Hope, Service and San Francisco's Black families

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I spent the day visiting my closest friend Leo, his wife Patrice and their son Lathan. To Lathan I'm Uncle Stevon and I'm really proud to call him my nephew. I look at this precious black boy, the life of this beautiful black family, and it really makes me grateful that I have a life filled with such beautiful relationships.

Leo and I are products of San Francisco's low performing schools, and were raised in some of its more dangerous neighborhoods. We developed a bond in high school from a shared desire to use our education to improve our circumstances. Those aspirations were expressed inside and outside of the classroom. We worked hard in school. He kept a part-time job throughout the years, while I signed up for numerous clubs. He worked full time over the summer, and I traveled to summer programs at different colleges around the country on scholarships. He learned how to stay and build, while I learned how to roam and experiment. He was the practical one. I was the idealist.

We've known each other for over 15 years. We've gotten to see one another establish ourselves in the world and become leaders in our fields. And now I get to see him as a family man.

Like many young, well educated, middle and upper middle class families, Leo and his wife left San Francisco. I hear these stories from my peers all the time: the insane cost of living, the draw of homeownership, better access to high performing public schools, alongside a host of other factors.

As a politician, you're asking for money and talking about your policy platform hoping to address these large systemic and societal forces. Then you look at the lives of the people you love, and you see them leave most likely never to return again. You see San Francisco lose another black family, another middle class family. You watch the city that helped make you become a place you no longer recognize.

I've decided to stay and I'm committed to serving on the San Francisco Board of Education because when I look into the faces of our students I see myself and I see Leo. And despite what the scores say about our kids or the reputation of their neighborhoods, I see hope.

Over the course of this campaign, I'll be talking about San Francisco's affordability crisis and how it's affecting our teachers and families, how we increase participation in our public schools and opportunities to leverage partnerships to end the cycle of poverty while also achieving a higher standard of excellence for all students.

At the end of the day, I want to build a San Francisco that has room for Lathan and the thousands of middle class families looking to rise their children in our community. I believe we can do that together.

 

See more from Stevon on the Huffington Post.


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  • published this page in Blog 2016-03-17 00:34:10 -0700