A November election candidate for the City College of San Francisco board of trustees posted controversial opinions condemning critical race theory, often referred to as CRT, in a since-deleted tweet.
The revelation on Twitter of an earlier comment by board candidate Marie Hurabiell is now prompting a Democratic club in the city to reopen talks about their endorsement for her, the club president told KQED.
In the tweet, which was posted in May 2021, Hurabiell wrote, “CRT was a tactic used by Hitler and the KKK.” These were not his words; instead, Hurabiell was amplifying a speaker’s remarks at a school board meeting in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Then Hurabiell added, in his own words, “Gratitude to this strong and passionate parent for fighting this dangerous nonsense.”
Critical Race Theory is an academic school of thought that teaches how racism is embedded in United States systems and policies. He entered the national spotlight last year as a bogeyman of Tories seeking to castigate local school boards. The starkly critical theory of race on school campuses is part of a number of efforts by conservatives to reform school boards across the country over the past year, including banning books promoting racial equity and LGBTQ+ themes.
Outrage against the CRT is usually reserved for screeds on ultraconservative sites like Breitbart, or on President Donald Trump’s social network, Truth Social. It’s certainly not a daily topic of conversation in liberal San Francisco.
The Virginia school board meeting came amid heated rhetoric against then-gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin’s critical theory of race. After winning the race, Youngkin issued an executive order to end “inherently divisive concepts,” which he touted as a way to end the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools. .
Fanning the flames against critical race theory was at the heart of Republicans in his race, but in Democratic San Francisco, Hurabiell may have found a sympathetic ear for those opinions from people wanting to recall several local school board members.
In the deleted tweet, Hurabiell tagged numerous accounts, including a San Francisco Board of Education recall account called @recallsfboe that belongs to a group now called the SF Guardians. This group worked to successfully recall school board commissioners Gabriela López, Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga.
“I think that was a really stupid thing that I said,” Hurabiell told KQED. “I think it was really stupid that I retweeted it and I’m extremely sorry for that.”
Hurabiell said she believes systemic racism is a “real problem” in the country.
“In my life, I haven’t spent much time digging into CRT, but I’m trying to understand it better now,” she said. “I’m always open to being wrong.”
When asked if she usually calls things she doesn’t know “dangerous nonsense,” she replied, “I don’t routinely talk about things I’m not very familiar with.”
Hurabiell is an eighth-generation San Franciscan and has been a lawyer since the 1990s. She also serves on the board of trustees of Georgetown University. A strong supporter of the campaigns to remove the three members of the San Francisco Board of Education and District Attorney Chesa Boudin, she is also a member of the nonprofit organization Stop Crime SF, which was started by the presidential candidate. Supervisory Board Joel Engardio.
Adele Failes-Carpenter, political director of the City College of San Francisco faculty union, AFT Local 2121, said Hurabiell’s views are out of step with the college’s mission.
“We need public education to keep our commitment to ending racism central to our work,” she said. “Anyone who participates in open and reactionary attacks on critical examinations of the history of race and racism in this country is not in a position to help us do this work.”
Hurabiell has been endorsed by at least two local Democratic clubs in her run so far this year: the Eastern Neighborhoods Democratic Club and the United Democratic Club. These endorsements can be especially important in political races that don’t have as much funding, such as short-ballot college board races.
When contacted by text message, Eastern Neighborhoods Democratic Club President Bruce Agid said he was unaware of Hurabiell’s critical race theory tweet and would discuss his point. of view with the board of directors of his club. Bobak Esfandiari, chairman of the United Democratic Club, did not respond to text messages asking for the club’s endorsement of Hurabiell.
Failes-Carpenter said clubs should reconsider their endorsements.
“I would ask them to stand with students and public educators who are committed to fighting racism within our public institutions and within our educational institutions, not endorsing and supporting openly hostile candidates. anti-racist analyzes and anti-racist teaching,” she said.
Hurabiell’s endorsement by two Democratic clubs may be an odd choice for another reason: For two decades, Hurabiell was a Republican. She was appointed to the Presidio Trust board, where she served for three years, by former President Donald Trump in 2018.
Records from the San Francisco Department of Elections show she had been a registered Republican in San Francisco since at least 2000, which is as far back as more readily available records could reveal. She changed her party preference to Democrat on August 18, 2022 – six days after filing paperwork to run for the City College of San Francisco board of trustees.
San Francisco Democratic Party President Honey Mahogany said the organization’s bylaws don’t specify how long a person must be registered as a Democrat before a Democratic club can endorse them. Additionally, Democratic clubs are allowed to endorse anyone from any party in nonpartisan races, such as for the City College board of trustees.
Hurabiell reportedly had an uphill battle to run as a Republican in San Francisco, where the party is heavily disadvantaged in local elections.
San Francisco has no elected Republicans in power. The last Republican elected in San Francisco was the late James Fang, who previously served on BART’s board of directors. He was first elected in 1990 and served until his defeat in 2014.
Hurabiell said she changed her party membership after joining a group called ‘No Labels’ and finding moderate Democrats who agreed with her on issues but didn’t like her being known as a member. of the Republican Party.
“We just wanted to solve problems. We just wanted to work together and make positive changes in our community,” she said.
The San Francisco Chronicle praised Hurabiell during her 2020 run for the college board of trustees — which she lost — endorsing her for her “tax savvy.” Indeed, in her interview with KQED, she said she wants to put City College on a financially solvent path and expressed concern that too many courses still offered are under-enrolled.
When Hurabiell said she didn’t know much about CRT, we asked her if she believed in other progressive causes that might be enjoyed at City College, like the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I’m not sure I fully understand this move,” she said, repeating her same explanation for having no position on CRT. While George Floyd’s death left her “disgusted and devastated,” she said, “I want to say yes to that, but again, I’m not sure I understand enough.”
Responding to Hurabiell’s repeated claims of not understanding both the CRT and the Black Lives Matter movement, Jane Kim, state director of the California Working Families Party – who championed and won City College’s free tuition during her tenure on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors – bristled.
“Look, it’s one thing for an individual in our society or to say they don’t know much about critical race theory or Black Lives Matter, but if you’re a candidate running to represent over 800,000 people in San Francisco, many of whom are people of color, so I think it’s your job to understand those things,” Kim said. “If you don’t understand the black community, the Latino community, the API community, then you shouldn’t run for office.”