During an online meeting in Jan. 2021, Shamann Walton became Black history. He is the first Black man elected president of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors.
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"As the first Black man to serve in this role," Supervisor Walton explains, "I really think what it does for the young people that I've worked with over the years in isolated disenfranchised communities, as you look at the small Black population that we have left, I think it really sets the tone for our young people to understand and know that they can be anything they want and serve any role and leadership as a Black man in this city."
Born in San Francisco, Walton grew up in public housing in Bayview and Potrero Hill. He now represents that area as District 10 supervisor. In 2020, Walton gained national attention for introducing the CAREN Act, which makes racially biased 911 calls illegal. He also established the advisory committee that is looking into reparations for Black San Franciscans.
"We are the first city to have two reparations laws on the books," Walton says. "And we're going to get this done working together."
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While the issues facing the Black community aren't new, Walton says being in the position to make change is.
"I was elected to do a job," Walton says. "We said the things that we were going to fight for equity, social justice, making sure that our low income communities, Black populations have opportunity to thrive. And so once you get in that role, you can't be scared to do the job. You have to be vocal, you have to focus on the things that you say you're going to do, and work with the people to help you get it done. And so I think that is fortunate that we've been blessed to be in this role, and that we've had opportunity to make the change that we say we're gonna fight for, and it's not always easy. But I think if you stand on the side of right, and you do the things that you say you're going to do, things turn out to work to the better."
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