Skip to Main Content

Recap: Our Place in the Park | A Resounding Celebration of Community at Manalo Draves Park

Category   SOMASapiens

The sun shone brightly last Saturday, on May 27, as the community came together for a remarkable celebration. Our Place in the Park, an event that was postponed due to the atmospheric rivers earlier in the year, was a resounding success, uniting intergenerational families, artists, and activists in the cozy SoMa park, named after Filipina Gold medal Olympic diver, Victoria Manalo Draves

Led by dedicated staff members from local non-profits and community organizers, the programs and performances were the heart and soul of the event. The audience was inspired throughout the community event, from mesmerizing musical acts by local talents to thought-provoking short film screenings.

Advocates, neighbors, and families from all walks of life attended, creating a vibrant tapestry of diversity. Each program had performances and acts of all cultural backgrounds, and the film screenings included shorts from SOMA Sapiens, It Takes the Hood to Save the Hood, and a sneak peak of the proposed SOMA Pilipinas Gateway arch film, Sa Amin.

The short films shown at Our Place in the Park conveyed the same messages of a community coming together to live and play and celebrate in spite of hardship, discrimination, and displacement. SOMA Sapiens, a series of shorts by Grant Thomspon and produced by SOMA West CBD, featured SOMA residents that spanned multiple generations living and thriving in SOMA. From Oscar Peñarada — a “teacher of teachers and mentor” of Filipino-Americans and “resource and authority” on Filipino-American culture and history — to Kyle — a 9-year-old resident who plays chess and discusses situational awareness — SOMA Sapiens offers a snapshot of people living and being in SOMA.

The fabulous San Francisco weather blessed the day with great vibrations. Victoria Manalo Draves Park became a laughter, joy, and connection hub.

Attendees enjoy the park, a puppet-making workshop by puppeteer Ramon Abad, food by Irma’s Pampanga, and a K-POP dance workshop led by Francesca Balagtas, co-founder of K-POP-UP.

We sincerely thank SF Urban Film Fest,[people.], SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District, and Kultivate Labs for their invaluable collaboration in making this event a success. We are grateful for their dedication and support. We also thank the SOMA Community Collaborative, California Humanities, and the City of San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development for their generous contributions. Special acknowledgments go to the City and County of San Francisco's Department of Recreation and Parks for their invaluable assistance throughout the planning and execution of this unforgettable day.

Our Place in the Park was a testament to the power of community engagement and resilience. Thank you all for joining us!

Photos by Joseph Smooke.