Longtime activist sought to rally people around a progressive agenda for San Francisco
Finally at the end of September, Michael was admitted to General Hospital. With the amazing care of Ward 5A, Diane Jones, and all the amazing General Hospital workers, as well as Laguna Honda Staff and at his final resting place UCSF — his care, though coming too late, was the best in the world and gave Michael a fighting chance. He was clearly comforted and supported by his community in his final days, support that mattered so much to him.
If you knew Michael, you know there is a "what comes out of this" part. We all got to really see the results of the hard work we all participated in to rebuild General Hospital, to rebuild Laguna Honda, and to provide healthcare access to everyone, even the poorest among us. Michael, personally, was able to experience the fruits of our collective labor over these years.
He also experienced some areas where there really is a need for some work. We need to remember that AIDS/HIV is still killing people every day. We must improve people's access to healthcare. We need to protect patients' access to medical cannabis, even in General Hospital. We need services and we need housing, particularly affordable housing for those who need it, people struggling through this bad economy.
These are our issues and this is our agenda on the left that we have been fighting for.
I will never forget Michael. One of the last real discussions we had about politics was around election time, with Michael remembering the 2010 elections. Michael was probably more upset about what has come out of that election — the beginning of a political shift to the right in San Francisco — than many.
He has been such an integral part of the work that brought our progressive community together and he was devastated by the events tearing it apart. More than anything, he wanted to bring us together, but he ran out of time.
Michael had an agenda. His agenda was to move forward our agenda. It is time to come together and do that.
Debra Walker is an artist, activist, DCCC member, and city commissioner who ran for the District 6 seat on the Board of Supervisors last year.