Youth program BMAGIC gave away hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies for San Francisco students on Saturday. (Laura Waxmann/S.F. Examiner)

Jeff Adachi remembered as Bayview youth prepare for new school year

When late San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi co-founded BMAGIC in 2004, he wanted “to put himself out of a job” with the youth educational program, said Mayor London Breed at the youth program’s 16th annual back-to-school resource fair in Bayview Hunters Point on Saturday.

“‘MAGIC’ stands for Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities because we know how important it is to invest in our children,” said Breed, addressing the of hundreds of attendees at 155 Jennings St. “Jeff worked hard every single day to not only defend people in the Public Defender’s office, but to take care of the community so they never ended up there in the first place.”

BMAGIC and its sister program, Mo’MAGIC, were launched under Adachi’s leadership as programs offering educational and social development for youth in the Bayview and the Fillmore neighborhoods, respectively.

Saturday marked the first year that Adachi, who died in February, would not be there to support The City’s young people, whom he dedicated much of his career advocating for. The event opened with a buddhist ceremony held by the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation in honor of Adachi, who was a buddhist.

Backpacks filled with school supplies for some 2,200 children were distributed on Saturday, along with free bicycles donated by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Children attending the event also were provided with free haircuts, school uniforms and food.

Students of all ages perused the fair where games, including a life-sized chess board, and resource booths were set up. San Francisco public school students start the 2019-20 school year Aug. 19.

Apart from spending a sunny Saturday afternoon outdoors, the fair’s organizers hoped that the youth and their families would use the opportunity to connect with The City’s network of out-of school resources and programming — representatives from 65 non profit organizations, from health care to financial services, manned tables at the fair.

“Some folks might be offering some type of internship or job for our older folks, for some of our younger kids it might just be getting them more water on this hot day and making sure they stay hydrated,” said Lacoste.

Lacoste was joined by a host of City and state elected officials, including Bayview Supervisor Shamann Walton, Assembleymember David Chiu, state Sen. Scott Wiener, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott, San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Vincent Matthews and school board members Alison Collins and Jenny Lam, and Adachi’s successor — Public Defender Mano Raju.

“It is very important that we continue to do events like this so that our young people know they are supported, so that the community knows it’s support, and most importantly because it brings people together to deal with the positive aspects of San Francisco,” said Walton.

While Adachi’s absence was felt by his city family, Lacoste said that the program is stronger than ever.

“If anything we are moving stronger and better than before — we are out here representing Jeff’s mission, his vision and what he wanted to do for the community which is to bring this community together and uplift this community, “ she said.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

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