A letter to the Honorable Mayor London Breed of San Francisco

by Lin Robertson

Dear London,

Last December, Mayor Ed Lee died suddenly and London Breed, as president of the Board of Supervisors, automatically succeeded him to the Mayor’s Office, but a month later her colleagues on the board evicted her to avoid giving her the advantage of incumbency in the special mayoral election in June. Now she’s won it back, largely thanks to solid Black support, and without bitterness she’s hit the ground running, leading her department heads for an unannounced tour through the Tenderloin only two days later, promising right away to “clean the streets and care for those living on them,” as the Chronicle put it. – Photo: Johnnie Burrell

As I watched your inauguration, saw you take the oath to serve once more, spoke from the heart to all of your people, and heard the declaration that you will continue to advocate for the poor, the forgotten, the homeless and the immigrants who can still find sanctuary in this City, I was filled with pride. Our local economy will thrive in your hands because of fair play for big and small business alike that allows San Francisco to be an example to the rest of the nation. Because of you, we are also reminded that “Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.”

It’s been a long time coming, my dear. The crowd roared as you spoke from the heart. We felt your love.

You blessed us by invoking your grandmother, Ms. Camilla Brown, who taught you that we can rise when we never give up on our dreams, and – more importantly – that we should always help each other and stand together, whether we live in public housing or we find ourselves facing the crowd on top of the steps of City Hall as a leader to be reckoned with, our first African American woman to become the mayor of San Francisco.

London, you can make San Francisco a better place for our workforce who need “local hire” to be a reality and not just lip service; for small businesses still struggling to make ends meet because of gatekeepers who won’t let us in on the path to succeed; for San Franciscans who just need a hand up that leads to better living conditions and a real chance to become self-sufficient; for the homeless still standing on street corners for hours every day begging with signs that read those oh so familiar words: “Please Help!”

It’s been a long time coming, my dear. The crowd roared as you spoke from the heart. We felt your love.

Your compassion was also heard by those suffering with addiction, often dying in disgrace on sidewalks while people just ignore them and pass on by – or lost in a battered mental state making them unable to go somewhere, anywhere, to find relief and healing. We believe in your promise to make San Francisco a better place, and we agree that it is time to change the “normal.”

“I will be your mayor too,” Mayor London Breed repeated in her inaugural address, naming some of the demographic groups prominent in San Francisco – and the people, all the people, embraced her back. They left home in the fog, poured into Civic Center and enjoyed the sun breaking through in time for her inaugural address. Congratulations and Godspeed, Mayor Breed!

Yes, you are my mayor too, London. Your compassion expressed on that inaugural stage was awe inspiring. Your audience included the fortunate who can still afford to live here, the middle class who are often run out of town, the poor with nowhere else to go but to the violence and disillusionment evident in the streets, white, Black and Brown folks, all sharing in your glory as the lieutenant governor swore you into office.

And we roared especially when you sent that message to Washington: “We don’t put children in cages; we put them in classrooms.”

Yes, you are my mayor too, London.

Mayor Ed Lee, a former resident of public housing himself, once declared that he knew that he would be able to build and come to the aid of constituents in communities like Bayview Hunters Point, because he knew London would be there by his side to get the job done. Your top three priorities when he asked you what you wanted to focus on as president of the Board of Supervisors were: “1) Public Housing, 2) Public Housing and 3) Public Housing.”

I am sure he and your grandmother are celebrating with us, because they know that you will continue to build – and while you are at it, create workforce training for those constituents who are in need of real job and business opportunities throughout San Francisco.

Keep fighting the good fight, London. Never give up on us, on your City, and – most importantly – on yourself. Together, we are stronger because of you.

Thank you for embracing your role as our new mayor. And may God continue to bless you as our leader, and most impactful advocate today. We are ready to serve with you in San Francisco. Let’s rock and roll!

Keep fighting the good fight, London. Never give up on us, on your City, and – most importantly – on yourself. Together, we are stronger because of you.

Lin Robertson began her career by launching the Aruba Foreign Investment Agency in her native Aruba, a Caribbean island nation off the coast of Venezuela. Coming to California in 1998, she worked with the San Jose Office of Equality Assurance and in 2005 founded The Labor Compliance Managers, where she is managing director. She is also senior producer for International Media TV. Lin can be reached at lin.tlcm@gmail.com.

After finding herself having to fill the role of mayor of San Francisco after the sudden death of then Mayor Ed Lee in December, on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, London Nicole Breed was sworn in on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall by former Mayor Gavin Newsom to become the City’s 45th and first African American woman mayor. Her journey from living and growing up in San Francisco’s public housing, raised by her grandmother Ms. Brown, and losing some siblings to drug addiction and gun violence has been a remarkable one.

The thousands who gathered at San Francisco’s City Center Plaza for Breed’s historic inaugural included politicians, civic leaders, elected officials from afar, campaign workers, family, and San Francisco’s long-time and new residents. Mistress of ceremonies was San Francisco’s world baseball champion Giants announcer Renel Brooks-Moon.

Rev. Amos C. Brown, pastor of Third Baptist Church, and Rabbi Beth Singer of Congregation Emanu-El from the City’s spiritual communities came together to give the invocation. In terms of London Breed’s election, Singer commented, “Thank God for miracles.”

“We have elected the right No. 45,” said Rev. Amos Brown, “and she has the courage to stand her ground.” Entertainment included Chinese Lion Dancers, The Gay Men’s Chorus, Glide’s Church Change Band and Choir, the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars, and a group of African American girls, the C-Notes, who sang the national anthem.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Jackie Spier were unable to attend but gave their congratulations via video. At the podium, London Breed commented that her journey regarding tasks that will be required of her as mayor of San Francisco have just begun and that with all of the City’s communities bonding to work together with her, the job will get done. It was quite a day! – Johnnie Burrell

When she was on her campaign trail, one of London Breed’s messages was that all would be welcome to City Hall. At her inauguration, a cross-section of San Francisco residents and visitors expressed their congratulations, recounting some history regarding African Americans’ climb to power in San Francisco through Board of Supervisor appointments and stories of her involvement in working to make the districts they were living in a safer and more comfortable environment. After introductions, entertainment and Breed’s speech at the podium, a steady stream of people could be seen pouring into City Hall. – Johnnie Burrell

3 COMMENTS

  1. I have been informing London Breed ( by way of the BOS ) AND Malia Cohen since last year of what I am being subjected to HERE in The Bayview!!! I am a 65 yr. old Black Woman TRYING To LIVE in This UnGodly City in This UnGodly KKKountry!!! I moved to The Bayview from The Potrero Terrace Projects in 1995 because of The Evil Of Crack People!!! I live at 1414 Shafter Ave. and have been subjected to threats from 2 Crack Houses. The first one was 1415 Shafter Ave. whose Crack Selling/Using Occupants were responsible for THE DEATH Of MY NEIGHBOR MISS JESSIE!!! This is HOW Crack House #2 SATAN'S ZOO came into existence at 1408 Shafter Ave. which I am currently dealing with.

Leave a Reply