Politicians and activists came together for the Cesar E. Chavez Mural Celebration to discuss a plethora of issues concerning activism and community involvement on Thursday afternoon.
Forty to 50 people in Jack Adams Hall watched closely as panelists talked about voting and legislation. San Francisco Board of Supervisor Jane Kim highlighted the need for the newest generation to be civically involved during the Trump administration.
Kim also said that while San Francisco now has a tuition-free city college and a $15 minimum wage coming next year, it is still one of the larger cities in the country experiencing a fast growing wage gap. Kim also declared that President Trump’s war on media makes him “an enemy of the state.”
Hoku Jeffrey, from the activist organization By Any Means Necessary, went on to shed light on affirmative action, equity, student work and police brutality.
Jeffrey believes Trump’s presidency created a “majority minority population” that feel a detrimental opposition to their economic and political ideology. He also said that the president has gotten to where he is and gained the audience and supporters he needed to win the general election by “immigrant bashing.”
Brent Turner, who called himself the “token white devil,” grew up around the Black Panther Movement and now works for Indivisible, a grassroots organization committed to resisting Trump’s administration. Turner attended the panel discussion to talk about voter suppression.
“We want you to attack the process and be involved, and to vote,” Turner said. He also expressed a need for ballots to be better secured and monitored.
When the audience had the chance to speak, they shared thoughts about needing more activist leaders on campus. Turner responded by suggesting more training programs be made available for new leaders.
Kim talked to students about divesting San Francisco from Wells Fargo due to their funding of the North Dakota Access Pipeline and involvement in the fake account scandal. She went on to talk about publicly financed elections.
“It’s because of all the money that is in politics, where the legislation we’re working on is not actually really benefiting everyday people,” Kim said.
Shay Franco-Clausen, the keynote speaker at San Jose Women’s March, is a citizen-activist and survivor of human trafficking. She stressed the importance of legislative change.
In hindsight, Franco-Clausen says that the time she was a victim of human trafficking was a “hiccup.” At points in her life, she felt voiceless but said she has now found her calling with as a grassroots organizer fighting for domestic violence and human trafficking survivors.
“Policy is the way to protect us,” Franco-Clausen said. “Everything that happens to us every single day starts and ends with policy.”