200 - Manny’s: A Civic Gathering Place

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As elections loom, we need to get involved, step up to the civic plate, take part in discourse. And that’s what Manny Yekutiel has been driven to do since 2018. He’s created a community-focused meeting place in San Francisco — a gathering space for people to watch presidential debates, meet people working on the front lines of social change, and discuss issues with policy makers in person. From community forums debating the new trash can designs in San Francisco, to town hall meetings with political candidates for the Senate and the Presidency, Manny’s is place to commune, listen, and be heard.

They’ve got a restaurant — Farming Hope, a non-profit that hires formerly homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals and trains them in the food skills needed to work in the restaurant industry. They’ve got a bookstore specializing in local history and politics — with no pressure to buy books.

During the pandemic when every restaurant in town was building parklets on the street, Manny’s built a long string of outdoor booths, where instead of serving food, they ran a highly organized ‘Get Out the Vote’ campaign with citizens flocking to their parklet to text and phone bank for the 2020 Election.

As church basements and social clubs fade as places where young people feel comfortable gathering, Manny has created a place — not home, not work — but a ‘third place’ where people can come together to meet and engage with civic leaders, elected officials, artists, and activists.

Thanks to Precious Green and to the staff of Farming Hope. Thanks also to Valerie Velardi who led us to Manny’s, and to Manny Yekutiel for the time and the vision.

The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of the Radiotopia from PRX, a network of hand crafted, independent, vibrant podcasts that widen your world.

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