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One of the best ways to get a feel for the people and communities is to take advantage of one or more of this year’s local tours. No matter which adventure you decide to embark upon, there is one common denominator: the way to experience and learn about a city is to meet with, talk to, and learn from the people who live and work in the area.

The schedule of tours is provided below, with descriptions and capacity limits. Reservations are required and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Confirmations will be mailed prior to the Annual Meeting. If insufficient enrollment causes cancellation of a tour, fees will be refunded in full. Please see the ASA website for further details about reservations.

Chinatown Alleyways Tour
Saturday, August 14, 2:45 – 5:15 pm;
or Monday, August 16, 2:45-5:15 pm
Fee: $27

Leader: Reverend Norman Fong, community activist

Learn about the history and current issues facing the most famous Chinatown in the United States. The Chinatown Alleyway Tour takes you off the beaten path and leads you through the alleyways, history, and politics of this ethnic community. Hear about the diversity and lifestyles of the residents, community activist struggles, and local politics. Rev. Norman Fong, a long-time community activist and leader who grew up in the neighborhood, will lead the tour. Featured on local television stations and in theLA Times, this tour was voted Best Tour by the San Francisco Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly. Proceeds from the tour benefit the Chinatown Community Development Center, a nonprofit that has been working to improve the neighborhood for nearly 30 years.

This tour begins in Portsmouth Square in Chinatown. You may walk from the hotel with a tour guide to the start point or meet the tour leader in Portsmouth Square by a map that will be provided. (Walking Tour, limited to 40 participants per tour).

Transformation of San Francisco Walking Tour
Sunday, August 15, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Fee: $5

Leader: Richard Walker, University of California-Berkeley

The participants will look at the changes wrought in San Francisco over the last decade as a result of the boom and the bust, which hit the city like nowhere else. The tour will begin with the retail district and Union Square, then the massive makeover of the South of Market, starting with the Yerba Buena Center and then the dot-com world around Rincon Hill, and finishing with Mission Bay biotech fantasies. (Walking Tour, limited to 20 participants)

Victorian Home Walk Tour
Monday, August 16, 9:30 am – 12:00 noon
Fee: $22

Leader: Jay Gifford, Founder of Victorian Home Walk Tours

The Victorian Home Walk Tour offers insight on the City; its history and attractions in a casual, personal pace. Take a trip back to San Francisco’s rich Victorian past. Learn about the city’s trademark architecture, lifestyle, and history of that fascinating era. The streets in the best Victorian neighborhoods are too narrow for tour buses, and as a result most visitors miss these local treasures. The walk is easy, the pace leisurely, and there are no hills to climb. (Walking tour, limited to 40 participants)

Mission Trail Public Mural Walks
Monday, August 16, 9:30 am – 12:00 noon
Fee: $17

Leader: Jessica Fields, San Francisco State University

See the internationally famous murals of San Francisco’s Historic Mission District in the company of a professional muralist! The tour is given by experienced muralists and is preceded by a brief slide show on the history of murals, contemporary examples in SF, and the process of painting of mural art. Participants view over 75 murals in a 6-block walk! (BART/Walking tour, limited to 30 participants) *Fee includes BART pass.

Tour of Emeryville: Organizing for Fairness in Economic Development
Saturday, August 14, 3:00 – 7:00 pm
Fee: $35

Leader: Amaha Kassa, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy

This tour will explore the intersection between community organizing and economic development in an interactive, exploratory format. What implications do “smart growth” and “new regionalism” have for low-income communities of color? What are the emerging social policies that attempt to stem displacement and make urban development more equitable? And what role are institutions such as labor unions, social service providers and churches playing in these battles? The tour will focus on the City of Emeryville, an East Bay “City of Industry” that has experienced phenomenal growth and development in the midst of a region suffering severe crises of low-wage poverty and economic inequality, and will draw upon the research report Behind the Boomtown: Growth and Urban Redevelopment in Emeryville (available for download at Approximately half the session will be spent on a driving tour of Emeryville, while the other half will be spent in a facilitated discussion and Q&A.

The host organization, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), brings together labor, community and faith-based organizations and leaders to end low-wage poverty and create economic equity in the San Francisco East Bay region. EBASE supports research, policy development, coalition building, and leadership development on issues impacting the low-wage workforce. (Bus tour, limited to 35 participants)

Tour of San Quentin State Prison
Monday, August 16, 8:00 am – 12:15 pm
Fee: $30

Leader: Barbara Bloom, Professor of Criminal Justice Administration, Sonoma State University, and Vernell Crittendon, San Quentin Public Information Officer

San Quentin is California’s oldest and best-known correctional institution. The prison today includes a reception center for new commitments, a parole violator unit, general population units, and a minimum-security work crew unit. The state’s only gas chamber and death row for all male condemned inmates are located at San Quentin. This tour takes participants into the San Quentin to hear the historical perspective as well as learn the current operation of the facility. Participants will see different areas of the prison as well as the execution area.

Participants must be cleared prior to entering the prison facilities. In order to apply for security clearance, tour attendees will be asked to send identification information (full name, driver’s license number and state of issue, date of birth, and social security number) to ASA. Due to the requirement for advance security clearance, attendees must preregister for this tour by July 1. (Bus tour, limited to 40 participants)