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    All Politics Is Local

    AlexRandolphHeadshot2By Alex Randolph, City College Trustee

    I have been trying very hard for months to get myself out of the Trump Depression. But no amount of Netflix, ice cream, or sleep did the trick. The world around seemed ever darker the moment I watched him take that oath of office. That changed the Saturday after the Inauguration when millions of women and their allies marched across the country and world. Many brought their daughters. Grandparents joined in as well. It was a beautiful day of action and was exactly what I needed. It reminded me that all politics and organizing are local.

    I may not be able to impact anything nationally immediately, but there is so much we can do right here in San Francisco, and I am ready to get back to work. It has been a true privilege to serve on the City College Board of Trustees; I am so excited to have been sworn in to another term earlier this month.

    Sixteen years ago, I almost dropped out of community college. I was broke and feeling hopeless, and was struggling to comprehend how I was going to survive the financial, mental, and emotional costs of another semester without taking on multiple jobs. It was one of my darkest moments. I was lucky enough to have had the support of my family and counselors, who helped me to push through and complete community college, and that has brought me here today.

    I have encountered many students who face the same sense of overwhelming fear when thinking about their paths in life. My story and journey are a powerful example to these students that City College is a place for all San Franciscans regardless of their circumstances, and I am more committed than ever to ensuring that in these difficult times.

    I can’t prevent Trump from deporting millions of undocumented residents. I can’t stop him from rolling back LGBT rights. I can’t stop him from interfering in women’s health decisions. But I sure can make it harder for him to do it here in San Francisco, here at City College. I am so proud that my colleagues and I unanimously passed several resolutions declaring City College a Sanctuary Campus, and ensuring that all of our students have access to affordable higher education. Nobody should stand in the way of others reaching their full potential and fulfilling their dreams of a better life.

    It will also be up to us to push back against a new Secretary of Education who does not believe in the power of public education, and who does not understand what it means to be burdened with thousands of dollars in student loan debt. I hope she will take the time to visit a community college and see the incredible impact education has on students like me.

    The good news is that City College’s accreditation was reaffirmed for a full seven years on lucky Friday the thirteenth. This decision is a major victory and a true testament to the dedication and hard work of the entire City College community. With this dark cloud now lifted, we can make sure that public education locally serves as an example of what this country has always been about.

    In his farewell address President Obama said: “If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose.”

    We lost this time, but the women’s marches showed us what we are capable of when we stand together and show up. Let’s grab those clipboards, do some good old peaceful organizing, and kick some butt!

    Alex Randolph is a Trustee for City College of San Francisco. He previously served in President Obama’s administration and as an LGBT advisor for Mayor Newsom. He lives in the Castro with his partner Trevor. Follow him on social media:  www.twitter.com/adrandolph & www.facebook.com/AlexDRandolph