SEIU 1021 and AFT 2121 kick off “Yes on Prop O” campaign
San Francisco City College staff, faculty, students, and other supporters from the community and from a historic labor coalition kicked off the “Yes on O” voter education and mobilization campaign Sunday, August 21. The rally comes on the heels of Measure O qualifying for the November 8 ballot with over 20,000 signatures—well over twice the requirement.
City College is a uniquely democratic institution that provides a free pathway to upward socioeconomic mobility to San Franciscans of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels, especially English language learners, formerly incarcerated adults, low-income students of color, and other underserved demographics.
Advocates gathered at 11 am at Rossi Playground in the Inner Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco for a brief program before heading out into the community to drop off flyers on doors and speak with San Francisco residents about the importance of City College. They also shared why Measure O is crucial to both ensuring and expanding on that role after decades of cuts. Measure O will pass with a simple majority of 50% + 1 vote in the November 8 general election.
Members of the City College Revenue Unity Coalition – a historic collaboration of faculty and staff represented by SEIU 1021, AFT 2121, the SF Building Trades, and Stationary Engineers – worked hard for many months to craft the ballot measure and rally support for it. Endorsers include SF Supervisors Gordon Mar, Myrna Melgar, Dean Preston, and Shamann Walton; the entire City College Board of Trustees; organizations including SF Rising, Jobs with Justice, Housing Rights Committee, Chinese for Affirmative Action, SF Young Democrats, the San Francisco chapter of Democratic Socialists of America; and many others.
“We are thrilled at the level of community support for this initiative so far,” said City College Classified Senate President and SEIU 1021 Education Industry Chair Maria Salazar-Colón. “Many of the students we serve at City College need support to continue their education – things like childcare, English as a second language classes, tutoring services, even help meeting basic needs like housing and food. We serve students who don’t have a lot of options for higher education and workforce training. These are folks being pushed to the margins and pushed out of the city. The funding provided by this ballot measure will help us get these students the support, resources, and programs they need to get good jobs and stay in San Francisco.”
“I’m so happy that AFT and SEIU are working together. We have to work together because working together, so many good things happen. We know that the money is out there. We have to continue to speak to all our members to make things better for our generation to move forward. I’m here to support Prop O,” said SEIU 1021 SF City/County Area Representative Lorraine Bowser, who works for San Francisco Unified School District.
At the kickoff rally, AFT 2121 President Mary Bravewoman said, “This is what labor working together in the city can accomplish. We brought in more than 10,000 signatures over and above what we needed. As soon as we told them what this was about, they simply said, ‘Where do I sign?’ As soon as we said City College, as soon as we said AFT 2121, they said, ‘We are on board. We support you.’ We need to get that message out to the rest of the voters. November 9 is going to be an awesome day. It will be a new reckoning, new leadership at the college, with a vision for education for all San Franciscans, regardless of their educational goal. It could be a 79-year-old looking to get out of the house and learn a new skill or an 18-year-old trying to get to Stanford. Let’s get out there and educate our voters so that we win in November!”
You can watch the kickoff rally on our Facebook Live here.