SAN FRANCISCO - On Tuesday, fighting back tears as they spoke, San Francisco Supervisors Dean Preston and Hillary Ronan introduced a resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza, joining the cities of Richmond and Oakland in publicly condemning the conflict.
The resolution calls for a sustained ceasefire, an influx of humanitarian aid, the release of all hostages, and the condemnation of antisemitism, Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian hate.
Since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas which resulted in the death of more than 1,200 Israelis, over 15,000 Palestinians have been killed and an estimated 1.7 million displaced, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
Preston stated his intentions were to add the city's voice to the chorus of international human rights organizations and humanitarian organizations, countries, cities, labor unions and city residents who are calling for an end to the violence, destruction and death taking place overseas.
His introduction was followed by 40 seconds of applause and cheers from a packed chamber. Members of the public called, "You got this, Dean!" as he struggled to speak.
"Just this morning, I heard from a Palestinian-American friend here in San Francisco who informed me..." said Preston, pausing to wipe tears. "Seven more members of my family have been killed overnight, and at least 100 have already been killed since Oct. 7th. Meanwhile, Jews are still in shock with the Oct. 7th massacre fulfilling the worst fears and nightmares of so many of us."
Ronan was equally as passionate.
"I must, I must! It's in my blood," she said as she recalled seeing the tattooed numbers on the forearm of her great uncle when she was a child, who survived Auschwitz. "I must speak out loudly against the overwhelming killing of innocent lives in Gaza, including close to 7,000 children."
"The resolution actually condemns no one," said Samer Araabi from the Accountability Council, a nonprofit that helps small communities hurt by international development projects. He spoke before the meeting on behalf of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.
"Ceasefires require a high degree of cooperation, so it leads to a sort of mutual trust-building process that allows for a de-escalation," said Araabi, who studied the dynamics of cease fires at the London School of Economics.
Passionate public comments came from a range of community groups and members of San Francisco's Palestinian and Jewish community who wanted the resolution to be adopted. Many wore t-shirts that read Cease Fire Now and Jews Say Cease.
"When elected leaders join the call for peace, it makes the city safer for everyone," said one Palestinian speaker.