Siva Raj, a recall organizer with children in fourth and 10th grades, said the renaming campaign is one of several social justice issues the board focused on while schools remained closed. Board members also changed the admission policies of an elite public high school in an attempt to diversify its student body and rejected a gay father seeking to join a volunteer parent advisory board because he did not qualify as a diverse member.
“We are trying to take a school system that has fallen to rock bottom and lift it up to a better place,” said Mr. Raj.
Christine Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and mother to a seventh-grader in the district, said she is undecided on the recall but wants to hear the school board members acknowledge that they failed students.
“A lot of parents felt extremely unheard,” she said, “and to be told that our concerns are just because we’re not politically correct or that we’re being partisan or elitist does a disservice to what’s actually happening here.”
David Thompson has served as the recall campaign’s unofficial mascot as “Gaybraham Lincoln,” a character who sports a rainbow beard, tie-dye faux fur and silver pleather pants at campaign events in a satire of the school renaming debate.
“This is not about being anti-woke,” said Mr. Thompson, whose 10-year-old son is Black and attended a largely Latino school in the Mission neighborhood until late last year. “It’s just waking up to the fact that the board has an ideological agenda which is completely out of sync with most San Franciscans.”