Keeping up with my 2016 DCCC campaign promises, 2017 was a lot of focused work staging our success for 2018. 2018 is shaping community centered year, for me. I will be focusing a lot of time on coalition building around common social justice concerns, health impacts to communities of color, working with allies in creating a pipeline out of homelessness, creating learning and community leadership opportunities -- inspiring folks to become engaged in making our world a better place. I hope you will join me!
My year-long struggle with poverty and homelessness has officially concluded.
On Christmas Eve 2016, I became displaced from my housing in the Western Edition where I grew up. On Christmas Eve 2017, I became fully restored. Many people opened up their homes to ensure my safety, dignity and to help me obtain opportunity. It is only through friendships that I was enabled to live and preserver through this tough time. Because it wasn’t my first rodeo; I became stronger than ever through the process because I began studying the issues objectively with many individuals, groups, and organizations.
I am truly thankful to have been gifted the opportunity to have the security of a home as shelter and to be able to use the precious gift of time to secure a reliable job and secure housing. However, hard times meant some sacrifices because of scarce resources.
Because I persevered through the experience of breaking down my home as I prepared to exist without one of my own, I know it wasn’t drugs or alcohol or an inability to maintain that placed me on the outs. I have a good education with two degrees, career certification, and years of practical experience across multiple industries. On this journey, I found many broken social systems, public policies and that our city safety net that has too many holes to be relied upon to be anyone's salvation. Because I believe that all must take part in being the change we seek. I committed to being a part our efforts of creating safety, dignity, and opportunity for all our neighbors.
To accomplish that, I had to become lean and efficient with what I intended to keep. I learned to let go of everything I couldn’t maintain. I owned a full life’s worth of possession and resources that I sacrificed for a greater purpose beyond myself. Because of this experience, I now possess a unique set of perspectives on privilege, access, and vital basic resources that few people will ever have. Through these lenses, I advocate for policy change bring about the restoration of our neighbors. As a society, I know and understand that we must work together to create the same set of resources that enabled me to springboard from poverty to again be secure, have better access to safety, maintain my dignity and see doors open to opportunities.
Because I had access to some vital basic resources, I was able to focus on making a difference in the lives of others. That's a rare privilege and one I take seriously. I continue to gain experience and understand how and why our city resources are failing to address poverty and homelessness, crime and other serious concerns for a great many people who live in and love this city. I spent time in all of San Francisco’s 11 districts talking to our people in the communities where I grew up.
Because I believe that people who have been through hell and survived are perhaps capable of bringing us to paradise, I dedicate a lot of time working together with our people and beginning to devise plans to address all the issues I noticed on this journey. I developed a set of strategies to ensure my resiliency as well as my ability to still be present in our community as a volunteer, as an organizer, and as a leader who will step up and speak out around these issues.
To begin to make the changes we know are necessary, through my activism, personal challenges and first-hand life experiences I continued to be present, visible and vocal across San Francisco. Taking advantage of every opportunity to learn about, be engaged and advocate on the most pressing issues that affect our vulnerable communities. Being objective about these experiences and that of others allows me to evaluate what’s missing continually. I have been right there, with an open heart, mind, and ear - listening to experiences of others who deal with hardship and who are actively struggling to climb up.
I am proud of all of us who made it through the tribulations of 2017 and to be able to share this message with you today. I am grateful for your support to have accomplished so much with so little. I hope you will work with me this year, and beyond, to deliver these key resources to those in need. Together we will advocate and organize for the provision of basics resources such as sanitary items, storage facilities, communications resources and stable shelter that includes an uninterrupted pathway to jobs and housing that is affordable at every economic level starting at the bottom.
Thank you for being there for me and happy New Year!