John Ferrannini, The Bay Area Reporter, May 2, 2020
The Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club issued an apology to San Francisco Mayor London Breed after the progressive political group’s president sent out an email Saturday that used a racist trope in attacking her homeless policies.
The club’s May 2 email, which accused Breed of “hobophobia,” drew scorn from at least one elected official, and the club subsequently apologized on its Facebook page.
Sent around 1 p.m. Saturday to the club’s members, the email lashed out at Breed for “moving so sluggishly” on housing the city’s homeless population in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance earlier this month requiring over 8,000 rooms be leased by April 26, but Breed has asserted that providing emergency staff for the rooms is logistically difficult at this time. Milk club leaders have been among those calling on the mayor to lease the hotel rooms immediately.
However, the club’s emailed criticisms did not end there. It asserted that Breed, who is the city’s first African American female mayor, has instituted policies toward the homeless population that constitute a form of “black on black crime.” The phrase has been called out not only as a racist trope used against black people by white nationalists and others, but also factually inaccurate when looking at crime statistics.
The club apologized for sending the email in a Facebook post.
The club added, “We apologize to Mayor London Breed. We apologize to houseless people who deserve solidarity, not slurs. We apologize for using ‘black-on-black crime,’ a term with a racist history. We apologize to our members, who entrust this club to represent their values. Today’s email failed that trust. We will be convening as a board to understand the lapse in judgment and accountability that allowed this email to go out unchecked.”