“Hello everyone, I’m London Breed, and I’m your mayor,” Mayor London Breed said to an audience of around 100 middle and elementary school students in the Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 auditorium Thursday evening. “I am so excited to be here today, not only to read, but also to share how I became Mayor. Do you want know how I became mayor?”
“Yes!” the children screamed.
“I studied hard, I read a lot of books, I listened to my teachers, I listened to my grandmother who raised me, and I worked very hard,” Breed told her youthful audience.
Breed, who was sworn in as mayor less than two months ago, sat down and read Holly Anna’s Daisy Dreamer and the Totally True Imaginary Friend. As she read, she sometimes stopped to chat with the students, asking them about their pets (one kid had two hamsters, but one of them died) and whether anyone “had interest in writing a newspaper — it could be fun!” (She’s not wrong, but most said no).
“She was inspiring people — like, if you want to be a mayor, you can be a mayor,” said Yeraldine, a fourth grader at the school, standing next to her mother.
Yeraldine let it be known that she would not mind being mayor one day. “It seems really fun,” she said, “and you get to inspire people.”
Sylvia Nickolopoulos, a fifth grader, was standing with her mother after the event.
“I think she’s awesome,” Nickolopoulos said. “She really cool because she’s supporting affordable housing. Yeah, I like her.”
She noted that Breed also inspired her to run for office. But she wasn’t so much interested in becoming mayor. “I go big or go home,” Sylvia said. “I’d go for president.”
Monica Chinchilla, who is running for a San Francisco School Board seat — and who on Thursday received an endorsement from Breed — said that it’s positive for children to see a woman of color as mayor.
“Representation reflection is important,” she said. “When our black and brown babies see someone who looks like them in leadership positions, it helps them to aspire to do that as well.”
After signing autographs, taking photos and moving through a throng of children in the auditorium, Breed told Mission Local she had had a similar experience when she was a child. She admitted she was “difficult” as a child. In her early days at Ben Franklin Middle School, she talked back to her teachers, and they “took me out of class.”
But, of all things, she found the school band. “Being a part of the Ben Franklin Middle School band meant you were somebody,” she said. “It really kept me out of a lot of trouble.”
She and the band eventually got the opportunity to play at City Hall for then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein.
“I thought, ‘Oh my god, our mayor is a woman,’” Breed said, as she signed an autograph for a student. “It was the highlight of my childhood.”