Hecklers Boo SF Mayor Ed Lee off Stage at MLK Day Event

Ed Lee (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
Eric Risberg / Associated Press

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was booed off stage by hecklers at an event honoring the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday.

“I will not be a focus of interruptions,” Mayor Lee said just moments before he left the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The protest was apparently connected to a national effort, “96 hours of action,” coordinated through social media and trending along with the #ReclaimMLK hashtag.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am also working for a better city,” Lee said. “I appreciate your listening to me. I heard you. May I speak now?” When it became apparent that the hecklers were not going to stand down, Lee reportedly departed the stage, his speech unfinished.

He posted a message on social media after the event:

Lee has been also been facing scrutiny for creeping gentrification that is misplacing the residents of traditionally black neighborhoods with tech workers and business execs who are better able to afford the staggering wages.

Hhe is not the only Democratic public official who has felt the brunt of anger and frustration from constituents. Attorney General and Senate candidate Kamala Harris has also been criticized by members of the black community, including by fellow Democrats, for not doing enough to make changes in the state’s criminal justice system regarding civil rights, the Los Angeles Times reports.

California State Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) said Harris’s absence from public dialogue over issues of unrest between the black community and the criminal justice system was “noticeable.” According to the Los TimesAssemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) also said he was disappointed last year when Harris did not support legislation that would require the Department of Justice to investigate deadly police shootings independently, the Times notes. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has also criticized Harris. While she praised Harris for increasing transparency on police conduct through the Open Justice website, Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan-African Studies at Cal State L.A., reportedly had criticism of her own. “This is not the time for timidity,” she said. “Martin Luther King said if you tell black people to wait, that means never.”

Photo: file

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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