San Francisco’s first African-American woman mayor was sworn in on Wednesday morning, just before noon. The celebration, which took place on the steps of City Hall, comes a little less than a month after it was determined London Breed had won the very tight election against opponents Mark Leno and Jane Kim.
“I grew up just a few blocks from here, but a world away,” Breed said. “The world seemed it had destined me for drugs, teenage motherhood, or even a violent death. But my community, this city, had other plans for me… I stand here today with the hope that other children from public housing can make it here to the mayor’s office.”
As hundreds gathered in Civic Center Plaza, a group of preschoolers from Belvedere Montessori rolled in. Leila Williams, 5, expressed excitement over the event because she says the mayor looks like her. “I think it’s going to be fun,” she said.
Nitty Dupree, who was hired by London as a dance instructor at the African American Arts and Culture Complex when he was 15, brought kids from his summer program at the Nitty Dupree Studio of Dance. Ten-year-old Sarae celebrated her birthday at the inauguration and says she’s excited to have a mayor that will inspire her to follow her dreams.
The event featured a number of S.F. groups, including Chinese lion dancers and the San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus, who sang “we are survivors, we are the ones who stand together.”
Mayors from around the country attended the inauguration, including the leaders of New Orleans, Oakland, San Jose, Columbia SC, and Sacramento.
Former-San Francisco-mayor Dianne Feinstein called in and told Breed she’s the “right mayor and the right time for San Francisco,” as did Senator Kamala Harris, who told her she’s “a true daughter of San Francisco.”
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom swore Breed in at 11:45 a.m as the crowd erupted in cheers.
In her speech, Breed talked about the struggles San Francisco faces.
“I know that our challenges can get in the way of real progress. We have a booming economy. We have an amazing city where there is incredible wealth. And at the same time it’s creating a lot of challenges for our most disadvantaged residents,” she said. “We have failed in building more housing to accommodate the increase in the number of job opportunities into San Francisco, pushing residents who have been here all their lives out of their homes. Our streets are filled with people who unfortunately need our help. They need us in City Hall to make the hard decisions.”
Breed also slammed the progressive and moderate divide in the city, saying it’s time politicians act like adults.
“We are not a tale of two cities,” she said. “We are one San Francisco, and as your mayor, I will do everything I can to unite us and bring us together.”
The inauguration can be watched in full here.