tv Mayors Press Availability SFGTV August 3, 2022 8:30am-9:01am PDT
culture and the emergence of gay community, lgbtq, it was not even called that then. >> so like any good listening back then, i played softball and a friend on the team said, the fire department is recruiting women. i took the test in 88 and 89 i got hired. and i always say this, it was like a perfect career, it was like social work, i love that connecting and helping people aspect and physical. so i was like a social worker with an ax basically. and i just thought, this is like, this is it, i hit the jackpot. part of my story is, i grew up across the street from a fire station and as a young girl, i
use today love going in there and would go in there whenever my parents voted, they the old fashion voting machines. sxifs in awe of the place but i never saw anybody that looked anything like me. it was all men, it was all white men and so, i never knew that i could do that. this was in the 70s. and i worked in several different things and i was at the pride parade in 1991. >> and the chief of the department, she i did give her courtesy card to come in, i remember it to this day, june 30th. the hand and hand together and i was with a friend of mine and fire fighter named anita prattly came up to me and we had a mutual friend and we didn't meet. and she came by the table and as soon as i looked at her, i
said hi o to my friend, i could see she was super athletic. >> and she knew my friend and she said hey, do you want to be a fire fighter, here's an interest card, join us. >> there was something about her that could roll with the punches and also give a few punches. she would be great and i just knew it. i did give her the courtesy card. it was my greatest achievement. >> and it was something i saw myself, yeah, i love a good crisis. and i'm good in crisis and i'm good on thinking on my feet. and i'm you know, super fit and physical, maybe i can do this awesome. >> but just in terms of pride in general, being able to go to pride and be who we are and be who i am, it's like the sense
of digity and equality and inclusion. i was always incredibly proud to represent the community and to be doing service for the community, because that's what i love doing. >> coming to san francisco for me, was really key because i love the city. the city is so vibrant and diversity is really, it's one of its treasures. so being part of a department that represents diversity is huge and so important to me that we welcome everyone. and not just face value, truly to integrate to have diversity, have representation not just on the fire fighter level but all levels in this department, all ranks up and down the chain of command. it's huge and it's, stepping in
as a woman of color as part of the lgbtq community, means more than just myself, right. i represent more than just myself. but as a leader, other people in this department, other people in the community that are looking at me and seeing that there is space for them. and so that is really creating space for everyone. >> when i first joined the military, it was still under don't ask don't tell. i had to be super cautious about what i was doing. i was still figuring out what i was doing. i joined when i was 19, i knew i was part of the community i was not accepting yet. my first duty station was officer guam and that's where i got to explore who i was. and being under the umbrella of
don't ask don't tell, and having a friend being separated because he was gay. it was very rule. had you to make sure that you were following the rules you needed to do everything you need today do. i was fortunate to be there when don't ask don't tell was repealed. you find people who are making a big deal about it, the next day everybody went to work like nothing happened. we were accepted and nobody made a big deal about it. work performance was even better because you didn't have to hide something and worry about hiding. the transition from that world into this one is basically the exact same. i was able to just jump in and just you know, not even test the waters. >> i grew up with firefighters,
my uncle and cuss infor a volunteer department in canada. here it's quite different, bigger department, a lot of different people. you know, just working with san francisco i really enjoy having all the different personalities, background, experiences, i'm a pro lead rhyme now. i'm a year into my probation and i'm already finished. and i felt like everybody has brought me in and show me what they know. and regardless of my sexuality, my gender, my race, i was 28 when i decided to change my career and go any different direction. i'm 35 now just starting out in a whole different field. >> san francisco has a large population of lgbtq community in general and our department is reflective on that. the one thing i love about the san francisco fire department,
is we do look like the community we serve and we're making every strife to reflect that. so even in our out reach, recruitment efforts, we're trying to make sure that every single person including the lgbtq community has an opportunity to become a member of our department. soz a subpoena officer, it's important to make sure that i welcome my crew. that includes every single member that is on my apparatus, i feel we can do a better job. >> my dad was a football coach and he taught me to persevere and be committed and i'm showing that i'm doing that. i'm very proud to say that i get to start my career off as a fire fighter for the san francisco fire department. and i'm proud to be who i am, proud to be all the colors that i represent, proud to be, you
know, i love being a woman in the department and to feel comfortable with who i am and very secure and excited to come to work. >> you know, one thing my mom also en grained anything we set our heart to and anything we wanted to do, the only thing stopping us was us. it's my dream to be a fire department member and i'm here, being changed because of who i was and now being able to out and proud of who i am, it's, i feel it should mean something. >> it's important as a san francisco fire fighter, that we understand the community that we serve. it's important that our department is made up of different genders, different ethnicities, different sexual orientations, because the community that we serve need to
reflect the apparatus. >> i've seen, i've seen the evolution of this department, i've seen it change through the years. we're in a better place than we were many years ago. i think we continue to evolve. i'm really hopeful for this next generation of leaders who do smart, determined, lead with heart and i'm hopeful for our future for this department going forward. >> we're your department. we're here for you. we're you and that, and i really believe that san francisco really embodies that. i tell you, it was the greatest decision i ever made. i kept thinking, my gosh if i didn't play softball i wonder if i would have heard about it. it's funny you plan in life and gu to college and you plan your next steps, but the most profound decision nz life, is how you meet people are random.
i was meant to be i think and it was such a great fit being that social worker with the ax, that's it. >> so i see san francisco and san francisco leadership and government as a beacon for the entire country. because we are so up front about what we believe in, we're really up front about inclusivity and i know that, others look at us, many look to us. we've had other departments, contact us in terms of how do you, how do you do this? how do you create a diverse equitable and inclusive workforce? and so, but i would be lying if i said that we don't have any problems in california or in san francisco or in the department.
we are out liars, sure? are we doing our best again to address those things with implicit bias training? with changing the culture, our department has made huge huge leaps as has the city and i really feel like san francisco is part of the solution to moving forward in a better way. people are individuals, there are a lot of different types of people in this world and celebrating our differences is what pride is all about.
is r. my name is debra alvarez rodriguez. i'm the deputy director in san francisco. my background is one in which i have spent the entirety of my life committed to finding solution to poverty and addressing the issues of inequity so people and communities can have accesses to resources and financial freedom. one thing true anode dear to my heart was the power of business ownership in creating pathways to financial freedom. we have still in infancy. we had over 100 entrepreneurs
come and start their businesses. some are food trucks. some are restaurants. some are in farmer's markets and so farther. that's an incredible legacy and record to build upon. this was the perfect opportunity for me to come back home, you know, come back to the neighborhood and take my skills and networks and resources and put it backseat in service of the community. given everything with racial reckoning and pandemic it was time for me and everyone else that had the opportunity to leave and get educated to come back home. we have a opportunity to grow our impact in terms of the number of people we serve and how we serve them. we grow our impact in taking the money we make with our entrepreneurs and circulate those resources back interview the community for community