Left to right: Alison Collins, Gabriela López, and Faauuga Moliga (Alison Collins/Screengrab via YouTube, Sheana Soriano/Screengrab via YouTube, SFGovTV/Screengrab via YouTube)
The progressive San Francisco school-board president recalled by voters earlier this week claimed her ouster was a “consequence” of fighting for racial justice, and represents a victory for “white supremacists.”
“So if you fight for racial justice, this is the consequence,” board president Gabriela López wrote in a tweet on Thursday. “Don’t be mistaken, white supremacists are enjoying this. And the support of the recall is aligned with this.”
So if you fight for racial justice, this is the consequence. Don’t be mistaken, white supremacists are enjoying this. And the support of the recall is aligned with this. pic.twitter.com/HsYtQjvVeh
— Commissioner Gabriela López 🇲🇽 (@lopez4schools) February 17, 2022
More than 70 percent of voters elected to recall López and two other progressive board members, Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga. The trio were the only board members on the seven-member board who were eligible to be recalled.
López shared a screenshot of a Washington Post article about the recall titled, “San Francisco recalls school board members seen as too focused on racial justice.”
The article’s subheading adds, “In a warning for the left, critics saw misplaced priorities, as the board focused on equity issues while schools remained closed.”
As Washington Post politics reporter David Weigel noted in a tweet responding to López, the recall vote was “racially diverse, including hundreds of non-citizen immigrants who were eligible to participate.”
Tweet from one of the SF school board members who was recalled. The “yes” vote for recall was racially diverse, including hundreds of non-citizen immigrants who were eligible to participate—the “white supremacist” charge just didn’t convince anyone. pic.twitter.com/ckB8TRKGa5
— David Weigel (@daveweigel) February 17, 2022
The recall was the product of a year-long effort to reform the board, which critics said prioritized social-justice politics over shepherding the district through the Covid-19 pandemic. Parents were concerned the board had not done enough to reopen schools and fix the district’s struggling finances during the pandemic.
The vote came after Siva Raj and Autumn Looijen, two single parents, launched a campaign to recall the board members after they refused to reopen the city’s schools last year.
Particularly frustrating to the recall’s organizers was the board’s directing its time and energy during the pandemic toward renaming 44 schools named after prominent Americans — including president Abraham Lincoln and George Washington — and considering a close to $1 million proposal to paint over an 80-year-old mural at a local school that illustrates the life of Washington, but includes outdated stereotypes.
The district’s budget deficit soared to roughly $125 million last year, and the California Department of Education sent in an expert to help the school board craft a plan to fix its finances.
A moment of infamy in the board’s history came last February when it hosted a two-hour debate over whether a gay white dad was diverse enough to join an all-female volunteer parent committee.
Collins, meanwhile, was stripped of her committee assignments and her title of vice president in March 2021 after recall organizers discovered several anti-Asian tweets she wrote in 2016 accusing the Asian-American community of not sufficiently speaking out against Donald Trump.
Mayor London Breed must now appoint three members to replace those recalled.
“The voters of this city have delivered a clear message that the school board must focus on the essentials of delivering a well-run school system above all else,” Breed said in a prepared statement. “San Francisco is a city that believes in the value of big ideas, but those ideas must be built on the foundation of a government that does the essentials well.”
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