Woke School Board and Levi Strauss Take Fire in Frisco

AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris


San Francisco has long had a reputation as a bastion of progressivism and a cradle of left-wing social movements. But this week, residents of The Golden City delivered two powerful rebukes to the left-wing extremism that has run rampant within the Democratic Party and many of the country’s most important institutions in recent years.

In the first case, San Francisco parents overwhelmingly ousted three school board members in a recall effort started in response to school closures and the woke political agenda of the board.

At the same time, Jennifer Sey, a San Francisco mom of four public school students and a now-former top executive at Levi’s, decided she had finally had enough of the bullying and intimidation tactics that she had been subject to at Levi’s as a result of her public statements that school closures were harming children. Instead of taking a $1 million severance package from Levi’s for her silence, she quit and is now telling the world her story.

San Francisco’s public schools first became the subject of controversy in the fall of 2020 as the school board announced that the city’s schools would not reopen for in-person learning. At the same time as the board was stubbornly refusing to put kids back in classrooms, however, they embarked on a crusade to purge more than one-third of the city’s school names, including schools named to honor George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, Paul Revere, and even devout liberal and incumbent California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Echoing progressive-led efforts elsewhere in the country, the board also voted in the fall of 2020 to start using a race-based lottery system, rather than test scores and grades, to determine admission decisions to Lowell High School, the most prestigious public high school in the city.

Parents were quick to take issue with both decisions and launched a recall effort in January of 2021. On Tuesday, three members of San Francisco’s school board, Alison Collins, Faauuga Moliga, and Gabriela López (the board president), were removed from their posts, with more than 70 percent of voters supporting the recall effort. All seven of the board’s members are Democrats, but only these three were eligible to be recalled.

Notably, the parent coalition that ousted the members was made up largely of self-described Democrats working to restore some semblance of sanity to what they viewed as wokeism gone wild in their schools. Siva Raj and Autumn Looijen, the two parents who launched the recall effort and frequent Democratic voters in the past, appeared on conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s radio show to discuss the recall, making clear that they were committed to working with conservatives to remove the school board members.

Asian American voters, who makeup 34% of the city’s population but typically only about 18% of the electorate, also turned out in unusually large numbers, many of them upset over the change in admissions policies to Lowell, which is predominantly made up of Asian American students. Ms. Collins, the board’s former vice president who voted in favor of the change, had also previously tweeted a number of statements that suggested a clear bias against Asian Americans, including accusing Asian American students of using “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’”

Even San Francisco Mayor London Breed, a self-avowed progressive, endorsed the recall campaign, accusing the school board of becoming “distracted” by “political agendas.” Breed will be in charge of appointing replacements for the school board members who were recalled.

One parent who had been particularly active in opposing the school shutdowns was Jennifer Sey, the former Levi’s executive. Sey was an avid supporter of Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign, but despite her progressive politics and support for left-wing social movements, Sey committed the cardinal sin of opposing school shutdowns from the beginning of the pandemic. She became one of the most vocal critics on the left of shutdowns, going on TV and publishing op-eds highlighting how the threat from school closures for children was far greater than the threat from the virus.

As Sey describes in a recent Substack post, she was subject to relentless attacks from her coworkers and superiors for her views, and told to quiet down about school closures. Eventually, she was fired from Levi’s and offered that $1 million to not talk about why she was pushed out – but she refused.

Sey is someone who would typically be considered the epitome of a West Coast liberal. In this case, however, she was branded as a racist, anti-science, and a Donald Trump supporter simply for voicing her opinion that schools should remain open.

Sey would not be silenced, however, and neither would the other parents who rose up and demanded change. Now, the message they sent with their recall effort will no doubt reverberate not just around San Francisco, but the rest of the country as well. It was a similar message that voters sent in Virginia last year, when they elected Glenn Youngkin largely based on his promise to lift pandemic restrictions, restore parents’ rights in schools, and protect traditional American values in the face of relentless attacks from radical progressive ideologies.

If they can seize the opportunity, Republicans and conservative candidates now appear to have an opening to become the party of parents, committed to restoring public education to its original purpose. Most schools are now back to in-person learning (although many still require students to wear masks despite ample scientific evidence pointing to the ineffectiveness of the practice). But many parents likely will not forget or forgive the generational harm wrought on their children by politicians who were more concerned with politics than “the science.”

So as Democrats throughout the country slowly begin to distance themselves from the school closures, lockdown policies, and radical social agenda they once embraced, they may soon find themselves running up against an uncomfortable reality: If parents have had enough of it in San Francisco, it’s a safe bet they’ve had enough of it everywhere else, too.

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David Reinhsrt
5 months ago

Don’t give Ms Sey too much credit. She’s still a left of center liberal, and I’m willing to bet she still either owns all her Levi’s stock or sold it st a very good profit. Whichever, I am sure her net worth is many times that million.

5 months ago

I so agree with your comments.

kenneth babick
5 months ago

after more than 50 years of wearing Levi brand jeans- When Levi became so ‘woke’ I am now a Wrangler wearer

5 months ago

I’m going home and burn all 3 pair of levi’s that I have in my closet! If the fire department and police show up and ask what I’m doing, I’m going to tell them that I am getting rid of another communist produced product.
Kudos to Jennifer Sey for not allowing a company to silence her and her beliefs. We should all be so brazen in our beliefs!

Tim Toroian
5 months ago

Leftists are saying the extreme right instigated this but SEVENTY-THIRTY in California much less San Francisco? Stupidity and Ignorance to articulate that.

5 months ago

I just sent an e mail to Levi’s to let them know I won’t support a leftist “woke” Black Lies Matter supporting company who censors their employee’s speech.
(415) 501-6000 is Levi’s headquarters.

Red Valley
5 months ago
Reply to  EAA

Good on you! I just did the same thing!

5 months ago
Reply to  EAA

I will do so too.

Dyana G Hilliard
5 months ago

No more Levis for me!!!!! Haven’t bought any for a long, long time anyway, but sure won’t ever again!

jake the snake
5 months ago

well it couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people.
No really it couldn’t. if they were nicer they would not have been authoritarian asses and they would not be under attack.
So I hope people keep attacking their evil authoritarian buts for a long time

anna hubert
5 months ago

if the school and teaching system is to be repaired the fed dep of edu would have to go first teachers would have to teach not indoctrinate kids would learn Johny would be able to read is there a giant who could tackle that monster and there is another monstrosity the union should teachers be hired on merit half would be without the job

MJ Cunningham
5 months ago

Good for Jennifer Sey. We need more people with a stiff backbone and solid resolve that she has demonstrated. Based on her business background and her courage, maybe she should run for elected office.

Judy K.
5 months ago
Reply to  MJ Cunningham

Don’t push it…..she still admits to being a Democrat.

Nathan Moore
5 months ago

The elation of beating the other side, has brought a once sane, American centered, freedom loving party into the ditch of their making by jerking the party toward what they thought was “working”. To their peril they failed to add reason to the ideas which would curb instead of ditch the party away from the heart of the American people. Now the Democratic party has not only pulled the run out from under their very own, but pulled the foundations of their party as well. A party with no foundation is a party lead by lies and no one is held to account unless you have strayed and said enough..

Nathan Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Moore

Pulled the “RUG” not run. not able to modify after posting.

Judy K.
5 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Moore

Yeah, been there, done that. I read over my comments twice now before I post them. Good comment, by the way…which initialed is; btw. Just letting you know for when I use those initials.

5 months ago

Levi Strauss had no problem moving there manufacturers overseas, yes, they left their headquarter in SF but still paid people less, and pocketed more. I would bet if you were to look closely, you would find extremely lucrative deductions on their corporate tax bill and their city property taxes

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