Photo courtesy Edwin Lindo.

“I am the product of what happens when we invest in our communities,” says Edwin Lindo, candidate for Supervisor of San Francisco’s District 9.

District 9, which includes the Bernal Heights, Portola and inner Mission neighborhoods, is not the home that Lindo remembers as a child. Although raised in this community, Edwin is all too familiar with the consequences of the changing demographics of his childhood home.

Lindo was recently racially profiled while taking out the garbage in his own neighborhood. “I got the police called on me for ‘suspicious behavior’ by one of the new neighbors on my street,” he says.

Instead of cowering to the changing circumstances in his community, he’s taking a stand.

“I believe this is the last opportunity to fight for this district,” Lindo says, and so far he has developed a track record advocating for social justice. Lindo was instrumental in the fight against the privatization of public spaces with the youth of Mission Playground, and was a key strategist for Clean Power SF, a citywide clean energy bill. Moreover, he was one of the lead organizers of the SF Millions March in 2014, which highlighted the Movement for Black Lives along with police reform in SFPD.

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A strong critic of the way gentrification is leaving many poor communities of color in the dust, Lindo wants to work towards a system based on collaborating with, rather than isolating, San Francisco’s most disenfranchised communities.

“When we have unfettered capitalism, it begins to cannibalize itself. There’s been a huge excitement for the tech industry but when there isn’t a vision, you begin to eat at the systems you’ve created. You have to give back to the community that you’re benefitting from,” he says. He refuses to become collateral damage and instead wants to diversify the tech industry by creating a direct pipeline of talent in the Bay Area: “We are importing talent from around the world instead of picking from our own backyards.”

The transformation of a political system that’s currently based on profit is a tall order for just one politician, and Lindo has no delusions of grandeur. Still, he’s hoping that his current campaign will inspire other people who are most impacted by social problems to take a stand and take back their communities.

“When you’re organizing for power, you have to have political vision. We must fight for policies that address the root of the problem. … Systemic change won’t come by one person’s election, but it’s a start,” he says.

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Lindo is tired of elected officials who make important policy decisions without truly understanding the nature of systemic inequity. After growing up with poverty, government assistance and structural racism, Lindo knows what social inequality looks like firsthand. 

Let’s not allow the national election to make us forget about who we vote for locally. Let’s take charge in our communities and give power to those who will advocate for the advancement of local communities — rather than the chosen elite. For more information about Lindo and his campaign, visit http://edwinlindo.com/.

 

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