London Breed is your homegirl’s favorite homegirl.
The San Francisco native was raised by her grandmother in abject poverty. She lived in public housing, and her family of five survived on $900 a month and government-issued groceries. Even with the deck stacked against her, Breed managed to graduate high school with honors and went on to earn degrees from both the University of California at Davis as well as the University of San Francisco. She is one of the ones who “made it out” of the hood and did something to “better herself,” as they always say we should.
Breed cut her teeth working as an intern for former Mayor Willie Brown before serving as executive director of the African American Art & Culture Complex. She went on to be named to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Commission in 2004 before being appointed in 2010 to the San Francisco Fire Commission by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Breed was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2012, becoming president of the board in 2015. Upon the death of former Mayor Ed Lee in December 2017, Breed became acting mayor of the city of San Francisco. She served in that position for one month. In June 2018, she successfully ran for Mayor in a special election, and in November 2019, she won reelection to a full term as mayor of the city.
I recently sat down with Breed to talk about her historic win. A constant thread during our conversation was her love for her city, her dedication to affordable housing, and her determination to make San Francisco a place where the city’s black residents can live comfortably.
The lack of affordable housing for the city’s residents was a big concern for her. She highlighted many people she knows who have been pushed out of the city because of skyrocketing rents and housing prices. She wants that to change.
She acknowledged that there are areas with room for improvement, but she was resolute in her dedication to making sure those areas were addressed, including the over-policing of black and brown people in San Francisco.
Breed said she finds it hard to go anywhere in the city without someone recognizing her from her youth, and she said it is for those people that she wants to make the city better.
And with a sister who died from a drug overdose and a brother who is currently serving a 44-year prison sentence for a manslaughter and armed robbery conviction, Breed believes the impetus is on her to make a better San Francisco so future generations can see the same success she’s had.
Breed has big plans for the city, and her ambition will not let her be deterred. She wants to stand up for her city and make it a fair and equitable place to live.
And that is the most that anyone could ask of their mayor.