The Gen X activists upending Democratic politics

“So here’s how I explain it to people who don’t have kids: Imagine you’re in San Francisco. There’s been an earthquake. You’re out on the sidewalk in a tent because you’re not sure if your home is safe to go back to. And you’re cooking your meals on the sidewalk, you’re trying to do normal things. You’ve been there for months. Finally, your elected leaders show up and you’re like, ‘Thank God, here’s some help.’ And they say, ‘We are here to help. We’re going to change the street signs for you.’ And then they go away, right? And you’re like, ‘But we need help with this.’” — Autumn Looijen, co-founder of the Recall SF School Board campaign

On pulling in groups not traditionally involved in political activism:

“From what we can tell, Chinese American turnout is 50 percent higher than the general population. … Usually, Asian Americans just don’t get involved in politics very much, right? And immigrants … you try to avoid getting involved in politics — I’m the crazy exception, I guess.” — Siva Raj, co-founder of the Recall SF School Board campaign

On the national implications of the SF school board recall effort:

“I think it means that whatever else you do, you need to pay attention to making sure the actual work of your job is done. …If you want to rename 44 schools, that’s great — but please make sure the kids inside those walls can read. If you want to change the admission system to bring in more people of color, then that’s great — but do it in a way that brings the community together rather than dividing us. …San Francisco is known as a very, very divided city politically, even though we’re all technically on the same side. I would say, if we can bring together everyone on this issue, from Republicans to Bernie-crats — and even Green Party members — everyone can agree that kids deserve a good education. There are some things that, as divided as we think we are, we can still agree on. And I think that’s somewhere we can build from.” — Autumn Looijen, co-founder of the Recall SF School Board campaign

On accountability for progressive public officials:

“You can no longer hide behind your ideology and pretend that you did great just because you kind of pushed that ideology. You still have to do your job.” — Siva Raj, co-founder of the Recall SF School Board campaign

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