Bringing My Mom to a Protest

Justice, 2021 Style

When I was a little girl, my mom embraced the revolutionary spirit. She adored Shirley Chisholm, subscribed to Ms. Magazine, and participated in countless civil rights events. She often brought her seven young children to marches. I was raised on We Shall Overcome, chants for justice, and the idea that you must do the right thing, no matter what. It wasn't always fun. Back then I just wanted to blend in, not stand out.

A few weeks ago when she was in San Francisco for a visit, it was my turn to drag her to a protest. I was invited to speak at a rally organized by the United Peace Collaborative, an organization formed in 2020, after Chinatown was looted and horrific crimes against the Asian population began to surge. Since then, the brutal attacks have escalated, and most of the victims are elderly. Like my mom. The thought of her being beaten, robbed, and left for dead makes me enraged. And when the perpetrators of these crimes are not held accountable for their actions? It’s time to take to the streets.

This is my speech:

The primary duties of a district attorney are deciding whether or not to bring criminal charges against people who have been arrested and choosing to prosecute criminal charges in court. 

So you, Chesa Boudin - district attorney of San Francisco - have choices. And those you’ve made from day one have negatively impacted the diverse communities in this great city. It’s also united us, though tragically it’s too late for too many - because they’ve been beaten or killed by the people you have chosen not to prosecute. 

San Francisco now has violent criminals running the streets because you have not fulfilled the duties you were sworn to do. Instead, you have followed your own philosophy of justice reform that favors people who commit crimes over people who do not. You’ve cheered when people who have harmed the innocent face no meaningful repercussions, making sure they are back on the street to continue to commit the same crimes, over and over again. You’ve celebrated emptying jails of those who were there for a reason - to protect the public. Yet not once have you been as gleeful when dangerous people who’ve committed heinous offenses finally face jail time for vicious attacks, armed robberies, and even murder. 

Mr. Boudin, we know that you are ruled by an ideology formed by your personal troubles. As such, San Francisco’s citizens, small business owners, and visitors have been abused. More, this city’s very reputation as a safe and wonderful place has been tarnished. 

So who is experiencing the greatest damage from your pro-criminal, anti-victim philosophy? Look around. Mothers and grandmothers. Fathers and grandfathers. Children. Because of you, criminals are free to destroy the lives and livelihoods of innocent people.

And now we stand in unity. People from all races, ages, demographics. We come together today to say, “enough.” The elders who we rally and march for could be all of our parents and grandparents. Justice is not currently being served, but we know it can be. We know it will be.

(I’m so proud of my mom, who is holding a sign in the accompanying photo. At 81, she remains a revolutionary.)