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API and LGBTQ communities join forces to call for the right candidate

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Opinion: Li Mao Lovett and Mia Satya should be considered for appointment to a soon-to-be vacant seat on the San Francisco Unified School District board. (Examiner file photos)

With the election of Board of Education member Matt Haney to the District 6 Supervisor seat in 2019, Mayor London Breed has the opportunity to appoint a new Board of Education member to fill his spot. This appointment will play a critical role in shaping the San Francisco Unified School District and this city’s next generation which faces unprecedented challenges. Both Li Miao Lovett and Mia Satya would be excellent candidates with the track record and values our diverse students need to succeed.

Students growing up in this political moment are faced with constant attacks on immigrants, working families, women, queer and trans people of color. Their families are struggling to afford basic living expenses in San Francisco, with 1 in 25 students in SF public schools experiencing homelessness. The vacancy on the Board of Education should be filled by someone who can champion an underrepresented community, including Chinese immigrants and limited English proficiency (LEP) students, and LGBTQ students who are under attack. With the aggressive attacks on public education and the privatization agenda promoted by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, it is also critical to appoint someone who fully supports the public education system and rejects the influence of charter school campaign contributions.

There is neither a trans nor Chinese voice currently on the Board of Education. Our children’s’ futures should not be used to play politics or to advance an individual’s career. That’s why we are joining forces and building bridges between the Chinese immigrant and the LGBTQ communities and asking Mayor Breed to consider our needs when appointing the next member of the School Board. As we consider what our students need to thrive in schools, it is essentially what they need to thrive in the world: safe spaces to be themselves, and support in academic, emotional, and mental health. One way we can give them that support is by having values of inclusion, understanding, and collaboration in all we do within our public school system.

Unlearning cultural norms of patriarchy, sexism, xenophobia, and transphobia takes time and work inside of and between our communities, but it must start with our leadership.

School Board Candidate Li Miao Lovett immigrated to San Francisco as a child and understands the needs of immigrant students and English learners. Having worked in public education for 20 years as an academic counselor and demonstrating support to LGBT people, she understands the needs of diverse student populations and their families. She has what it takes to represent the Chinese immigrant community while being an ally to transgender students. She will continue to expand services that support the social and emotional learning of students, and ensure school environments where students are given the tools to thrive as individuals who feel seen, heard, and valued as their full selves.

Mia Satya, the second trans San Franciscan to run for Board of Education, has advocated for homeless youth, transitional age youth, and families from diverse backgrounds, including immigrants, for over a decade. She has the experience and drive to break barriers to education and support our LGBTQ and gender non-conforming students as well as a proven commitment to stand in solidarity with the Chinese community, other immigrant communities, and communities of color.

Mia and Li represent the type of leadership we need in San Francisco at a time when our public schools, students, and teachers are under attack on so many fronts. Most importantly, what many immigrant and LGBTQ San Franciscans want to see from their leaders is the ability to connect our most complex issues, build solidarity across communities, and be an independent voice for all our young people. We invite Mayor Breed to join our unity efforts and appoint Mia Satya or Li Miao Lovett to the School Board.

Shaw San Liu is a leader of the Chinese Progressive Association Action Fund, and has over a decade of experience organizing in the working class Chinese immigrant community. Carolina Morales is a queer immigrant and Co-President of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club with 15 years of experience serving LGBTQ communities.

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