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    Shaun in San Francisco

    shaun(Editor’s Note: We are pleased to launch a new column by San Francisco native Shaun Hassan Haines, who has served on the boards of several local LGBT organizations. In the coming weeks, he will address the changing landscape of San Francisco LGBT society, culture and politics. For this first article, however, we asked Shaun to introduce himself to you.)

    My roots in the city have enabled me to form solid connections. To the Bears, Sisters, Fairies, Techies, Hipsters, Missionites, the Leather communities, and my newest friends in San Francisco’s political circles and more, I say this: you have become my extended family. From the Financial District to the Castro, the Mission to the Richmond, Haight to the Excelsior, the Bayview to Fillmore, SoMa to the Sunset, Ingleside to Hayes Valley, and where I live today in Lower Pacific Heights, San Francisco is and forever will be my home and heart.

    I was born in San Francisco General, way back when they referred to it as “The Blood Bath.” Graduating from John O’Connell high school, with a trade certificate in carpentry, much of my classroom time was spent in bungalows. The school was forced to move from the Mission after the Loma Prieta earthquake due to contamination from asbestos, but my passion for learning never faltered.

    In those younger years, I fell in love with photography and writing. I wrote for the San Francisco Teen newspaper and was honored to have my poetry published in a few literary anthologies. In college, at San Francisco State University, I pursued Journalism as a field of study. Truthfully, at that age I had a little more fun taking Jazz, Afro-Haitian, and Modern Dance. I’m excited to return to my roots as a writer.

    I am also educated, trained, certified and experienced as an Information Technology, Project and Operations Management professional. In recent years, I joined the Board of Directors at Alice B. Toklas serving on the communications committee. I volunteer at the Bayard Rustin Coalition as a project manager focusing on Organizational Development. I have also served on the Board of Directors at San Francisco Pride. 2014 is my third year to participate in AIDS/LifeCycle. I enjoy working with the community, organizing events, creating community development plans and building coalitions. I am proud to have promoted awareness of, and raised over ten thousand dollars of funding for, various causes. I have endeavored to do so in ways that support and highlight our heritage, local artists and native cultures.

    Here in the city, our communities are evolving at exponential rates. The inequities of this change for a multitude of groups of all ethnic and economic backgrounds have compelled me to get involved. To obtain a real world education in public service and political process, I made a conscious decision.

    Some years ago, I vowed to take an active role in our community, to help guide that evolution by interacting with all of our diverse groups. I hope to lead by example and motivate a younger generation to join me. Let’s all participate in shaping the future by effecting positive change in our society. The first steps on my journey have taught me valuable lessons. I want to thank all who have helped me along the way, especially the Bay Times for giving me a voice and helping me to share the experiences and prospective of an Old School San Francisco Native.

    The quickest route to failure is not to try.

    Shaun Hassan Haines is a philanthropist, community organizer, LGBT activist, Information Technology Operations Management professional and photographer.