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It’s Friday afternoon at the drop-in center known as Mother Brown’s on the corner of Jennings Street and Van Dyke Avenue. Despite the iron-gated door fronting the entrance, people drop in freely to check their mail, take a shower, do laundry or chill out in the reception area. For a nominal fee, Mother Brown’s rents out lockers. Gwendolyn Westbrook, the director of the United Council of Human Services – the official name of Mother Brown’s – as well as staff, describe the place as a community center. Client Johnny Scott likens Mother Brown’s to a family. “This here is a place where people get along,” he says.
City College is the heart of San Francisco. Proposition W will allow us to re-grow our school to its full capacity and empower those who are most in need. In times like these, when the cost of living continues to rise, students shouldn’t be forced to choose between textbooks and food, or between tuition and rent. Join me this Nov. 8 in voting for Proposition W. Let’s make City College free again, and empower our school, our city and our community.
The community college system educates thousands of working-class and poor people across the state of California without saddling us with massive debt. City College of San Francisco alone educates over 90,000 students. This poor people college access is exactly why I believe that corporate interests are trying to squash the last hope for educational access across the country.
The history of the center is well known, and its accomplishments far outweigh its failures. Although 95 years is an extremely long time, what the center does not have right now is time – and time will be the deciding factor on whether or not Visitacion Valley Community Center survives.