The Legacy Of Art Agnos

Kick-off Cocktail Reception for the 15th Anniversary of the Leo T. McCarthy Center at USF

The Foghorn’s editor-in-chief, Ali DeFazio, a McCarthy alumnae who participated in the the USF in DC program, recently interviewed former Mayor Art Agnos, who is the recipient of the inaugural Leo T. McCarthy Center award for Public Service. He is being honored at this week’s McCarthy Center’s 15th anniversary on November 9th.  His former colleague, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, is the special guest speaker for the event. Both of them were mentored by Leo T. McCarthy. Ali and Mayor Agnos discussed his impressive career, which included fighting the AIDS crisis in the city, standing up against housing developers and promoting diversity hiring, appointing people of color and LGBTQ individuals to key leadership roles in his administration. The interview highlights why Mayor Art Agnos is a model for public service and the common good. Read the full interview here.

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Defending the Sacred in a Militarized Police State at Standing Rock

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Alexis Stanley

Alumna, Former Advocate for Community Engagement ’15

On the evening of Sunday, November 20th I was returning home after a week up in Standing Rock, North Dakota. This was the same night unarmed water protectors, just north of the main Oceti Sakowin camp attempted to remove the cement barricades and burned cars blocking the public 1806 Highway. Water protectors were met with water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades. Despite this being outright inhumane and completely unnecessary it does speak to cycle of violence inflicted upon Native lands and communities since settlers first arrived.

This fight to protect water and defend sacred sites has been met with a corporate police state military invasion of a sovereign tribal nation. Dakota Access is protected and supported by North Dakota’s National Guard, Morton County Sheriff’s Department and State police. Behind their razor wire barricades, humvees, tactical security walls, snipers, and riot gear outfits, we see the ongoing willingness to exert violence and force guided by colonialism.

I had been following the social media coverage rather closely in the months leading up to my arrival in Standing Rock. While I thought I went in with little expectations, I was still surprised to see what was actually taking place on the ground. There was a heavy surveillance presence throughout the entire area. Drones consistently flew above day and night, along with several helicopters and small planes. Atop rolling grassy hills are large flood lights that Dakota Access shines directly into the camps at night. All of these intimidation tactics are to instill fear, paranoia, and disrupt the work being done on the frontline. To me, this militarized police state at the hands of corporate interests shows that even with all the armor and disposable resources, they are still terrified to go head to head with unarmed Natives and their allies that are led by prayer and unwavering stance to protect Mother Earth.

There is very heavy emphasis when inside the camp that this is prayer and resistance driven camp where drugs, alcohol and weapons absolutely have no place there. Throughout the entire camp, work is constantly being done, from construction, art, cooking, organizing, and ceremony. This isn’t Coachella. Snow has already arrived, and in the last several weeks people have been in hardcore preparation mode to be ready for the increasingly cold winter to come.

With Standing Rock being an indigenous centered space, I was still slightly surprised to see the majority of the camp to be non-Native. Based on my own observations, it was clear to see how even within the different sub-camps, with majority of the camp being with non-Native allies this presents a lot of questions and challenges. Allies are crucial in this fight to defend the water, but there is a need to continue to have open conversations on intentions and impacts in Native-led spaces where tribal leadership and wisdom may be new concepts for you but must be respected at the same time.

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On Thursday, November 17th, a large group of us, water protectors, rolled out to Bismarck and Mandan, ND to rally outside a Federal courthouse demanding that President Obama take immediate action to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from being constructed. We then proceeded to march and circle the Morton County Correctional Center where the Morton Country Sheriff is headquartered. Water protectors chanted to demand the release of Red Fawn Fallis, a water protector who is facing charges of attempted murder after authorities claimed she fired shots at law enforcement while she was being arrested during the October 27th raid on the Oceti Sakowin 1851 treaty land encampment. Some of local town “counter protestors” had plenty of choice words for us when participating in peaceful direct action, which was mostly comical, but unsettling all the same. It’s almost hard to conceptualize why they consider water protectors “terrorists” for standing their ground. When in turn, it was these same communities north of Bismarck who feverishly opposed the pipeline being constructed closer to their communities and would have threatened their water supplies, but their opposition wasn’t met with this strong of a military presence.

On Friday, November 18th, the International Indigenous Youth Council led a direct action at the barricade north of the Oceti Sakowin camp. Hundreds of water protectors and allies stood, sat, and knelt at the bridge to pray and stand in solidarity. In those moments, I felt connected to land we stood on, the water, and I felt calm and empowered to be alongside the protectors and allies defending our life source and sovereignty as indigenous peoples.

Being able to go up there and experience some of what is taking place on the frontlines is something that will always stick with me. I felt a personal calling to stand in solidarity largely because I grew up respecting, cherishing and understanding that water is sacred. My mother’s family is from the Navajo Nation, and in Navajo (Diné) something that has always resonated with me is “Tó éí ííńá át’é” which means “water is life”. Similarly, the Lakota way of saying this phrase is also “Mni Wiconi” which can be heard randomly exclaimed throughout the camps at Standing Rock as a way to get people pumped up. As a Diné woman, I embrace the notion that we are our ancestors prayers in the flesh, we are the seventh generation, and I support and stand with our relative who are putting it all on the line to protect our waters, our lands, and our people.

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Meet our 2016-17 Advocates for Community Engagement (ACEs)

Advocates for Community Engagement are socially responsible, civically engaged student leaders who facilitate meaningful service-learning experiences for USF students, faculty, and their host organizations. Primarily, ACEs act as liaisons to ensure the needs and expectations of all stakeholders are accounted for and prioritized. Each ACE makes a one-year commitment to work onsite at Bay Area nonprofit organizations. Meet our current cohort of ACEs  and learn about their hopes and expectations for the coming academic year.

 

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 Nell Bayliss

Major: Critical Diversity Studies

Minor: Public Service and Community Engagement

Year: Junior

Living Learning Community: Martin-Baró Scholars 

Nell Bayliss was born and raised in Washington D.C. and that fact ignites her passion for studying Critical Diversity Studies. She is was a part of both the Martin-Baró Scholars and Esther-Madríz Diversity Scholars living learning communities. She is excited to bring her experience from  both living learning communities into her ACE position this year.

 

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Alejandro Cuevas

Major: Latin American Studies

Minor: Dual Degree in Teaching Program

Year: Senior

Living Learning Community: Erasmus  

Alejandro’s experiences both on campus and off campus have prepared him for his role as an Advocate for Community Engagement in multiple ways. His involvement as a student in Erasmus this last year has impacted his view on service learning and issues globally. Experiences doing community organizing have helped him develop skills that will support his involvement as an advocate for community engagement. He is excited to grow as a student and supporting students through their service learning experience.

 

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Amanda Geraldo

Major: Communication Studies

Minor: Theater

Year: Senior

Community Partner Site: Upward Bound

After studying abroad in London last semester, Amanda is very excited to be back as an ACE. In addition to this role, she is actively involved on campus with Dance Generators, Magis Emerging Leadership Program, Lambda Pi Eta, and the Arrupe Immersion program. She has always had a passion for working with youth and is excited to continue exploring this passion through her ACE partnership this year.

 

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Alexa Gonzalez

Major: Politics // International Studies // Latin American Studies

Year: Senior

Community Partner Site: Viviendas Leon

Alexa grew up in Nogales, Sonora—a border town where you can travel from Mexico to the United States in less than 10 minutes. One of her most rewarding college experiences has been working with environmental groups to complete an independent research project focusing on analyzing social resistances emerging in response to the extractivist agribusiness model in the Industrial Belt in Rosario, Argentina. She is very excited to work with Vivendas Leon and support service learners in their projects.

 

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Greta Karisny

Major: Sociology

Minor: Public Service and Community Engagement

Year: Senior

Community Partner Site: 826 Valencia-Tenderloin Center

Greta’s second year as an ACE  is spent working in partnership with 826 Valencia for the 2016/17 school year.She loves being a part of the ACE community and the space it creates for positive discussions towards social justice, community-building, and personal growth. Last year she partnered with Upward Bound USF and had an incredible experience working with the organization, service learning students, and the students that they serve. She had the opportunity to do her direct service with their after-school program at Mission High School and fell in love with the students and the school.Her time at Mission was one of the most positive experiences she’s had at the ACE program and throughout her college career. She is so excited to begin to build relationships with students at 826 this year and to be able to see their growth as the school year continues.

 

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Kiana Rai Martinez

Major: Double major in Sociology and Critical Diversity Studies with a Minor in Public Service and Community Engagement

Year: Junior

Living Learning Community: Esther Madriz Diversity Scholars Living Learning Community

Kiana was a member of cohort ten of the Esther Madriz Diversity Scholars prompting her to pursue a role that gave her the chance to continue working with the program. She enjoys surrounding herself with people who challenge her to think critically and flourish — just two of the traits she sees in the Esther Madriz Scholars, year after year.

 

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Sonia Hurtado Ureño

Major: Sociology and Latin American Studies

Year: Senior

Community Partner Site: Mission Graduates

Sonia Hurtado Ureno was born in Fremont, California to Mexican immigrants. Her experiences as a low income, first generation Chicana has led her to participate in activist efforts during her time at USF. As an ACE, she looks forward to working with first generation college bound students and current students.

 

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Chiweta Uzoka

Major: Politics

Minor: Legal Studies

Year: Junior

Community Partner Site: Bayview Hunter’s Point Community Legal

Chiweta Rozaline Uzoka is Secretary of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated – Tau Tau Chapter, President of Sister Connection, and a member of the Black Student Union here at USF. She was also a member of Esther Madriz Diversity Scholars living-learning community and is currently a peer mentor in this community as well. She is excited to be working with Bayview Legal and moving towards universal access to legal services and representation.

 

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Miriam Uribe

Major: Politics, Latin American Studies, and International Studies

Year: Junior

Community Partner Site: Generation Citizen

During her time here at USF, Miriam has been a strong advocate for more resources for undocumented students in our community. It has been an experience that has allowed her to reflect on the power of story telling to create change. She is excited to work with Generation Citizen this year and redefine what “citizenship” means.

 

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Vivienne Pismarov

Major: Psychology/Legal Studies

Year: Sophomore

Community Partner Site: Faithful Fools

Vivienne Pismarov is a first-year ACE who is excited to explore social justice issues with the McCarthy Center. She was part of the Martín-Baró Scholars Living-Learning Community here at USF last year where she first became interested in engaging issues of diversity and homelessness in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Additionally, Vivienne is interested in how legal policies in San Francisco can be modified or created to help better address homelessness, women’s rights issues, and environmental problems.

 

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Nichole Vasquez

Major: Kinesiology

Year: Senior

Community Partner Site:Family House

On campus, Nichole has had different experiences that have prepared her for the ACE role. Her first service experience in college was as a democracy coach with Generation Citizen, where she facilitated a class of seventh graders leading them through a service project. Her experience with Generation Citizen sparked a passion for service that she is excited to continue this year with Family House!

 

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Seeing LGBTQ Struggles Through Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s Eyes

Master of Arts in Urban Affairs

Chris Bardales
Master of Arts in Urban Affairs Candidate 2016

Having the opportunity as a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs student, to take part in a 2-day seminar with the iconic former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano was nothing short of extraordinary. To be in the presence of a legendary progressive activist like Tom was something I will never forget.

Tom AmmianoIn the first part of our session we watched the award winning documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk, with special commentary from Tom. Although having seen the documentary a handful of times, I am always moved to tears and never grow tired of re-learning about the historic struggles that the LGBTQ community had to endure in order for me to enjoy the privilege of rights I have today.

On the second day of our workshop, we were able to have an intimate Q&A with Tom on a variety of topics ranging from Harvey Milk, legislative policy and the gentrification of displaced communities in San Francisco’s history. With a breadth of knowledge on the history of San Francisco and an impressive resume of political achievements, it was an honor to receive such great advice from Tom. Although only lasting about three hours, I found myself thinking that I could have spent the whole day engaging in conversation with such a legend.

As part of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, I take pride in continuing to fight for the progressive values that Harvey would be surely fighting for if he were with us today. Although our community has come along way in the past 40 years, there is still much work that needs to be done in order for all marginalized individuals to attain basic civil rights.

Tom gave me the motivation to continue fighting for the rights of all oppressed people. Thank you Tom for being a great leader, a great role model and an aspiration to us all!

Tom Ammiano