By Alan Wong, guest contributor
October 3, 2012
District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar is facing a difficult reelection bid. Having won his seat by a mere 347 votes in 2008, Eric’s challenges grew greater when redistricting made his District more conservative for the 2012 election. He needs your support.
I can speak from personal experience on why you should support him: I have known Eric as a friend and ally since I was fifteen years old (2003). I met him when I served as a student member on the San Francisco School Board. Eric was inspired to become involved in social justice movements at a young age when he learned about the brutal beating and death of Vincent Chin. Chin was an Asian-American hate crime victim, mercilessly beaten to death with a baseball bat because of fear that Japanese were taking American jobs. That injustice inspired him to act and serve. Since then he has dedicated his life to social justice movements.
Eric served on the school board from 2000 to 2008 and was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2008. He also served as a Vice Chair for the San Francisco Democratic Party, volunteered for two decades with the Chinese Progressive Association (which advocates for poor immigrant Chinatown tenants for their housing rights and against wage theft), worked as Dean of the New College public interest law school, and taught as a San Francisco State University Asian American studies teacher.
I sat beside Eric during two years of school board meetings as he advocated for policies that closed the achievement gap and served as a vote of constancy for the most disadvantaged youth in the school district. We need him to remain on the Board of Supervisors to win battles that affect each and every one of us living and working in San Francisco.
My family needs leaders like Eric to continue serving on the Board of Supervisors because we faces battles each and every day that decide whether San Francisco is a livable place for us. Whether it be my father, a hotel cook and UNITE HERE Local 2 member, who has been locked out of work before for being a part of a great struggle for dignity and decent wages; finding a place to call home within my family’s means; holding accountable those who break minimum wage and health ordinances; racial discrimination; or facing those unscrupulous enough to throw families out of their homes for the bottom line. We need Eric, a proven champion for working people, to remain on the Board of Supervisors to fight for us.
I have always known Eric to be someone of great conscience, always so considerate of others and the diversity around us. As a community activist and attorney, he has fought for the civil rights and livelihood of immigrant families like mine. As a labor leader, he has been an ally to people like my father. On the school board, he unceasingly fought for the unrepresented and disenfranchised. As a district supervisor, Eric has worked to create jobs and decent wages for San Franciscans.
Eric is supported by my father’s union, UNITE HERE Local 2, the San Francisco Democratic Party, San Francisco Labor Council and the Sierra Club.
Despite great community support, Eric’s reelection is no guarantee. Independent expenditures from wealthy downtown special interest groups will certainly spend huge sums of money to swiftboat Eric in an attempt to take him down. Polling indicates that the opposition’s distortions of Eric’s record is confusing voters and making the race a close one.
The election is less than two months away. Eric needs the community to rally behind him now to win. It is more urgent now than ever for people to come out to support Eric.
Join the campaign. With your help we can win.
Alan Wong is a labor organizer. He lives in San Francisco and serves on Eric Mar’s kitchen cabinet.