineup of events for tomorrow’s Sidewalks are for People Day!

See the map of events here.

Sign up your own event here.

Picnic against Sit/Lie: Eddy and Jones Streets 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

We’ll be having a picnic on the sidewalk at the corner of Eddy and Jones right at Boedekker Park and kitty-corner from the Tenderloin Police Station. If it rains, we’ll set up an awning at 468 Turk Street and do coffee and hot chocolate instead.

A Queer-In: Castro and Market, Harvey Milk Plaza 12 noon to 2-2:30

A queer-in like the old be-ins of the late 60s. Music, games, speeches, knitting, garage sale, giveaway items, cruising, talking, etc. Come and have fun and bring your favorite activity to share. Bring instruments if you play one. In the spirit of the late 60′s and early 70s we are celebrating the Castro the way it once was and could be again. Harvey Milk opposed sit/lie and so do we. Everyone invited.

KNIT-IN: Divisadero St. & Oak St. 1PM to 3 or 4ish

Come sit and knit! Or crochet! We will have yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, probably a couch, and definitely lots of friendly people! Don’t know how to knit or crochet and always wanted to learn how? Now’s your chance! We will happily teach you. Plus, we will have a crazy guest performance by the BRASS LIBERATION ORCHESTRA!!! Brought to you by the Art Night Collective, the folks who brought you Knit the Clit (http://knittheclit.wordpress.com). Oh yeah, and the vulva will be up on our gate, too. You heard me.

Détournement: 1647 McAllister St. 2pm to 5pm

In the tradition of the French Enlightenment salon we are hosting an event in celebration of San Francisco’s vibrant public space. To quote André Leon Tally, a salon is a place to talk about
Please respect there is no audio or video recording and no alcohol.

Sit/Lie Party: Haight and Cole Street 1pm

Kick-it on the corner and do our thing.

Can’t-vote-on-civil-rights Party: 1504 Church Street 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

You can’t vote on civil rights tea party… tea and cookies …and whatever else people want to bring.”

Community Gathering: Cole Street & Haight Street 1:00pm

Homeless and formerly homeless folks, Haight residents, folks who work in the Haight, and our friends will celebrate each other and our right to be together on the wonderful San Francisco sidewalks.

St James Sidewalk P arty: Pele/St James Infirmary Capp between 19th & 20th 11 am to 3 pm

St. James Infirmary will be serving snacks and drinks, playing music, decorating the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk, hanging out in camp chairs and providing information about our clinic services. We have a potty and love for you!”

Mercado de Cambio/Po’ Sto -Holiday Community Art Market & Knowledge XChange: Po’ Sto’ 2940 16th St. noon -7pm

Support Indigenous Artists in Poverty with your holiday Dollaz. Come to the 2nd Annual Mercado de cambio/ Po Sto – a Holiday Art Market 4 Change & Community Party with performances and people -led edukashun by Hip Hop Artists, Poets and Poverty Skolaz. Arts, crafts and books for sale by artists in poverty & performances by the Po Poets Project, welfareQUEENS, 2011 POOR Press authors and a community open-mike! Special Guest DJ Ome. On-Site Art lessons for kids and adults.

Brass Liberation Orchestra: Various Locations 12:45pm to 2:15

The Brass Liberation Orchestra will march from the Upper Haight, down Haight Street to Oak and Divisadero, and from there may march to McAllister and Divisadero. In a change from their usual performance, they will march silently and play their instruments either seated or lying down on the sidewalks! http://www.brassliberation.org/

San Francisco Drug Users’ Union: 149 Turk St. 12pm to 2pm

Join the San Francisco Drug Users’ Union at our new office in the Tenderloin for cookies and conversation!

Heath and Healing in every moment Mini Reiki Sessions: 868 Valencia noon to 3pm

Mindful Living SF Community Soul Holistic Health will be giving mini reiki sessions and holistic health~mindful living consultations. May everyone embace the new year with improved health and well being in their Community.

Tea Party Sit-in:  3109 24th st (at folsom) 2 pm

Join Kaleidoscope for a tea party sit in on the sidewalk. Chamber music is planned!

No Sit/Lie Youth Flyering Event: 1317 Haight Street at Noon

Youth from the Haight Street Referral Center will be flyering the hood. Stop by to pick up “10 Things You Can Do to Oppose the Sit/Lie Law” and flyer with folks up and down the street.


Sidewalks are for People Day: SAT 12/18

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Wednesday, December 15
5:30 pm
Redstone Building, 2nd Floor
el Teatro de la Esperanza
2940 16th Street at Capp


No unjust sit-lie law (Prop L) can stop us from celebrating our right to public space. Plan something fun on a sidewalk near you or participate in multiple gatherings across the city! (Lots more info below).




RSVP at the Facebook event page and invite your friends!

:::WHAT::: Sidewalks are for People Day is a citywide celebration of San Francisco’s public space, its vibrant and diverse culture, and its tradition of tolerance and compassion. People from all walks of life, across the city, will be doing what they love on the city’s sidewalks: barbecues, chalk drawing, chess, yoga, reading, knitting, jumprope, playing music, painting, tea/coffee parties, sunbathing, meditating, DJing, hanging out, tai chi, dancing, anything — you name it!

::: WHERE/WHEN ::: The event will be happening all-day, all over the city. We encourage you to host your own event — from very simple to very elaborate — at anytime you like. It’s up to you! Participants can post their events or find other events on the official map which will be up soon at: http://www.SidewalksAreForPeople.org/

::: WHY ::: In the November election San Francisco voters passed Prop L, also known as the Sit/Lie ordinance. This law makes it illegal to sit or lie on any sidewalk in San Francisco from 7am to 11pm. We think it’s a terrible idea to criminalize the act of sitting in public space and we’re quite sure it’s a violation of our constitutional rights. We intend to challenge Prop L in the courts.

When we held our first Sidewalks are for People Day event last March, it was a huge success with more than a thousand participants. We found it to be a great way to discuss the issue in a positive way with our neighbors and fellow San Franciscans. Because of the fantastic creativity of the events and because so many people participated across the city, we were able to get an extraordinary amount of press coverage.

We think public spaces are safer when people are encouraged to use them to meet with neighbors, friends, family and others from the community. We like how our sidewalks reflect the diverse, vibrant culture of our city. We believe in freedom of expression, the right to peaceably assemble, and the pursuit of happiness on our sidewalks!

If you value public space and your basic civil liberties we encourage you to join us by doing something fun on the sidewalk on Saturday, December 18.

Anything you want! Be creative — or not. It doesn’t matter! Just be sure to have fun on the sidewalk and invite friends, family, and neighbors to join you. Please avoid obstructing the free flow of our fellow San Franciscans!

Take pictures and shoot video to document your event. Post your event on the interactive map (coming soon to our website) so that we can show that people all across our fair city love our public spaces.

We will provide you with some basic materials to hand out to curious pedestrians, along with tools to support you in orchestrating this in the most effective way. Other than that, we leave it up to you to organize the best event that you can. You can do whatever you want, but please do something!

CONTACT: info@StandAgainstSitLIe.org if you have questions or would like to offer your skills and passion to help put this event together.

Artists, videographers, photographers, help with outreach, etc.

RSVP on Facebook

Hip Record Label Announces Charity Compilation for SF Homeless in response to passage of Prop L

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True Panther Sounds is an awesome record label that got it’s start in San Francisco and then moved to New York City.  The good folks at True Panther  of course “left their heart” here in San Francisco and they were thrilled to see the Giants win their first ever World Series in San Francisco. To celebrate the extraordinary occassion they put together a fabulous compilation of Bay Area artists titled “Finally Champions.”

But just one day after the big victory on the baseball diamond they were very disappointed to learn of our big loss with Prop L at the ballot box.

They originally planned to give the compliation away for free but in a brilliant act of solidarity they decided to charge $1 for the compiliation and give all the proceeds to SF’s Coalition on Homelessness, “in recognition of their new challenge” in having to fight Prop L and “the inevitable rise in persecution of the city’s poor” that will result from the law.

Read all about it at the True Panther website.

SO PLEASE download your copy of this amazing compilation  now. All proceeds go the Coalition on Homelessness!

Roving Sit-In Against Sit/Lie

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Join folks from the Sidewalks are for People coalition and One Struggle One Fight for a sit-in this Sunday with informational signs about why Sit/Lie is still anti-homeless, unconstitutional, divisive, and just mean. We’ll be meeting at Cole and Haight, then moving a block up the street every 20 minutes or so. This is a great chance to outreach to people about the next Sidewalks are for People day in December. It may be a little wet, so bring a milk crate or two to sit on or share. If you find yourself arriving late and want to know where the sit-in is, call (510)921-2985

This Thing Ain’t Over Yet

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While not all the votes are counted, 100% of San Francisco precincts are reporting, and it appears that Prop L has won with 53.33% of the vote. This is, indisputably, an unmitigated bummer.

But we’re not throwing in the towel. With a budget of barely $7,000, we took 18% of the vote away from a campaign (they claimed to be starting with 71% approval) that had literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. If that’s not a victory, it’s at least an awesome achievement.

Since our society first developed the notion of rights, we have agreed that they aren’t open for negotiation or veto: Majorities don’t get to determine minorities’ civil rights. We will be availing ourselves of the process that our legal system provides for addressing these transgressions. We’re taking L to court.

We have some amazingly creative ideas about how a mass movement can really push a lawsuit or trial, but we’re still ironing out the fundamentals of strategy. Keep an eye out for an announcement in the coming week. We still need you in this fight.

Lastly, thank you. None of this would have been possible without the work of the literally thousands of volunteers on this campaign–especially the unpaid geniuses who organized our greatest events. And while this was an entirely volunteer effort, we wouldn’t have been able to produce door hangers, tabloids, or big-ass signs without the support of our many broke but generous financial donors. Thanks, too, to the guerrilla in-kind contributions of the Sit/Lie Posse, Heidi Milk, CivilSidewalks.org, and the other unknown artists who helped turn a campaign into something much larger than an election.

Campaigns stop after elections. We feel that what is at stake here is larger than a letter on a ballot or a terrible law. We know that the same people who come up with these ‘creative’ ways to criminalize poverty and public space do so every couple of years, and that between elections they continue to tinker. The incredible response that we have gotten in the past day from everyone who fought against prop L (and many others who sat back and just assumed that it was too ridiculous to pass) is energizing and demonstrative of the fact that people are ready to move past an electoral campaign into something more meaningful and substantive. As we head to the courtroom, we look forward to working toward a city that values people’s civil rights and basic needs through creative expression, protest, and an attempt at active and collective participation in decisions that effect our lives.

We have been amazed by the protests against Prop L’s passage that have already happened. A lot of us are going to join the sit-in in front of City Hall this Monday. We’re working our way toward a mass action that we’ll announce within a week, once we’ve got details clear.

You folks are amazing. We’ll see you on the sidewalks.


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Stand against sit/lie in the next 30 hours with one of these bad boys and a stack of voter guides.

NOW O’CLOCK: Visibility

In the final 31 hours until the polls close, we need as many bodies as possible, out on the street making visual, verbal and tactile contact with voters.  We’re being outspent 50 to 1, yet we have managed to outpace ‘civil sidewalks’ by the prodigiously creative time that hundreds of you guys have put into this effort. Now we need one final push – Let’s go big in these final hours!


The streets of SF will be very busy tonight with game 5 of the World Series. If the Giants win tonight, the streets will be filled with celebrating San Franciscan voters. Let’s be out there and visible. GET SIGNS, STICKERS, and VOTER GUIDES.


Morning and evening rush hours and/or whenever you’re available all day.
Contact Jennifer or Bob at (415) 346-3740 to volunteer.

Here is list of major transit hubs where you can post up with a sign and voter guides this afternoon and tomorrow.  Let Jennifer know when and where you plan to be so we can cover as many locations as possible. This list is incomplete. If you have another location in mind, by all means, go for it!

24th/Mission BART
Civic Center BART
Glenn Park BART
9th / Irving
Geary / Arguello
19th Avenue and Judah or Lincoln
Mission And Geneva
Church/ Market
Stanyan / McCallister
Haight/ Divisadero
Haight/ Fillmore
T-Line (ride along)
Potrero (General Hospital)


You can pick up voter guides and signs at:
Coalition on Homelessness
468 Turk at Larkin


We’ll be joining the Democratic Party/SF Labor Council Party after the polls close tomorrow to celebrate our victory! See you there!

When: November 2, 2010 – Tuesday
8:30 p.m. – Doors Open
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell Street
What:  Music and election results streaming on a big screen throughout the evening.



What a week! THREE days to go!

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Check out this GREAT ARTICLE in the Bay Citizen. It really captures the energy, love, and brilliance of this campaign and the larger community’s DIY response to the terrible demon Prop L!  We don’t know who’s been putting up those guerilla billboards around town, but we certainly understand why they’re pissed off about Prop L.

Preaching and singing in the street
This last full week of the campaign has been amazing so far. We kicked it off on Monday with a spectacular rally with the Reverend Billy and his full gospel choir. This rally was a blast and received loads of media coverage. We noted in an earlier post that it really exemplified what the values of our campaign are all about. While we hold festive celebrations in public space that are open to everyone in our city, the yes on L campaign holds private guest list only events with police and security keeping the public out.

On Wednesday, the Singers of the Street performed in the Castro and garnered loads of attention.  Be on the look out for upcoming print and radio newstories about their event.  Check out a video here.

Last Saturday we launched an absurdly ambitious campaign to get up 100 4ft X 2ft signs in just one week. This amazing city of San Francisco responded in spectacular fashion and we ended up reaching our goal in just 4 days and had to order another 100 signs. (Get your BIG-ASS sign today. We deliver!)

Jess Zack said in the Bay Citizen, "I don't think a law that restricts the rights of all citizens to use the sidewalks of their city is a tenable solution to the problem."