Photo by Tressa Crozier.
For London Breed MPA ’13, going to City Hall is just another day at the office. But after six months, it still doesn’t feel that way.
“It still feels weird a little bit. I still can’t believe it a little bit,” said Breed, San Francisco’s new District 5 supervisor. “Every day I’m going to work and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I’m in a position to change lives.’”
It’s been six months since Breed, the only district native, beat out seven other candidates to represent a swath of the city that includes parts of the Haight, Inner Sunset, and Western Addition.
She understands all too well the problems the district’s residents face. Raised by her grandmother in the Western Addition, Breed grew up amidst gang violence, poverty, and drug use. Her brother is in prison. Her sister died of an overdose.
Breed is committed to making sure the next generation doesn’t experience what she has. As supervisor, her focus is on kids—on nurturing their potential through after-school programs, technology centers, and workforce development initiatives. Her commitment to youth also drove her 10-year tenure as executive director of the Western Addition’s African American Art and Culture Complex. Breed transformed the nearly collapsing complex into a vibrant neighborhood hub for the arts.
“I wanted to make sure that young people have a place where they can be who they naturally are through the arts,” she said. “I’d let artists paint on the wall, paint on the ceiling.”
Breed, whose City Hall office brims with color and is adorned with modern art, brings that artistic flare to her new role. “I look at San Francisco as my canvas waiting to be painted.”