tv Government Access Programming SFGTV September 29, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
honorees for today are still outside of the chamber. so if you wouldn't mind allowing some of those honorees to come in first and then we'll bring you back in when the appeal happens, that would be wonderful. with that, i will call up supervisor brown from district 5. >> supervisor brown: thank you. i have two honorees today and you will soon find out why. come on up. in celebration of latinx history month, i'm proud to be able to recognize alejandro rodriguez and gonzalez guzman. i'm recognizing them together because after reaching out to the owners and staff at nopa and nopalita restaurant group it was clear that there was no way to honor just one of them they're the heart and soul of this family. let me make it very clear, i'm not honoring them today to get a table at nopa.
[laughter] it's very hard to get to. i especially love the response from their co-worker, alex, "restaurants are incredibly powerful places and for those that work in them, they can become so much more than a job." nopa and nopalita go beyond this. the bonds between them are deep and lasting. alexander rodriguez, they call you al -- he's been there for a decade. he has been incredible. from a casual visitor in the kitchen, marcella and his girlfriend and now wife, was part of the opening team. he has grown to be the chef de cuisine at nopa and widely held
to be one of the best chefs in san francisco. [applause] yes. alexander's known as a mentor to a long line of cooks and their love for him is real. that's probably because he teaches them not only how to feed a dining room but a community. here's just one sweet note from one of his colleagues, sara. "alejandro is the heartbeat of nopa. he works more hours than anyone else in that building and yet wears the biggest smile on his face most often. a hug from him can cure anyone's bad day. his excitement about food is containing and everyone around him is excited about it, too. he's an extraordinary human being that exudes warmth, love and passion. thank you, al, for your service and commitment to the district 5 and community beyond." there you are. gonzalo arrived in san francisco
from vera cruz, mexico, with one dream -- to provide for his family back home. unable to speak english, gonzalo worked numerous jobs until he found a new extended family at nopa. over the course of 10 years, gonzalo has moved up in the kitchen ranks. so impressed the owner/chef that he was invited to open his own restaurant, nopalita. gonzalo always shows up for his co-workers, from that never-ending grind of chopping an onion or how to sign up for esl classes or pay taxes correctly or where to access good legal advise. this year, he was honored with the james beard foundation for his inspirational new book.
i'm sure i will be doing a lot of cooking from this in the next year. i have that kind of time. it's been a long journey, yet gonzalo has never forgotten where he came from. he draws culinary inspiration from recipes that his mother used to make and never forgetting his first pot of beans that he made when he was 6 years old. that kind of gets me. a beloved and respected member of the community, gonzalo is a role model of not only to work hard, but do well, creep eighting attention to detail and work ethic. gonzalo embodies the excellence of the role model to our city. thank you for your service and commitment to our community and beyond. thank you. [applause]
thank you very much for this. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> i believe we have an interpreter here. i don't know if you want to translate that. >> interpretor: i can try -- >> there is someone that is here that can help with that. >> he will do it in english. [cheers and applause] >> all i basically said is that what i'm getting today should be for the latinos, all the community, that work really hard and go through a lot of stuff that most of us don't know and it's really hard to say it to
anyone. we come here to work hard and maybe we want to go to school because we don't have that opportunity because we need to make money to support our families and so that's all i said. it's for all the latinos, not just for me, because i feel like we do the same thing, but i got lucky today. thank you. >> supervisor brown: thank you so much. [cheers and applause] [laughter] >> supervisor tang: thank you. congratulations. [applause] next we'll call up supervisor fewer from district 1.
>> supervisor fewer: thank you very much, supervisor tang. i would like to call up to the podium tony ortiz. [applause] colleagues, it's my pleasure to honor richmond district native tony ortiz today as we celebrate latinx heritage month. tony was born and raised in the richmond district and like me and my family a washington high school alum. tony also graduated from the university of san francisco with a degree in sociology. while at u.s.f., tony was part of the latino unitos, collaboration of students that came together to raise awareness around the latino culture and social issues he's the membership coordinator at the richmond district ymca where he engaging with members from the community about services offered by the y, always with warmth, always with a smile. tony is on the leadership team of the latino leadership group at the san francisco ymca, which brings the y closer to latinx
closure by engaging with after school programs, events and more i've always known tony to be a selfless person that loves our neighborhood and always puts community first. he embodies the stirrist one richmond, where we're inclusive and take care of the richmond and shop and eat locally. tony is a great supporter of community events and when i'm with him, i'm impressed with all that know him. he seems to know almost everyone in the richmond district and volunteers his time at the richmond senior center, occasionally serving up the buffalo dinner celebrating his native-american roots, too. it is people like tony that are the backbones of our neighborhoods and our community. they bring us together, celebrate who we are, and give of themselves every day to serve others. i am honored to recognize our
latinx leader of the richmond district, mr. tony ortiz. [cheers and applause] >> it's an honor to be here today. thank you very much for being honored here, supervisor fewer. i just -- it was great to have the drumming earlier. it actually was an opportunity for me to really get centered. i appreciate my ancestors. if it wasn't for my ancestors, i would not be here today. my journey began when my grandmothe grandmothe grandmother, cecelia, came here from new mexico. my great-grandfather grew corn. he was born in 1860 and passed in 1970. he grew corn until he was 109 years old and grew corn -- 1/2 acre of corn. i think of the 1930s, the
latinos coming to san francisco at the time. she came here and raised 10 children. she came here to have a new opportunity and build a culture and community in the latino communities and i'm really proud of being part of that, part of the stories that she shared with me with my cousins, my relatives, and also the fact that she would go ahead and grind corn, tell stories, but another thing is, we also had our easter egg hunts and we had that at st. mary's park. and we had all the community come together. we had all the latino kids, kids from all nationalities and having the easter egg. the egg is symbolism of new life, new generations here in san francisco that continues on to today. i look at the different folks that come through all the
different communities in san francisco and i especially look at the ymca as platform, part of at the richmond district y, with the leadership team. i'm also part of the land x employee resource group in san francisco, where collectively, we touch all touch points with everybody within our communities from the young to the old, from whatever background, socioeconomic background they come from, but we serve all together with a commonality to serve those that are underserved or those that need to be served. i'm also proud of the -- being part of the university of san francisco. one of the things, too, you think about equity. equity in education. equity to have up ward mobility and upward mobility to have education. in 2000, u.s.f. had 700 latino
graduates. in 2017, we have 2,300 graduates. as we continue the process toward education. and i like to end with this. we're better together with community, we're better together having respect for one another, and we're better together for providing love and empathy for those that are around us. so thank you very much. oh, by the way, we have latino gathering coming up october 10, with drumming, bring the community together, let's come together as a community for the y and lets celebrate as we continue the rich culture of latino and latina legacies that we have here. thank you very much for letting me be here and i'm really proud of being part of san francisco,
being born and raised here. thank you very much for your support. [applause] >> president cohen: congratulations, again, tony. [applause] thank you for the thoughtful presentation, supervisor fewer. the next person we're going to hear from is supervisor jane kim. supervisor kim? >> supervisor kim: i think we're still -- >> president cohen: trying to collect everyone?
>> supervisor kim: yes, members of our group are still outside. >> president cohen: would you like to be rereferred? >> supervisor kim: some are inside. some are outside. >> president cohen: let's bring those that are in up. >> supervisor kim: if you are inside, come on up to the podium. can everyone come up to the podium, bobby lopez, elizabeth alexander.
>> supervisor kim: thank you. it's my honor. finally after 12 years in public service to finally honor this outstanding community organizing group. [cheers and applause] i do want to thank local blocal for the kickoff. i would love for you to come back every tuesday for the board meeting. what a wonderful way to begin the board of supervisors. i want it say this commendation is particularly meaningful for me. this is a group that i've worked with for 12 years since i served on the board of education. as many of you know and you've seen them come to budget committee hearings as well as many other policies that we advocated for was founded in 2005 to be a resource center for the latino community in the tenderloin neighborhood in particular our mexican, mayan
and central american communities. we talk a lot about the latino community in the mission. we have a sizable and growing latino community in the tenderloin neighborhood as well. at the time central city collaborative recognizing that need started this organization with bobby lopez and elizabeth alexander and started to outreach to parents, primarily moms throughout the tender loin. the focus was to organize and provide support services to low income, spanish-speaking immigrants, seeking housing assistant, immigration information and advocation, interpretation, public safety, support with public education, leadership and skill development. i first came to know this group when i served on the board of education and they invited me to a meeting. knowing that public safety is one of the critical issues in the neighborhood. a lot of people don't know this,
but the tenderloin has the highest density of families and children of any neighborhood in san francisco. and this off the up gets overlooked. the families realizing that they were not getting enough support from the city and from our police department decided that they would take matters into their own hands and working with central city s.r.o. along with other community-based organizations in 2008 started meeting on a weekly-monthly basis until they were able to launch a 100% neighborhood initiative safe passages program in the tenderloin neighborhood. [applause] it is one of my favorite programs and i can take no credit for it except that i try to fund it every single year, but it really was a neighborhood initiative program where the moms and our residents decided that they were going to take back our streets. so when you walk through the tenderloin neighborhood starting
at 12:45 p.m., you will see our residents out at the corners and intersections on the yellow brick road of the tenderloin making sure that as kids get out of school, where it's tenderloin, they're getting to afterschool programs or to their homes safely and with companionship. and also crossing our streets in the tenderloin, which tend to be our high-entry corridors where pedestrians are hit by cars to make sure that they're crossing those streets safely as well. the founding mothers, norma, margarita, magdelena, i know two are here, thank you for your tenacity and growing a generation of mothers taking back the tenderloin neighborhood. they've done so much work. they advocated for free meeting for youth, getting rid of bus shelters because we saw that drug activity was happening in
them. they were critical in reactivating the mini parking and playground where we've secured $3 million for the renovation of the playgrounds. we have a monthly activation program where parents come together to the playgrounds and now dedicated services that include afternoon tabling and the pit stop so that families feel safe using the playgrounds. they've been active on tenant rights, affordable housing, and increasing latino family access to housing and rent subsidy program access that we fought so hard for. we have free zumba classes every other wednesday. i look forward to seeing everyone here there. and a food pantry to the community.
and have begun women empowerment groups throughout the neighborhood. i just want to recognize the leadership of women in the tenderloin neighborhood and taking matters into your own hand. and i can say that there are very few neighborhoods that i've worked with that have taken on the initiative of making the neighborhood healthier, safer for all of our residents and i want to thank you for that work. so much of the work i was able to support in the tender loin came from the community. it did not sprout from our office or policy thinking. i've been happy to be a follower, supporter and cheerleader of your organization and all the incredibly fabulous ideas you've done to make this a better and stronger neighborhood for all of us. and so, i want to recognize the parents. i mentioned a couple and i want to recognize johanna ramirez, karina moda, gemma roses for
[ applause ] >> i will be translating for her. thank you, supervisor kim, for this recognition during latinx history month. i would also like to thank the board of supervisors for the latino community. la voz latina came into existence in 2005 when a new wave of latinos came into the more affordable tenderloin district. what began as a outreach program later transformed into the tenderloin's only resource for the latino community living there. la voz has expanded in so many ways over the years, that we expect this to continue in order to ensure we continue to support low-income individuals and families, men and women of color, youth, and lgbtq
community. as a current community leader for la voz latina, i am honored to receive this commendation on behalf of other community leaders, former leaders who helped shape la voz, and staff, all whom are present here today. i am johanna ramirez, and proud to say that la voz latina feels like family to me and many other people in the tenderloin. thank you. [ applause ]
>> congratulations. thank you very much. up next is supervisor rafael mandelman. >> supervisor mandelman: margaret, come on up. first of all, i do want to thank supervisor ronen and carolina morales for having us do this fantastic thing, which absolutely should become an annual tradition, and i'm looking forward to that. it's been wonderful learning about some of the honorees this afternoon. so it is my great honor to represent district 8 residents and my latinx heritage month
honoree, margaret gomez. she's known for her work in solo performance and stand-up comedy and being one of the first lesbian performers in the nation. i'm so pleased to recognize marga, a resident of district 8 for the past 30 years, for this commendation. her work has been described as "deliciously cheeky and incendiary" by "new york times" and surreal. she's been called the lesbian lenny bruce. she got her start at the legendary valencia rose, where she cut her comedy teeth alongside whoopi goldberg and tom arnold, whose comedic wit is well known to those in this chamber. we reached out to other comedians, including my friend nato green, to ask for his thoughts about you, and nato observed how important it is to
remember how unique marga's path really was. she was openly queer at a time it was not widely accepted, and many comics who have become lgbt icons started out, made a name for themselves, and then came out. that wasn't the case for marga. she was out and proud from the very start, and that in and of itself is deserving great praise, not least for the path she paved for others who came afterwards. her list of accolades and accomplishments include a g.l.a.d. award and l.a. ovation award. her solo plays have been played at the public theater, whitney museum, and internationally at london's ica and edinburg french. her stand-up appearances include comedy central's "out there" and hbo's "comic release." she is one of the funniest and most acclaimed comedians in our city, or anywhere for that matter, but what makes her so
special is how she mentors our next generation of performers, teaching solo performance in classrooms and online and is a tenured artist and resident at bravo theater. as a writer and performer of 11 solo plays, which have been presented off broadway and international, her most recent show focuses on the story of her father, a cuban immigrant and comedian in his own time. since the 2017 off broadway premiere, it's been presented in los angeles, cambridge, tucson, san jose, and chicago and in san francisco, and comes back to the bay in october at the berkeley marsh, and everyone should go see it. so, marga, thank you for sharing your many creative talent and paving a path for queer artists and people of color in our city and for making san francisco so much more awesome for you being here. [ applause ] >> thank you. it's such an honor to be here.
what do you folks -- you're not supervisors, are you? are you the press? anyways, i'll figure that out later. i'll google it. it's an honor to be here. most cherished supervisors, most beloved supervisor-president, you people, and all of you waiting for me to stop talking. i just wanted to say that this is actually my first latinx heritage celebration event that i'm speaking at. yes, it is. [ applause ] i have performed at many hispanic heritage events, and i always had this joke that i would do, where i'd say, yes,
i'm proud to be a hispanic, my parents were also hispanic. they came from the old country, hispanica, which was a little island in the caribbean next to caucasia, but now we've gotten, you know, we've moved forward to latinx, and i'm so glad that we have this time in this special city to acknowledge the latino community in this climate, because, of course, we are one of the populations that is being scapegoated in the national conversation. this has been for many years. i remember watching this program, it was years ago, it was a talk show, and it was about racists and their children. they breed, and one of the
racists actually said this on tv. he said, "well, i think all the puerto ricans should go back to mexico." which i was excited about, because i wanted to go to mexico, and i am half puerto rican and half cuban, and this was very common. my parents met in new york, and back then there was an expression [ speaking spanish ] you're all too young to know that expression, but it was an expression then. maybe you've seen that bird fly. without ever getting anywhere. so i'm not a native san franciscan, but i have lived here for actually 40 years, and i'm only saying 40, because we're on sfgov tv, and nobody will see it. so i have lived here for 40 years, and i have lived in the
castro district. my parents were not pleased when they found out that i'm gay, and so i moved to san francisco from new york. it was very common. you know, people go, gee, must have been hard coming out to your parents. i want to say, no, latino parents aren't more homophobic, they are uniquely homophobic, and in dealing with their gay child, they'll draw upon their time-honored traditions, like the inquisition, so i came to san francisco, and i didn't know anything. i didn't know anywhere. i was 20. i hadn't finished college. i just came here, and because, you know, i just thought it was wild, and it was. it was -- remember when san francisco was wild? yeah. okay. and the first place i went to in san francisco was district 8. we didn't call it district 8, we called it the castro, and i
wanted to go there. i saw it on the map, and i didn't know. all i knew about it was castro, that must be where the cubans are. true story. and i went to a place on castro street to get some cuban food. it was called the castro cafe, and just as i arrived, they were throwing a bearded gentleman out of there who was wearing a beautiful red dress. they were throwing him right out on the sidewalk, and i'd never seen a man in a dress before, and i thought, wow, that's unusual, and now it's my preference. i'm going to keep my remarks short, but i do think it's kind of weird that i'm here with this group of people that protect san francisco and protect this
community in this very special, spiritual place to me, and my building, my rent-control building, is on the market. and it's been on the market for a few months, and so i'm here today, and at the same time there's a realtor tour of my building. because it's been many, many months. my building isn't selling, because there's a problem with my building. it's me. i'm the problem in my building, because realtors don't like it when you open your door wearing a "v for vendetta" mask, and they've actually lowered the going price on my building, this is true, i'm offended. what, my building is not good enough to evict me from? and next they are going to put it on groupon i hear. i wanted to just -- because if
you could -- camera person could get in close here on this flyer, i am really excited about being on sfgov.tv. there's my agent. you know, a lot of people say to me after shows, they say, i wish you'd get on hbo, marga, i wish you'd get on netflix, because they support me, but they don't understand i love what i do. sure, money would be great, but i feel like i've been a live performer in the gay and latino and progressive community in san francisco and all the family of our community throughout the country, and there's nothing better than being a live performer. and i'm doing this show, "latin standards," at the marsh in berkeley. no more drinks. no more drinks.
and it's the 12th solo show, and it is a show about my father, who was cuban, and also about the mission in san francisco. and a gay latino drag club that i started a hipster comedy night in, so it's a funny show, and it's about the mission in san francisco. and it's about a time in the mission when mariachis and lesbians roamed free. so i hope you'll check it out. thank you very much for this honor, and thank you very much for having this event. i look forward to seeing it year after year on sfgov.tv. [ cheers and applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, that was marga gomez. congratulations.
>> supervisor mandelman: all right, marga is a tough act to follow. >> it's marga with an "a" at the end, but thank you. >> supervisor mandelman: thank you, ms. gomez, but the gentleman that i have the honor and privilege of honoring today actually has a pretty good dry sense of humor himself, we'll see how he does when he gets up here. he's somebody i've worked alongside for many, many years, and that is central station officer mark alfarez, who's been serving the people of san francisco as a police officer for 29 years. come on up, mark, and is a north beach institution, and i say truly, because we were having conversations in this chamber about 15 years ago about
community policing, and mark really is the embodiment of community policing. he was born in detroit to lola and guillermo alvarez, who immigrated from san luis in mexico, and his family moved to california in 1971 as his father served in the navy and always wanted to return to the west coast. officer alvarez, or alvarez, as he's known throughout north beach, went to st. charles and the mission, then everett junior high, lowell, then to city college, all of which informed his love for san francisco, and its mottly cast of characters -- motley cast of characters, and he knows every one in north beach. his first job was at the ripe age of 12, sounds like child exploitation to me. but that began his lifelong love affair with reading, and it's
not often that you can actually find a cop on his day off dressed just like you see mark there w his cowboy boots on sitting in the cafe reading james joyce's "ulysses," i kid you not. he's always been a music aficionado and went to work in the various punk rock and music clubs, starting at the fabled mabuya in north beach and later in the dna lounge and oasis in the '80s, all the background that you need to join the san francisco police department, which he did in 1990, when he entered the police academy as a member of the recruit class number 166. he served at mission station, at engleside station, and for as long as anybody can remember at central station q2 for life, mark alvarez. he worked a radio car for eight
years on the midnights, and got to know a lot of folks, and he then was the partner of the fabled foot beat, the late great john brandt, who recommended that he inherited that beat, which he has now been doing for the last 21 years. and if you want the definition of community policing, there are more people in the neighborhood who have mark's cell phone number than have mine. "the san francisco chronicle" did a really, i think, lovely piece about alvarez on the beat about a decade ago, 2007, and i just want to read an excerpt from it. "the beat cops like alvarez get to know the regulars quickly and relationship forms. some of these people -- this is alvarez talking -- some of these people we're the only friend they have. christmastime especially they'll come to the station, see how
we're doing, just for some contact, even if we've arrested them time and time again, they still want to feel that connection. up on columbus avenue he comes upon another regular, it's roy motinni. he is an older -- yes, there are some of us who remember roy, who was a classic north beach character, who got kicked out of public housing and ended up in a squalid s.r.o. hotel on broadway, and i won't read the rest of the article, but officer alvarez took incredible care of him and all sorts of other people in the neighborhood, and when roy passed away two years ago, alvarez led a community celebration, where we shut down broadway with a brass marching band and plenty of community testimonials about roy. i have a lot -- i have a pile of stories i could tell. the statute of limitations hasn't run on all of them, but
mark, if you want to talk about how to de-escalate a situation, officer alvarez knows how to de-escalate better than anybody, just because of his connections and his demeanor, and in a couple of instances, one in particular, his ability to do what he does every day actually was the difference between life and death of a neighborhood regular, who was at his wit's end. had it been any other law enforcement officer, that individual would be dead today. so, i want to recognize that being a cop is not always the first career choice for young people growing up in san francisco these days, but mark alvarez is an example to so many young latinos that you can go to city college, get a good education, and go on to serve the community with pride and compassion, and i think it's really important to recognize we need more people of color from the community in every area of public service, including our police force.
and we need more examples like officer alvarez, who i know inspired his oldest sister's son, francisco rodriguez, and his sister is here. and officer rodriguez is here. good to see you. [ applause ] and i think i lost officer rodriguez to the engleside, so -- but it's good to see you, officer, and i'm going to turn it over to you, mark, but i did get you this little cactus, because it's prickly on the outside, soft on the inside, and half healing, so it seemed like a good fit. plus i figured doesn't require a lot of watering, so you probably won't kill it. [ applause ] >> i want to address the folks in the audience, because these people are well known, and i'm not as well known as they are, and i'm here to serve everybody in the room, as all the ladies
and men in blue do every day. it's true, my father also served in the united states navy, and was an immigrant from mexico. my mother is a daughter of immigrants from poland and lebanon. my girlfriend is here. her father is an immigrant from iran, and her mother is an immigrant from texas. i'm tearing up. i've been doing this for 29 years, serving the citizens of san francisco, and it's been a great ride. i'm probably going to retire next year. jack hart, captain jack hart over there, is one of the guys that's going to keep carrying the torch after i go. as will my nephew. i just met lieutenant pagano, who i've never met before, and i want you to know that the men and women of the san francisco police department do very good work. i get complimented every day on
my approachability by tourists from all over the world. i've had italians, french, greeks, chinese, that say you would never talk to a policeman where they come from, which to me is amazing, because i've always made it my business to engage everybody and try to be fair to everybody. and you can learn -- everybody is an example, even the bad guys. the bad guys are an example of what not to do, so i try not to demean anybody. i try to hold everybody to a -- to treat them with respect. and that's all anybody asks. and i don't have much more to say. thanks, aaron, for recognizing me, and thank the board of supervisors, as well, city of san francisco, great state of california, and the great united states of america. thank you. [ applause ]
going to start with supervisor norman yee, who asked me to do his in his absence. luis pasea, outside? went to the restroom. okay, we'll get back to him. going to have to wait now. we have a titan in san francisco we're going to honor today, and i mean that from the bottom of my heart. i have such a great honor today to honor someone that i like to call a friend, a mentor, and has been a long, long-time neighborhood leader, someone that has been leading out in my district essentially from the time that i was born. mary aguilar savilla harris, it's my honor to recommend today. she's a graduate of lincoln high. in 1974, and this is where a lot of her community advocacy began, she married her life partner,
another person that i like to call a friend, al harris. and they moved to the lake view neighborhood of san francisco, where they raised four children and are proud grandparents of nine. she shares her birthday with baby julian born july 31st. let me start with this, mary is a proud member and graduate of coleman advocates. a lot of coleman advocate supporters in the house. in 1992 she worked with the community in the police station to rebuild trust at the height of the crack epidemic in the lake view and took back the broad randolph corridor with neighbors and the police department, and they identified and established one of the first substations in the neighborhood. she serves on the citizens advisory committee in the blue handle of the san francisco police department. she's a past president of jose
ortega elementary school, where they advocated and won that school to be included in the school bond, and those of you who know jose ortega, it's one of the nicest schools in the school district. rebuilt on a beautiful hill overlooking the ocean. she was instrumental in advocating for and working with people the trail blazers before her in the neighborhood, mini and lovie, and those were their names, mini and lovie ward. that's what the rec center is named for, transforming, again, part of the neighborhood that was overrun with crime, illegal activity and drugs and violence. and that has now transformed into one of the most beautiful clubhouses and playing fields in the entire rec and park facility all over san francisco. children and families come from all over the city to partake in that, and we're very proud in that in district 11. she founded the first and only
beacon, providing services to families and their children for decades. the beacon was the model used by the san francisco unified school district to establish community schools programs, and she serves as an executive director of that program and has in the past. she worked with mayor willy brown in the beginning of his administration and was able to rebuild the oceanview library. she stayed in his face and many of you who know mayor brown, once he makes a commitment, and if you're tenacious enough to get his word, he handed his word to her, and they rebuilt that library, and mary can now take single-handed credit for that. i can go on and on. and the next person that we're going to honor, luiz, that serves on the ocean avenue association and revitalization project, mary was one of the founders of that, laid the groundwork for that, and now we have a cbd along ocean avenue
that's helped transform that neighborhood and that commercial corridor. she's a member and a founder of the friends of the geneva carborn and power house working to get funding to revitalize one of the only historic sites in district 11, which now has been received about half of the funding, and work has begun, and we're going to do a ribbon cutting in the coming spring for what we believe will be one of the premier performing arts and cultural spaces for young adults in san francisco. she is a member, and when i say she is tireless, and i have to say, i am lucky i never had to run against mary harris for office, because she is everywhere, knows everybody, is on top of every issue, and is a member of every single association and group and activity in district 11. and that is no exaggeration. she's a member of the new mission terrace improvement
association. she's a member of the police station toy giveaway program. she's helped to establish the excelsior action group, the neighborhood empowerment program, the outer mission improvement association, the improvement association, the excelsior improvement association, a former president and lifetime honoree of the district 11 democratic club. it goes on and on and on and on. and i just want to say, it's truly an honor to honor my friend today and someone i like to call a mentor. and by the way, it took 14 years to earn her support, and i mean that, 14 years, but once i earned it, i know it's there for life. mary harris. mary aguilar harris. >> thank you.
thank you so much for the honor, supervisor safai. there's a few corrections. i never was a president of ortega. it was my school in the sunset, francis scott key, and a ten-year school volunteer, and i never was on the advisory board of the beacon, but most everything you said was accurate. and i am humbled, very humbled, to be in the company of the other honorees today, and i can hardly look at all my friends and family that have come to join me today, because i'm afraid i'm going to cry. thank you so much for coming, sharing this moment with me today. i would like to accept this honor in the name of my parents, antonio and carmen aguilar, who came here in the 1920s. my father came first to los angeles and then to san
francisco, fortunately, so he could meet my mother. my mother came in the '20s also when her father died when she was 12, her mother had already passed when she was 2 years old. she came here to live with her siblings, who already had come to san francisco and were working and had homes here, so they finished raising her. she came not speaking english. she arrived by a ship and was supposed to be processed at angel island. however, being the name of savilla, they never got to her that friday. they went in alphabetical order, so she was then detained at 12 years old, not speaking english, never knowing if she was going to get out of jail or not. monday morning she was released and finished being processed. she then went to school, she had a very hard time not knowing
english, being called wet back and spick and other derogatory names, but she got through it, she got a job, and married my father. she went to beautician school, as they called it then, so that she could work and live where we had a home in the valley and they had a beauty shop down below, so when we came home as kids from school, she was there and we could say hello to her patrons and let her know we were home safely and go do our homework. my parents -- my father was a union man, very strong union man, a shop steward. i remember going to church with him one day and i said can we get some donuts after church, i'm hungry, daddy, and he said, no, there's a picket line and we do not cross picket lines. [ applause ]
that was my dad, and my mom worked into her 80s. first as a beautician, and then taking care of the elderly in her home. they always paid taxes, they always voted. they were very proud to be mexican, but also very proud to be americans. they moved from the valley when i was 5 to the sunset. i wasn't quite sure why that move happened, because there was nothing but sand dunes at the time, but i later came to love it because of the amenities there, skating rinks, play land, you name it, it was a wonderful place to grow up, and we had the home until 2010 when my mother passed, so i consider the sunset my first home and the omi my second home. my parents were very proud individuals. they never took any kind of government money or charity.
they believed in family first, and whenever any family member was out of a job, they took them in, or if they were ill, they took them in until they were well and could get back on their feet. so i take this honor in memory of them, and i thank -- i'm thankful that this city is a sanctuary city. i'm thankful to you supervisors for doing the right thing, and i hope you will continue to do so. i thank you very much. [ applause ]
>> oh, you did so good. >> president cohen: thank you, supervisor safai, and congratulations ms. mary aguilar harris. [ applause ] next, supervisor safai is going to be presenting on behalf of supervisor yee, who's not with us today. are we ready to go? >> supervisor safai: okay, great. luis? >> president cohen: are they here? okay. he's coming down. >> supervisor safai: okay, great.
>> president cohen: next time, luis, sit in the front row, okay? >> supervisor safai: all righty. so, luis is a san francisco native. it's my honor to honor you on behalf of supervisor norman yee. he's dedicated his life work helping people who live, work, and attend school in the southern neighborhoods of san francisco. he was born at st. luke's hospital. st. luke's! all right! grew up in the engleside and excelsior districts. he met his future wife, monica. luis earned a degree in international business from san francisco state. and he and his high school sweetheart are raising their two children, mariano and gabrielle, in the same neighborhood where they were raised, the engleside. luis brought his experience working in