Upon taking the oath of workplace at his swearing-in ceremony for the state Meeting on Might 4, San Francisco’s Matt Haney additionally grew to become the nineteenth member of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus.
On Thursday, he might be a part of a caucus assembly with Gov. Gavin Newsom, marking Haney’s first viewers with the governor — San Francisco’s former mayor — since becoming a member of the Meeting. Among the many subjects on the desk is how a lot funding Newsom’s proposed funds might be allocating for Holocaust training within the fiscal yr that begins July 1.
“That’s one thing that’s been vital to me,” Haney, 40, informed J. over Zoom from his Sacramento workplace, noting that his first job after graduating from UC Berkeley was working as a docent on the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. He additionally labored on Holocaust training programming when serving on the San Francisco Board of Schooling from 2012 to 2019, a part of it as president.
You gained’t discover any point out of Haney’s Jewish roots on his Wikipedia page, and other than publicly lighting the Hanukkah menorah in Union Sq. in 2020 alongside Chabad Rabbi Yosef Langer, Haney’s Jewish identification has flown beneath the radar all through his profession in politics.
However you’ll find his 94-year-old Jewish grandfather, Allen Calvin, distinguished on Haney’s Instagram.
“Grateful for his or her love and assist, and the inspiration they’ve give[n] me to serve others” Haney captioned a Might 13 publish that included an image of Grandpa Allen and Grandma Dorothy, additionally 94, alongside together with his cousins, who have been on the Golden State Warriors’ successful playoff recreation towards the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Lots of my Jewish identification was additionally fashioned by means of my relationship with my grandfather,” Haney informed J.
Grandpa Allen grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of Jewish immigrant mother and father from Jap Europe. His household confronted antisemitism as one among just a few Jewish households of their neighborhood. Allen joined the Navy at 17, fought in World Struggle II and later developed an in depth relationship with Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, devoting his life to training and civil rights.
Haney stated his grandfather instilled a robust dedication to Jewish values that connect with the “expertise of persecution and discrimination,” which in flip introduced him to develop his personal “understanding of duty round it.”
That historical past, Haney stated, formed “our complete household’s understanding of our Jewish identification and…a broader dedication of service and our duty to others.”
Household Hanukkah and Passover celebrations happened at his grandparents’ dwelling in Golden Gate Heights, the place they nonetheless reside. They’re additionally longtime members of Congregation Emanu-El.
Haney’s mother and father divorced when he was 4. He and his sister, Erin Haney, 41, have been introduced up within the East Bay by their mom, whose work centered on youngsters’s well being advocacy and coverage. Now retired, she’s an writer of murder-mystery novels set in Sacramento. A 3rd sibling, Nathan Calvin, 25, was born when Matt was 15.
Raised in a secular dwelling, Haney didn’t develop up attending synagogue or have a bar mitzvah, although the household traveled to Israel a number of occasions to see cousins who reside there. After faculty, he went again to Israel on a Taglit Birthright journey.
He developed a stronger connection to Judaism as he acquired older. Whereas main excursions on the Museum of Tolerance for a short while after graduating from Cal, Haney stated he “began to attach extra to my Jewish identification and the duty as a Jew of actually defending minority rights and human rights.”
He took that to coronary heart and put it into motion. Haney spent his early 20s in Bosnia working within the Particular Division for Struggle Crimes within the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He then went to the Nationwide College of Eire the place he acquired a grasp’s diploma in human rights. He additionally picked up a few levels at Stanford, a grasp’s in training and his regulation diploma.
Haney handily gained the April 19 particular election to interchange David Chiu (who resigned after being named San Francisco metropolis lawyer) after serving since 2019 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He represented District 6, which incorporates the Tenderloin, the neighborhood the place he’s lived for eight years.
Haney is fiercely dedicated to the immigrant-rich Tenderloin group, which mirrors his connection to Judaism and its historical past of persecution.
“The Tenderloin is a spot the place we actually problem ourselves to reside our values of compassion and therapeutic,” Haney stated. “The individuals who have been harm or harmed are a mirrored image of trauma that occurred elsewhere, overwhelmingly, and so they’re within the Tenderloin as a result of they’re making an attempt to get some assist there. So there’s truly loads that’s actually highly effective and exquisite a few neighborhood that is mostly a beacon of compassion.”
Haney lives in a rent-controlled residence (which he considers a luxurious) together with his two orange tabby cats. He’s one among solely three elected officers within the 120-member state Legislature who’re publicly recognized to be renters reasonably than householders.
“[That’s] fairly unbelievable, contemplating about half of the state are renters, however solely lower than 2 p.c of the state Legislature,” Haney stated. Many renters reside with few protections, he stated, and consequently are in a continuing state of instability and uncertainty.
“The lease can go up and they are often compelled to maneuver from their dwelling,” Haney stated. He understands the anxiousness that comes with displacement — he moved together with his household to fifteen totally different East Bay places earlier than he turned 18, as a result of lease will increase or as a result of the place they have been renting was being offered. “I believe it’s vital for policymakers to know.”
Haney stated the problems within the Tenderloin that he labored on as San Francisco supervisor — homelessness, drug habit, entry to well being care — are what motivated him to run for state workplace.
“I don’t assume that the issues that we see within the Tenderloin may be solved within the Tenderloin,” Haney stated. Whereas the issues of inequity are extremely concentrated in his neighborhood, he stated, they’re additionally ubiquitous throughout the Bay Space.
As he grows into his new position within the state Meeting, Haney stated he’s honored to serve on the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, which advocates on behalf of the professional, educational, social, political and cultural concerns of the Jewish Community. He and the caucus chair, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (San Fernando Valley), graduated in the identical class at UC Berkeley.
“It’s simply wonderful to see the work that the Jewish legislators are doing on simply such all kinds of points that I do know have been pushed partially by their Jewish values,” Haney stated.
Now he’s one among them.