S.F. students plan violence protest at City Hall

Students in the Mission district are planning to march on City Hall during school hours Friday to demand Mayor Gavin Newsom and other officials respond to the outbreak of violence that has left a classmate and a school graduate dead.

The scheduled march comes as violence in the Mission has erupted and city officials and law enforcement attempt to hash out a strategy to prevent more shootings and killings. In the past three weeks, there have been seven homicides in
the area.

The San Francisco Unified School District’s June Jordan School for Equity, with an enrollment of about 280 students, has put together the march and rally to “demand that the recent rash of violence that is sweeping our city end immediately,” according to a press release scheduled for release today.

“We will present a list of demands to Mayor Gavin Newsom, and insist immediate steps be taken,” the release says.

The school, with students in grades 9-12, lost a 2007 graduate, Jorge Hurtado, to a fatal shooting Aug. 23 in the Mission. Senior Joshua Cameron was fatally shot in the Western Addition on Sept. 5.

The school’s students and teachers plan to walk from the campus to Mission Street around 11 a.m. Friday and hop on buses to City Hall, June Jordan teacher Heather Clements said.

Once at City Hall, a rally is planned that’s expected to include community-based organizations and possibly candidates running for a seat on the Board of Supervisors in November along with current sitting supervisors, she said.

School co-director Matt Alexander said “this is not a political thing” but a chance for students to learn civic engagement and social responsibility.

School district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said the planned march is “an optional school field trip” and that “this is completely voluntary.” Blythe said the district’s students are encouraged to think about ways to respond to concerns in their life.

Clements said the march on City Hall is to send the message that “Jorge and Joshua are not another statistic” and to make sure the investigation into their deaths does not “fizzle into nothing.”

“They weren’t thugs. They weren’t gangsters,” Clements said. “It’s just ludicrous that they can’t even walk down their own neighborhood street.”

Hurtado was about to begin his first year at San Francisco State University when he was fatally shot at 23rd Street and Treat Avenue. Cameron was shot near a McDonald’s in the Fillmore.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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