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Gordon Chin CDS Forum
Adriana Camarena 150 x 150
Adriana Speaking at CDS Forum
Rhodessa Jones

Speaker Bios

Adriana Camarena

Adriana Camarena is a Mexican from Mexico, complicated by an upbringing in the U.S., Uruguay, and Mexico.  She became a resident of the Mission District of San Francisco in 2008.

Since arriving in the Mission, Adriana began collecting tales of borders, line-crossings, and overlapping identities told by residents to provide a layered picture of this traditionally working class immigrant neighborhood in California. Class, gender, race, and ethnicity are explored in the context of old and new displacements through her multi-disciplinary storytelling project titled “Unsettlers: Migrants, Homies, and Mammas in the Mission District of San Francisco”. Contact:,

Gordon Chin

Gordon Chin has been a San Francisco activist for nearly half a century. He retired in 2011 as Executive Director of the Chinatown Community Development Center, an organization which has been in the forefront of community organizing, neighborhood advocacy and affordable housing development in San Francisco.

Gordon Chin was born in San Francisco on February 11, 1948. He attended Merritt Junior College and San Francisco State University. He has served on the boards of the Center for Community Change, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Commission, He is currently working on a book of memoirs entitled “Building Community, Chinatown Style”.

Rhodessa Jones

Rhodessa Jones is Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco performance company Cultural Odyssey. She is an actress, teacher, and writer. Ms. Jones is also the Director of the Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, which is a performance workshop  designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated and HIV positive women. On May 16, 2014 Rhodessa was the Keynote Speaker for the Graduation Commencement for the Department of Performance Studies, UC Berkeley. During Spring 2014 she was the Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence at the University of Wisconsin. Beginning in 2015 Rhodessa will be a Visiting Professor at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California.

The Medea Project

The Medea Project is a production of Cultural Odyssey, which continues to develop original productions that demonstrate their vision of "ARTS AS SOCIAL ACTIVISM". In 1989, on the basis of material developed while conducting classes at the San Francisco County Jail, Rhodessa Jones created "Big Butt Girls, Hard Headed Women", a performance piece based on the lives of the incarcerated women she encountered. During the work's creation, Jones and jail officials were made aware of issues that were specific to female inmates, such as guilt, depression, and self-loathing, which arose in response to feelings of failure in the face of community. These issues directly contribute to recidivism among female offenders. Based on this observation, Jones founded THE MEDEA PROJECT: THEATER FOR INCARCERATED WOMEN to explore whether an arts-based approach could help reduce the numbers of women returning to jail.


Talk details


Gordon Chin will share his observations about the current housing and affordability crisis in San Francisco, drawing parallels with displacement struggles in SF history, including the International Hotel, urban renewal, and other high-profile housing displacement in the 1980's and 1990's. He will draw from his experiences in Chinatown, but also citywide issues with community organizations working in coalitions, pushing progressive housing and land use policies, and legislative campaigns.

I believe in performance as “public communion” that involves taking the stories of women from the edge and placing them center stage to tell herstories. I will address this and other issues in the context of my ongoing work inside the prison industrial complex in America and South Africa as well as my present work with women who are HIV positive.

The Medea Project