San Francisco's newest mayor, London N. Breed, was sworn in on Wednesday in a ceremony rooted in the historic nature of her election win.
Breed is the first African-American female mayor of San Francisco. She follows Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who was the first woman elected to the post and former Mayor Willie Brown who was the first African American to fill that position.
“I stand at this podium today because a community believed in me, because our city services looked out for me,” Breed said after she was sworn in.
The ceremony included a reference to poet Maya Angelou, verses from “Lift Every Voice and Sing", and the National Anthem.
Growing up in the Western Addition neighborhood, it never seemed possible that I could one day serve as Mayor. I would not be here today without the community that believed in me. I will do everything I can to afford those opportunities to the next generation. #SFMayor pic.twitter.com/3txRovgSQe— London Breed (@LondonBreed) July 11, 2018
Feinstein and other women from California’s congressional delegation congratulated Breed in a video message played at the ceremony.
“After far too long as the only woman mayor of San Francisco, I so proudly welcome you into the club,” Feinstein said. “I have every confidence that you’re going to be the right leader at the right time for our city.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, D.-Calif., the second African-American woman and first South Asian American senator in the United States, said that Breed has “always represented the best of who we are as a city, county, state and country.”
In her speech, Breed referenced the housing and homelessness crisis, referring often to her own experience going up in public housing in the city, as well as her commitment to public safety, police reform, education and protecting the environment.
She also mentioned working to unite the city several times throughout her address, saying at one point, “we can’t let the politics of progressive and moderate, and all of those things that have torn our city apart, get in the way of our ability to deliver for the people of San Francisco.”
Breed won her election by a single percentage point. Some Democrats view her as too close to business and less progressive than several of her counterparts on the Board of Supervisors.
While she did not mention President Trump by name during the ceremony, his presidency and politics hung over the event.
Breed, a strong advocate of the city’s sanctuary policies, said: “We’re going to tell the president that here in San Francisco we don’t put children in cages, we put them in the classrooms.” She’s said on her campaign website and to reporters in the past that she “wouldn’t mind going to jail” to protect immigrant communities.
During the invocation, Rev. Amos C. Brown of the Third Baptist Church said "We are showing and telling that we have elected the right number 45,” referencing the coincidence that Trump is the 45th president, while Breed is the city’s 45th mayor.
San Francisco has a long history of catapulting its mayors onto the national political scene.
Feinstein became San Francisco’s mayor after the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk. She went on to become one of California’s first female senators when she was first elected to that office in 1992.
Harvey Milk, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, became famous nationwide for his LGBTQ advocacy and his work helping to defeat Proposition 6, which sought to ban LGBTQ people from working in California schools.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is currently running for governor in California and administered the oath of office at today’s ceremony, was the city’s 42nd mayor.
Breed has been serving as the city’s acting mayor since the sudden death of Mayor Ed Lee in December of last year.