tv Government Access Programming SFGTV February 26, 2019 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
black futures celebration. >> thank you. today we will be commemorating black futures month. with special commendations from each of our districts. i will now turn it over to supervisor walton to make opening remarks. >> thank you so much, president he. as you all know, it is black history month, and we wanted to make sure that as we honor history, we also honor the future, and the legacy of some of our young people moving forward, and i am glad that the city of san francisco recognizes the contributions of african-americans in the city, in district ten, we like to celebrate black history all year, and with the declining african-american population, it is important that we take the time to recognize the contributions of our african-american communities through their culture, art, and
social justice and advocacy work. just a brief history. as a harvard trained historian, carter g. woodson believed that truth could not be denied, and that reason would prevail over prejudice. he hoped to raise awareness of african-americans' contributions to civilization and it was realized when he and the organization he founded, the association for the study of negro life, and history, conceived in -- conceived and announced negro history week in 1985. by the time of his death, negro history week had become a central part of african-american life and a substantial -- and substantial progress had been made in bringing more americans to appreciate the celebration. at mid century, the mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting negro
history week. the celebration was expanded to a month in 1976. the nation bicentennial, gerald r. ford urged americans to seize the opportunity to honor that too often neglected accomplishments of black americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history. that year, 50 years after the first celebration, the association helps the first african-american history month, and now, at this time, i would like to call up a 20-year-old native that was raised both in the western tradition in the bayview. she is a poet, a policymaker, a community integration specialist who studies communications at san francisco state university. >> thank you. hello.
i will be sharing some work with you today. i was given the title of what does a black future look like? as a leader of that, allow me to explain. the black future is full of liberations. in fact, it is poetic justice. the 53 trillion from slavery before the emancipation won't even discuss us. in god we trust. the black future looks like the incarceration of bryant don ham, and the reinvestigation of the death of emmett fill. looks like black beauty would seem surreal. no words or need to kill, it looks like more graduations, and less funerals. nappy hair in cubicles and black girls doing their own hair and
cuticles out of their own shops where the staff look like them. the black future will remember sandra bland, mario woods, oscar grant, eating rice as we hope they don't choke while screaming, i can't breathe. gardner, taste the rainbow of my sorrow as we regurgitate the name, trave on martin, as we make our way to her grandma's house after dark only to be made into coroner art. stephan clark, planted deeper than roots, and here it is, we have our hands up and you still shoot. the black future will begin with the book of revelations, and at the hands of a black scribe. the black future will even look mexican too to let him know that even he has african roots.
the black future looks like nine consecutive black presidencies, and the tenth being albino who will roar that he is black too, you see. the black future is tougher than hair glue on $400 frontal his. nicer than edges, lay for friday nights, and stretch marks that lead to a road of heaven. the black future looks like me. skin is sun-kissed and alive, thriving and healthy, undisputed, deeply-rooted and so groundbreaking that gravity even has a new way to hold us down. the black future looks like the imminent incarceration. and the funny thing is, the black future starts here in this nation. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. now to kick this thing off, i will start with my future honouree. this is a young man who i have had the pleasure to watch grow over the last couple of years. he is someone who has really stepped up and taken leadership in so many different ways. living in the public housing community, undergoing lots of change, in his district and his area. he has really stepped up in so many ways. as he walked up to the front, i want to say a few things about mr. gary, who is 17 years old, and he is a senior at city arts tech high school. [cheering] >> he serves on san francisco's my brother and sister's keeper youth council.
he is the chair of the council's health committee, he is employed as a hope s.f. champion, he is a youth leader and advisor for hope s.f. which is the nation charge a first large-scale public housing revitalization project to prioritize current residence, will also investing in high-quality sustainable housing and broadscale community development. more importantly, to know that he is an example to young people in his community. he is bold, he is courageous, he is not shy, he is not intimidated, and for that, i want to honor him. this afternoon in city hall. if you want to say a couple of words, you have a minute or so. >> hello, everyone. i am honored to be here with everyone. i am doing mostly just following in the steps of my grandma, and my mom.
seeing them work hard every day and doing things for the community, and giving their very last to make sure the communities okay, especially my grandmother, commissioner titus, seeing her every day work tirelessly for her community and the people she really loves. i appreciate her for giving me the pathway to do the same thing. she has been a great example all my life, and bobble -- also hope s.f. and others. i appreciate all organizers for giving me a chance to make a difference, because not a lot of youth have this opportunity. when i get a position to help other youth, i want to give people the same opportunity that i have. so thank you. [cheers and applause] >> we continue to dispel myths every day, all of our young black males are not out doing something negative. congratulations. [applause]
will keep an eye on your panel, your screen, i will tell you how many minutes you have. try to keep it within five minutes for yourself and your honouree to say a few things. we appreciate it. so, first up, alphabetical order would be who? supervisor brown. >> thank you, president year. today i am honoring four amazing women, community leaders. if you could come up, i am honoring sica garcia, jasmine thomas, sasha earl, and sala my hair. i wanted to honor these amazing young women because their
community -- they are community activists. a lot of times we don't think of community activists, young women, or young adults as community activists, but they are. a few years ago, i think it was in 2015, they stepped up, because they saw an area of their neighborhood, the buchanan mall, which is six blocks right smack in the western edition, that was violence plagued, it was surrounded by public housing, h.u.d. housing, and other housing, and no one used them all. six blocks of recreation and park. this area was closed and made a park in the seventies by mayor feinstein at the time. unfortunately, it was neglected. neglected by the city, by people that really should have been out there trying to make it a better place. it actually became very violent. people were afraid to walk through the mall, and so it was
six blocks of a neighborhood of recreation and park that no one actually used, which is really unfortunate because we have community centers that are right on the buchanan mall. we have alley he'll hatch, the cultural complex, and the buchanan ymca just a little ways away, and so these women stepped up, these young, amazing women, stepped up with another group and said, you know what, this is our home, this is our community, we will make it better. [please stand by]
who were the people that lived in the western addition and came up and made it the rich community that it is today? and right now, they are actually working on a bigger plan for buchanan mall. they are actually working with reckum park. they've said, and the city has said what can we do to make this a better place, where people want to walk there, where people want to ride their bikes?
and when i say buchanan mall, this is like going through the panhandle. can you imagine the panhandle if no one used it? this is what buchanan mall was like until these young women, and men, stepped up and said we're going to make a difference. this is our community. so today i honor you, because it's black future month, and this is our future. these are our community activists, they are our leaders, our next politicians standing here where we all are making decisions for community and the city. and so i want to thank you and honor you, and i'm going to give you a few words, because you have -- i don't know what time it is. but you have a few words and i'm going to give you the floor. >> thank you, supervisor brown. okay, so, hello, everyone. so i would like to accept the award that we're about to receive on behalf of jasmine,
sasha, and silo, who couldn't make it here today. i'm wittia, and we're part of the buchanan mall youth community leaders. so the buchanan mall you see today is a result of our footwork. we were talking to residents along the mall and we conducted the survey so that the mall could be representative of everyone who lives there. we, the youth, are the vessels, so we the youth are the vessels that carries the change that you wish to see, so the question that i had after the buchanan mall activation was, how could you build on your assumptions of what's best for the community if you aren't really out there? so this is why we're here. so an example of what -- we're an example of what it means to build the right way, all while being exposed to new experiences, such as collaborating on events, being a part of film productions and, like, preserving the fillmore history and uplifting the local and unsung heroes that are here.
[ applause ] >> president yee: next up will be supervisor haney. >> supervisor haney: thought i was after. first of all, thank you, president yee and thank you supervisor walton for putting together this celebration of black futures. i want to recognize everyone who's going to be honored today. i think this is a fantastic thing that we're doing, honoring the tremendous contributions of black leaders in our community, of black excellence, not just today, but moving forward.
i am going to be honoring one organization, but i also wanted to give a shout-out to the many black leaders in district 6, who contribute to our community in measurable ways. district 6 has a black population that is, and not everybody may know this, that is three or four times higher than the city average, and many of district 6 black residents have been unjustly displaced from other parts of san francisco. and i want to thank them for being able to lead our community in district 6 to become safer and affordable and a better place for everybody. when we talk about black futures and the future of children in our city, we must acknowledge the epidemic of displacement in our city and the history of antiblack policies in city planning and policing. these are issues that are further compacted for those community members who must navigate multiple layers of
oppression. black women, black trans women, formerly incarcerated black trans women face unimaginable hurdles in building lives for themselves here in san francisco. we see numbers like 21% of trans women having been incarcerated and among black trans women the number rises to an incredible 47%. as a comparison, the general population has an incarceration rate of 2.7%. additionally, california trans prisoners are 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted while in prison, likely for survival crimes like sex work and drugs. but it isn't exclusively relegated to the confines of prison. 2018 saw 20 trans women murdered across the nation, one of the murderers, bubbles, happened less than a mile from where we are sitting today, and of the remaining murders, nearly all of the victims were black trans women. in spite of all of these
hurdles, it is the resilience of spirit, the power of the activism, and specifically the labor of black trans women which has contributed so greatly to our collective liberation, and that is the work that i want to acknowledge today. it's work that is carried out every day, despite incredible obstacles. it's work that has deep history and legacy in our community. black trans women like marsha johnson and ms. major griffin gracie were on the front lines of stonewall and compton, so today, with that, i want to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that over the last 15 years, the transgender gender variant intersects justice has built the futures of trans people who come to san francisco looking to build a future. it started in 2004 by trans activists and lawyers tgijp, an organization led by black trans women continue to center the experiences of trans women of color and has been there to
provide legal services, peer-based advocacy services, support groups, case management, and job readiness training programs to all trans women exiting incarceration. the advocacy work has helped inform prison reform policies and initiatives across the state and changed the lives of countless individuals who have come through their doors seeking support. i want to thank tjijp for all their incredible important work. their executive director, janetta johnson, honey mahogany from my staff, and serenity and portia taylor for the work you do in our office. we're lucky to have you and have tgijp in our district. thank you. [ applause ]
>> hello, good afternoon, everyone. my name is serenity romero, and i'm here to represent tjijp. tjijp works to challenge and end the human rights abuse committed against transgender, genter variant, and intersex people, particularly against transgender women of color. in california prisons, jails, detention centers, and beyond. tgi justice project is celebrating the 15-year anniversary in 2019. the past 15 years we have been successfully providing leadership development, as well as legal and social support services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated trans people. this includes our highly successful re-entry program,
which i am a part of, providing housing support, employment, and re-entry services to formerly incarcerated trans people. in addition, we are working to support the leadership of black trans leaders to build a national movement fighting back against racism, criminalization, and transphobia. thank you. >> president yee: thank you. [ applause ] thank you. supervisor mandelman. >> supervisor mandelman: thank you, president yee. could i invite julius pikes prince to come up? with lyric staff. hi, julius. julius is a prep youth leader at
lyric, one of the first lgbtq centers located here in san francisco, where he's leading in the fight in hiv and aids epidemic. julius works to break barriers to access and destigmatize hiv and aids prevention. julius has led hiv prevention retreats and launches lyric's first-ever prep youth campaign, let's be real about it, which used ads around the city to raise the visibility of youth of color accessing prep. at age 20, julius is empowering queer youth of getting to zero efforts. we know african-americans make up a disproportionate number of hiv infections, while making up just 5% of san francisco's population in 2017, african-americans represented 17% of new infections. with julius and his peers leading the way, it's my hope we can reverse that alarming trend.
in addition to his advocacy as a lyric youth leader, julius is a proud city college student, majoring in fashion design. go rams. in the near future, he hopes to open his very own queer resource center for youth. he says harvey milk is one of his greatest inspirations and has shaped the leader that he is today. i'm sure that harvey would be proud of julius and the way he's continuing work that harvey started 40 years ago. i am proud to recognize julius today, and i want to thank his family, who's here in the chamber, i think, as well as jody schwartz, executive director at lyric, for working with my office on today's commendation, and now i would like to invite julius to say a few words. >> i just want to say thank you, all. y'all, i'm vibrant, i'm not boring. this has impacted me a lot, and it changed me to become the better leader i am today.
i feel like -- i feel like this is what i was put on earth to do, is lead this young generation and the hiv-free -- generation -- i'm so nervous, y'all. but, yes, i feel like, honestly, i'm doing what's right in the community. thank you, all. >> supervisor mandelman: thank you, julius. [ applause ] >> president yee: okay, next up,
supervisor mar. >> supervisor mar: thank you, supervisor yee, also thank you supervisor walton and percy birch and your staff for leading this accommodation of african-american youth and their voices. i want to keep my remarks short, because i want to give most of my time to the amazing honorees that i'll be talking about, but for black futures month, incredibly excited to commend the youth and young adults of a star records, which is a program of sunset youth services. sunset youth services provides young people communities for creative expression, healing, and leadership. upstart records honors the often-negligented accomplishments of youth of color, especially our black youth. you are amazing, resilient overcomers. you move the needle on society's expectations, and you are artists who speak truth to power. you are also a vital part of the
sunset community. thank you, desiree, deshaun, ruben, abdale, giovani, desmond, christie, anglo, also cofounder don stuckel for being here. lastly, i'm really excited to have dina rowe and des mac perform two short pieces entitled "dreams" and "don't shoot," so let's give them the floor. [ applause ] >> thank you. my name is kazina, known as dina, you already know, i'm with sunset youth services and i'm an artist here and we're performing a song for you guys called "dreams." a little bit about that song, my family and i, born and raised in san francisco, and growing up in the city was hard, especially with the gentrification, so my family and i became homeless, and through that hard time i wrote a song and inspiration for myself and for anybody going through a hard time, that if you're optimistic and if you
keep going, the hard times will push over and your dreams can come true. >> hello, my name is desmond mcroy from youngstown, ohio. i moved to the bay area to pursue music and launch an app with my brother. i started writing the song "dreams" around 2013, knowing one day i would perform this and pursue this. thank you. also a big thank you to sunset youth services and mr. mar. >> hope you guys like it. [ applause ] ♪ ♪
[ applause ] thank you guys so much! >> and one last thing, i just wanted to perform one verse off of my new album that i just released in january. it's called "don't shoot." i just want to be me. tired of seeing another dead man laid on the streets. we need to spread the peace, remember gandhi when he wouldn't eat? carrying heat, like the big three all for the same thing, trying to get a ring of the stripes, in and out like a cobra strike, that's a massive bite and when i write, i'm at peace. we need our own police, got people patrolling where they never beat. hands up and he still got struck, now there's puddles everywhere, puddles of blood
that is. that man can't even give his mother a hug again, they get paid leave. flowing, different emotions, wait until they hear this. hey, i'm stacking chips with my head to the ceiling. we going to have millions and make a killing. we going to give back to the children, so don't shoot. officer, please, don't shoot. don't shoot. officer, please don't shoot. we all on our grind. hey, what if it was you or somebody you knew? [ applause ] >> president yee: okay, next up is supervisor peskin. >> supervisor peskin: thank you, president yee. for black futures month i really wanted to highlight the grassroots leadership of residents who are reshaping the
future of public housing. yes, come on up, twanna, ms. granger. we all know that public housing has had a checkered history in san francisco, and i think many members of this body actually voted to remove justin herman's name from that plaza at the bottom of market street. twanna lives as we affectionately call them at the pings at chinatown on pacific, and she has really done incredible work in building community and in building a coalition across racial and cultural lines, so today, i would like to honor ms. twanna granger, who brings an energy and joy to her community work that we are here to celebrate. i will say, she is not, supervisor walton, a native san
franciscan. she hails from st. louis, missouri, but she is homegrown in as far as she grew up in the fillmore and lived -- >> since the age of 2. >> supervisor peskin: since the age of 2, and lived through the battle days of redevelopment. and despite growing up in a neighborhood that was tough, twanna faced it all down with zeal and perseverance, and she thrives at st. paul's catholic high school, where she was a member of the girl's athletic association, varsity basketball team, and served as vice president of the peace club. outside of school she volunteered at mt. zion hospital and at the golden gate chapter of the red cross, and ultimately after graduating from college, entered into a noble, honorable profession of nurse, where she is a registered nurse, and i can honestly say, that is a job that
suits ms. granger quite well, because she can make anybody feel at ease and carries her bedside manner in an incredibly beautiful way. she later found her calling in chinatown, as i previously said, and helped organize the ping u.n. tenants as a member of the ping u.n. residents improvement association, which we all in the neighborhood call pirea and she did that from the late 1990s until today, and she has done incredible work to bridge the divide between the african-american and chinese-american communities, and with that, thank you for being a role model, thank you for what you're doing for our neighborhood and community. you are the future, twanna granger, the floor is yours. >> thank you, and i love you, aaron. you are fabulous. as he said, i grew up in fillmore, like the other young ladies, but i moved here. my mom and dad moved here, and i
moved in fillmore on buchanan and mcallister in 1967. to this day, my mom's still there. i am the original buchanan mall kid. i can look out my window and see vergo's. i was there before the store vergo's was mentioned and got popular because of the trug drugs. i'm not going to go too much, because we don't have time, but i just have a speech, also, i'm a me too victim. i shared my story with my black history last week for the first time. this happened at -- when i was 18. i'll be 54 in may. and it took that and a lot of other women coming out sharing the story, and my story is very, very tragic. but to move on, community to me
is understanding experience and common problems, the common letdowns, the goal, the gang, the love, the support to someone else. me and mayor london breed grew up one block from each other, both enduring the community at the toughest times. in her community, i supported her, voted for her, because community is family, and once we get this about each other, greatness, like never before can happen. i have a speech. being a black woman, i wrote this, everything i'm saying is originally from me. being a black woman is hard as hard can be. knowing that your men don't respect you and love us like
they used to, like when we were in slavery. the world and the government don't respect me either. at times, my kids don't either, too. how do i -- how do you think being soft and weak that our race is still here without us being there and being what we've been? saying we're bitter and angry and mean, but no, look and feel what a black woman so has endured and reach, but still in all, we're still here, for jesus is the one for me. i wish everyone can just, for one month, walk the shoes of a black woman. the responsibilities, the demands, the problems, the pains, the letdowns, and the games, but through it all, we're mother earth. we're the first, and we're going to be the last to walk this earth. thank you for spirituality, because it keeps me focused. because without it, we're still
slaves to this world that's trying to destroy us. [ applause ] this is my poem, it says "what am i." when i look into the mirror, what do i see? do i see race, sexuality, gender, creed, belief, the same as men see? or what the world and the people want me to be? or what people say and know about me? tradition is the only thing that separates us. no, no, no. i believe, look forward, practice, move close to me, and the only way i do that is to see the jesus in me. plus, the will he has for me. one thing that we all don't get, no matter where you're from, no
matter where you come from, no matter what you believe, no matter how you feel, this world is a rainbow, and it started off as a rainbow. it's going to end as a rainbow. and if you take one color out of that rainbow, it's not a rainbow. so as us, seeing we're human beings, let's focus. let's get it right. let this rainbow shine super bright. not two, not three, but let's see if we can get four rainbows in the sky at one time. i just want to say a prayer, and i'm done. father god, please bless us with the love and understanding you have for us. let us really hear one another. share our likeness, more than differences. let us see each other's spirit and not our shells and not our
shells. let us unite as one, because the beautiful rainbow you made is us to be. be not one color, be left out, because then it's not a rainbow. so let us all see. amen. and i thank aaron. i thank cdc, and one thing i can tell you guys, i've been here for 27 years, and i'm from western addition, you're still in chinatown? you're still in chinatown? of course, because i'm black in the east. [ applause ] >> president yee: supervisor
ronen? >> supervisor ronen: thank you. i am very pleased to introduce najari turner, our district 9 black futures month honoree. if najari could come up. where are you? here she comes. yeah, if everyone can give her a round of applause. [ applause ] thank you so much. najari grew up in the heart of the mission district. she is the youngest of four siblings. i hope i'm pronouncing this right. please help me if i get this wrong. tajricka, lucerne, and tajari. her mom, melvia, is with us
today, as well, as amy avaro came to support, john, wilbur ramirez from mission graduates. najari attended kit bayview academy for elementary school and is now a senior in the mission. when supervisor walton suggested that we focus this year on exceptional black youth in our community, we were thrilled and immediately reached out to mission graduates and other adults we know who work at john o'connell high school in the mission to tell us about which young people at o'connell stand out to them. this is when we learned about the incredible leadership of najari turner. najari's involved in an impressive number of activities, both in school and beyond. she has a number of leadership roles within the student body and is constantly working to improve the school community. she is the sports chair of the associated student body
leadership team, she is an amazing emcee at nearly all of o'connell's school assemblies and rallies, and she plays on the basketball team. in addition, najari is a proud member of both the latinx club and black student union and also the president of the yearbook team. outside of school, she somehow finds time to work at the exploratorium, where she's not only learned to do seven magic tricks, but how to dissect a cow's eye. i can't wait to hear about that from you, more about that. throughout all these activities, najari displays an open-hearted commitment to bringing together students at o'connell to celebrate their cultures and diversity. she is a kind and empathetic mentor to underclass girls and boys, and she's constantly pushing other students to do well in school, support each other, and give back to the community. najari, i'm so proud to honor you here today. you exemplify what is best about young people, not only in the mission, but in all of san
francisco. you are a rising star, and we wish you the very, very best in your -- as you pursue your dreams in college and beyond. congratulations. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> i just want to say thank you guys for recognizing me for this award. i'd like to thank my counselors who help me every day after school helping me on scholarships for college, who helped me complete my fafsa application, helping me write my letters of rec for college, and i want to thank my mom for pushing me even sometimes when i don't want to do anything, and making sure that i stay on track and that i'm pushing myself each and every day to make the best out of every situation, and just helping better my community as best as i can. thank you.
[ applause ] >> president yee: okay, next up is supervisor safai. >> supervisor safai: thank you, president yee. so today i'm honored to tell the story of a rising hero in my community, in the lake view community, young man by the name of kendrick martin. i'm going to wait until the door closes. a lot of laughter and hugging.
that's okay. today's a joyous day. so kendrick is a strong, compassionate, dedicated young man who's committed to honoring the legacy of his hardworking family and change the outcomes for young black men in his community. in the midst of adversity, he's become the only young man within his social group and his peers to go on to college. more importantly, he's dedicated to changing the face of who's represented in technology and is currently pursuing his degree in the mechanical engineering at san francisco state university. as you know, we are at the heart of the technological revolution here in the bay area, and yet and still the representation in that workforce does not reflect the overall representation in the united states. so kendrick is in so many ways a trail blazer, and we're so proud to be honoring him today.
he's 23 years old. he's a second-generation san francisco native, and his story begins with his grandparents who migrated here from the south, like many of the families in san francisco in the 1950s to provide a better opportunity for their children. his grandparents, rowland and shirley, had a very strong influence in his life and instilled within him the importance of a good education. now this is even harder than my mother and parents were on me, but they even required him to attend summer school every year until the end of middle school. right, so they were focused on helping him achieve in math and science. so getting that early foundation in math and science has led him to where he is today. he attended balboa high. go, buccaneers. >> go bucs. >> supervisor safai: where he got involved with the football achievers that provide mentorships and scholarships to young african-american men and
women in sfusd. through this program he went to washington, d.c., where he met dianne feinstein, jackie speier, and other leaders from the bay area to share ideas and talk about how he wanted to make his community better. he went on to attend city college before being admitted to san francisco state, where he's studying mechanical engineering with a minor in microeconomics. he stayed committed to improving his community and worked hard to elect leaders like our own mayor breed most recently. he is driven by all the people who have ever had a chance to make it, as he likes to say, a driving motto for him, times are hard, but they can get harder. he will one day, one of the goals he has is to own his own engineering firm here in san francisco and will be a role model for young man to follow in his footsteps. he hopes to support organizations that will build
community and bring people from diverse backgrounds together, because the more we understand about one another and each other, the stronger our communities will become. kendrick, thank you for your hard work and resilience and your leadership. we're happy to honor you today, encourage you in this moment, and look forward to seeing all that you accomplish in the future. >> thank you. >> supervisor safai: thank you. [ applause ] if you'd like to say a few words, please. >> yeah, i'd like to thank you, ahsha safai, for the opportunity, and i'm just glad to be here, you know, there's a lot of people, you know, in my neighborhood, lake view, what not, who didn't make it or didn't get the same opportunities that i've had. and i just want to speak through -- speak for them, you know, this is a great opportunity. and i also want to bring light to two more rising heroes, who,
you know, i felt deserve an award, too. my good friend jimmy fells, who just had a documentary "the last black man in san francisco," won a sundance film festival award and another man, michael evans, who's in that, and tells jokes around san francisco. if it wasn't for good friends like that, from lake shore, city college, you know, throughout my journeys, because i grew up in and spent most of my time in lake view, but bayview, visitation valley, all throughout the bottom half of san francisco, and i am just thankful for the opportunity. >> supervisor safai: you have someone special here with you today, right? >> yes, i also have my father here with me. my grandparents couldn't make it. [ applause ] >> supervisor safai: i'd also like to give a special shout-out to one of your mentors, gwen, and it is her birthday today, so happy birthday. >> it definitely is. happy birthday to ms. gwen. [ applause ]
>> supervisor safai: thank you, president yee. >> president yee: okay, next up is supervisor stefani. >> supervisor stefani: thank you, president yee. colleagues, today i'm honored to recognize our veterans academy residents from suarez and the presidio for this year's black futures month. if you all would come up.
i don't think it's a secret to anybody that i have a special place in my heart to veterans and have been in awe of their sacrifice to our country. when i was sworn in on my inauguration day my dad was here, as you know, he made himself very known and i told a story about his service in vietnam, his reaction when we went to the vietnam memorial and what i didn't tell is the story about the toll it has taken on him. as he ages and his dementia kicks in a little bit, stories that once weren't told come out, and these are stories that would
break my spirit if it wasn't filled with hope for the future that we can make a difference in the lives of our veterans that have endured so much. on january 17 i attended the 22nd annual veterans day dinner and could not hold back the tears as they honored their profiles of courage awardees. and what they overcame with the help and their fellow vets was just absolutely nothing short of miraculous. i couldn't wait to get to the veterans academy and district 2 and the presidio to meet everyone there, and i was lucky that last friday i got to visit and i was able to talk to a few veterans. the mission is to heal the wounds of war, restore dignity, hope, and self-sufficiency to
all veterans in need and to prevent and heend homelessness r our veterans. this should be the future of our veterans that we care for them for generations to come and never leave them behind. the veterans academy is located in the presidio. the housing site was opened in 2000 and houses 108 veterans with disabilities. the mission is to provide a peaceful location to help senior and disabled veterans heal from their wounds of war and age in place. i was so happy to visit, like i said, last friday and speak with some of the veterans about their experience. with black future month in mind, i am taking this chance to honor the 28 african-american veterans who currently reside at the veterans academy site for their service to our country. today we have four representatives who are joining us, john baker, who served in the u.s. army, michael crain, who served in the u.s. air force, richard hollingsworth, who served in the u.s. army, and
robert scott, who also served in the u.s. army. each of these men have incredible stories about their time spent after returning back to civilian life. for instance, since his service, michael worked as a security policeman, richard worked at the army medical center, which brings his residency at full circle. robert attended classes from both the university of california at berkeley and san francisco state university. he's also featured in the video "taking responsibility," which illustrates the story of how a veteran came there. black history month and black futures month is a time to look at the contributions african-americans have made in shaping our nation. we must recognize that while we do honor and support our veterans and their sacrifices, we need to acknowledge and remember black veterans were
more likely to be attacked for their service than honored for it throughout our nation's history. for generations, african-americans returning home from service were more likely to face discrimination, disrespect, violence, and sometimes even death. each of these men have experienced great challenges in experiencing war battles, losing friends in service, and traversing through an extremely difficult transition back home into civilian life. yet each of these men and their neighbors are working through those challenges and dedicate their time to build a community at the veterans academy helping each other heal. i commend them, i commend you, for your service and dedication to our country and for your continued service to each other here at home. i would also like to recognize one of our guests, kenyan wingo, of the u.s. army and army reserve, who is a staff member at the veterans academy site. we appreciate all you do,
kenyon, to give back to this community. so i want to thank soars for your work to help this community, for whom we owe so much. i would also like to thank tramicia garner, associate director for housing and residential programs. i'd like to invite her to make a few comments and also if john, michael, richard, or robert would like to say anything, please do. [ applause ] >> hello. i am tramicia and work at soars. i work on behalf and in service to the veterans that we held within our programs and those that come within our drop-in center, legal clinic, as well as our training and employment program. soars has been around since 1974 here in san francisco. we've been doing a lot of great work representing the veterans that are living here in san francisco, but throughout the bay area and beyond. so with that, i don't want to take up too much time.
i'm not sure if any of our veterans are wanting to speak. we sometimes have a shy bunch. but i would like to thank them for their service. it takes a lot of courage to really put your hand up and say that you're willing to honor and serve the united states of america and to know some of the tragedies that folks experience coming back, a lot of, you know, our veterans are vietnam-era veterans, so that was not a particularly welcoming time for folks to serve in the united states military. a lot of folks were not treated well, and especially a lot of veterans of color, who endured racism in the military, but as well as when they returned home, so i would just like to say thank you for them and all that they do, and also just to honor and see them get up every day, get up, put one foot in front of the other is inspiration and hope for all of us that work here and work for them. with that, i'd like to say thank you to supervisor stefani for recognizing our veterans and i know we have veterans in many of your districts here for the board of supervisors and just thank you for your time today. [ applause ]