In Memory of Kirsten Brydum

CAMP, Clarion Alley, 2016

This mural is dedicated with love to community activist and dear friend to many Kirsten Brydum.




From the article by Steve Rubenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle, October 3, 2008:

To Kirsten Brydum, a passionate 25-year-old community activist from San Francisco, one person’s junk was another’s treasure.

Brydum, who wanted to change the world, certainly changed Dolores Park. Because of her, there is something called the Really, Really Free Market. People bring their rummage to the park on the last Saturday of the month and give it away. Nobody gets any money and everyone walks away a little richer. That was how she liked it.

She loved the freedom of far-flung travel and of cycling. On Saturday, while cycling after midnight in New Orleans after spending Friday evening in a dance club, she was shot in the head and killed in an apparent robbery, police said. Her killer remains at large.

For two days her body lay in the New Orleans morgue, unidentified. Her killer had apparently taken Brydum’s wallet, identification and bicycle. On Monday, Brydum’s parents, Steen and Mamie Brydum of Orange County, and her friends in San Francisco found out the news.

“She was a woman with a huge heart and a huge brain, compassionate and wise beyond her years,” said a friend, San Francisco lawyer Ben Rosenfeld.

Two months ago, Brydum left San Francisco to tour the United States, with an Amtrak train pass in her pocket, in search of what she liked to call “collective autonomy” – her term for strangers helping strangers for free.

In Manhattan, she spent a long time examining trash bins, marveling at the useable stuff that New Yorkers threw away. In St. Paul, Minn., she marched in protests outside the Republican National Convention. In Philadelphia, she visited an urban farm and talked to housing activists. A week ago, she got on a train to Louisiana.

“Right now I’m rolling into New Orleans,” she wrote last Thursday on her blog. “I really don’t know what to expect. An old friend of a new friend offered to pick me up from the station and get me to the house of another friend of a friend. The sun is setting on the bayou-licked lands and I am truly fortunate.”

That was the last any of her friends was to hear from her. Two days later, her body was found on a sidewalk in a tough section of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, about 3 miles northeast of the French Quarter.

Her friends, writing on a memorial Web site (, recalled her love of midnight canoe rides, constructive anarchy and a well-patched pair of jeans.

“She was totally committed to fixing things in the world that are wrong,” said her friend John Viola, “from little things, like making sure a lost baby squirrel was cared for by animal rescue, to giant things, like confronting capitalism.”