Part 1 Episode Notes

If you think she's the one to try?

Congratulations, you played yourself 😏

Part 1 is a classic immigrant story that gets mashed up with the new world that emerges during the summer of love in late '60s San Francisco.

(The story about the college professor still has me 💀💀)

Part 2 Episode Notes

I always marvel at how momentous things end up happening when people get together and start talking 😊

Such was the case for Winnie and her fellow educators, early on in her full time teaching career. (That principle sounds like a hot mess and nightmare!)

Oh, and this was recorded before the American Relief Plan (the stimulus bill) was planned, so a the specifics there are a little out of date. But I stand by the general thrust of what I said!

Part 1 Transcript

Janelle Jolley  0:22  
Welcome to What's Left To Do. I'm your host Janelle. When I first met today's guest, I knew instantly that we would be down for a long time. Winnie is a lifelong San Franciscan, since immigrating here from Peru as a child. She's experienced the city through an interesting lens. My favorite is her start at City College, and you'll see why. For everyone listening, pretend you didn't see the name of the person that this episode is named after. And if you are in San Francisco, or the Bay Area, let's see if you can figure out how I'm about to intro this guest from the intro. Aha. If fuck around and find out was a person. The wonderful, the wonderous, lady that you better not think that just because she got some blonde highlights on her head that she's the one to try. No, ma'am. She will get you together. The one, the only, the mother of the San Francisco Left: Winnie. Say what's up to the people, Winnie.

Winnie  1:46  
Well, that's a little scary to live up to.

Janelle Jolley  1:50  
Winnie, don't get bashful now. Everybody knows that you ? Oh my goodness. How are you doing?

Winnie  1:57  
I'm doing okay. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  1:59  
Just making it through ma pandemic?

Winnie  2:01  
Yeah, just living for next Tuesday when I get my second shot.

Janelle Jolley  2:06  
That's right, second shot. Second shot club. Well Winnie, I met you- I had the pleasure of meeting you and getting to know you- during the 2020 primary. And right away, I was like, "Yeah, this is my people. She gets me. She understands. She cuts like me, she get angry about the same things like me. Me and Winnie about to be friends." And then we our lives have only gotten more intertwined with my finally becoming a part of the San Francisco community. And, you know, it's various institutions, after the primary through the summer up until the current point Winnie and I are on the eboard of SF Berniecrats together. Can't say enough good things about her. But, and I know a tiny, tiny bit of your backstory, but I am dying to get to know and understand how a political dragon- I don't know if that's even a reasonable thing to say- someone like you, how did you get to holding the place that you do in this community? Not taking no shit from nobody. Not playing no games. Like, how did Winnie become Winnie? Take me back to the beginning, which I think was in Peru, yes?

Winnie  3:33  
Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I think it's a lifetime of taking shit until I got to a point in my life where I'm like, "I'm not taking it no more." Yeah, I was- let me see- I was about five years old when my mom and I came to the United States from from Peru, Lima, Peru. My mom was a single mom. She was a legal secretary in Peru. But she had me out of wedlock. I'm a love child. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  4:03  
Oh, okay. That's why you got so much love to give.

Winnie  4:08  
And so, I think my mom realized that- you know, this was 1955 you know, cuz I just turned 70 last year and-

Janelle Jolley  4:15  
And she look good. She don't look a day over 42.

Winnie  4:19  
And she realized that there really wasn't much future for her in Peru.

Janelle Jolley  4:26  

Winnie  4:27  
Because she was a single mom with a child out of wedlock. And my mom looks...looked Latina, whereas I don't, you know. And all of a sudden she was in a house that she rented in Peru and she was taking care of my grandmother and my uncle, my aunt, her three kids. She became the caretaker for the family. And I think she started resenting it.

Janelle Jolley  4:56  
How old was she was when she had you? Was she very, very young?

Winnie  4:58  
She- I'll never really know how old my mom was.

Janelle Jolley  5:01  

Winnie  5:01  
Yeah. Because when she was born, like 1917, something like that, my grandfather- they lived in the country- and my grandfather in Peru took a sweet time registering her. Oh, and the only reason I know is because when she turned old enough to get her social security, she was- my mother cursed. That's where I got it from. Only in Spanish, right? And she was so pissed off because she had to wait extra years to claim her social security because my grandfather had-

Janelle Jolley  5:34  
Dilly dallied.

Winnie  5:35  
Yeah, he hadn't-  it wasn't a big deal. Yeah, so I think she was born in 1917. I'm not sure.  Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  5:42  
Oh, wow. Okay. Huh. Was your was your mother, was she brought up in a very religious community context?

Winnie  5:51  
No, not at all. Although, you know, she believed in God and all this and all that. But her her father was German. He was a German immigrant. And I would hear family stories like he had a whip with seven lashes. One for each child. If one kid did something and nobody told on him, then they would all get, they would all get-

Janelle Jolley  6:17  
Get beat.  

Winnie  6:18  
Yeah. And they'd also get beat in case they had the idea to do the same thing. You know, as a child, it was, you know, so very, very strict. Lots of corporal punishment. They lived in the country so she told me a story about one time she was running and her ear got caught on a nail and it ripped. And her father just put her across his lap and spanked her to distract her. And he just sewed right up with a needle and thread, just sewed up her ear. You know, so.

Janelle Jolley  6:55  
Good grief. Okay. Do you have any waking memories of Peru?

Winnie  6:59  
I have a few. I don't have that many. I don't have a very good memory. I think it's all the pot that I smoked. I'm not sure. I can't remember what I had for dinner yesterday. You know, things like that. Yeah. But I do have some memories. Because I lived in a house with my aunt, her three kids, my uncle who adored me- he was like my father figure- my grandma. I mean, I was surrounded by family. And my uncle lived in Piura and he would come down with an animal, you know, like once a month. And they-

Janelle Jolley  7:36  
Whatchyu mean with an animal?

Winnie  7:37  
Well, he lived on a farm. And so he'd bring an animal and I'd play with the animal and then it'd be on the table for me to eat. It's one of the reasons I'm not really fond of meat. There's some traditional Peruvian dishes that I would miss if I didn't eat meat, but for the most part, you know, I'll have a little chicken here and there. But I had I had to eat so many of my friends. You know, and everybody in my family didn't understand that. You know, that's why- people are just born different. Because my cousin Carla who's still alive and lives in San Francisco, she'd always sit next to me because she knew I was a picky eater and she knew she'd get everything I didn't want to eat, she'd get it.

Janelle Jolley  8:23  
That's right, because they weren't her friends on the table.

Winnie  8:25  
Right, right. Animals were for eating. I had a pet chicken and I remember coming home one day and couldn't find my chicken. And then there was chicken on the table. And my grandmother went into this whole tirade that the crazy man that lived above us had killed the chicken and what was she going to do? She wasn't going to throw it away. We had to eat it. You know? So, yeah.

Janelle Jolley  8:27  
Oh my goodness. Did you ever know your dad was?

Winnie  8:53  
I did. When I was 18, my aunt who was living with us at the time, got into a big old fight with my mom and told me "Oh, your mom was a big whore, you know, blah, blah, blah."

Janelle Jolley  9:09  
Was it because she was jealous of your mother's sexual freedom and command?

Winnie  9:13  
No, I don't think so. I think it was-

Janelle Jolley  9:16  
She just trying to be mean.

Winnie  9:17  
She was mean. She was a mean aunt and I had grown- this is how dumb I was, right? I had been brought- I was born in 1950, okay? And I had been brought up with a huge family that all knew who my father was. And I was the only one that didn't know.

Janelle Jolley  9:36  
That's not- that doesn't make you dumb. That happens.

Winnie  9:38  
Well, let me explain. So, I grew up thinking that Max Gentz- this German- who was the love of my mother's life, had been my father. He died in World War II. So if I'd sat down and done the math-

Janelle Jolley  10:01  
That can't be my daddy.

Winnie  10:02  
Yeah, it wasn't, my unless my mom was pregnant for five years. So, all of a sudden when I was 18, my aunt just yells this out to me. She's like "Your father's alive. He's back east. You know, blah, blah, blah, and all this and all that, and your mother, this." And I was in utter shock. And so when I turned 18, my then boyfriend, ex husband, and I drove to Massachusetts and we investigated and I found out about my father. He had been on-

Janelle Jolley  10:35  
He was American?

Winnie  10:35  

Janelle Jolley  10:37  
Oh, he was not Peruvian.

Winnie  10:38  
No, he was not Peruvian. Hence, this hair and this skin. But my grandfather was German, so he had red hair and all that, too. But I found out through- I went to the Congressional Library in Washington, DC and I sat through microfiche. I don't know if you-

Janelle Jolley  11:02  
Yeah, I know what that is.

Winnie  11:02  
Are you- you're not too young to not, to know that?

Janelle Jolley  11:06  
No, I'm not too young to know what that is.

Winnie  11:06  
And I went through all this microfiche, and I found out that my father had been the editor, the labor editor, for The Washington Post.

Janelle Jolley  11:15  

Winnie  11:16  
So I think some of that stuff is just inherent.

Janelle Jolley  11:19  
I was about to say, you got it on us.

Winnie  11:21  
And I read articles about him, you know, marching with labor and doing articles on labor. And, yeah.

Janelle Jolley  11:28  
Oh, wow. Did you ever talk to your mom about it? Or she just didn't- she never want to talk about it?

Winnie  11:32  
She didn't really want to talk about it. I think she was really hurt because he got kicked out of Peru. And my mom's like, "Well, he didn't get kicked out." "Well, Mom, his visa was revoked and he was asked to leave." You know, that's getting kicked out, okay? So she wanted me to be more diplomatic, the way I expressed it, right? But he was studying journalism at the University of Lima. And he had gotten together with a few buddies, and they had started this kind of- for those times- a leftist-type paper. And in that paper, they'd been criticizing the Peruvian government. And so he was just asked to leave. And so I was able to see some letters. My mom kept some letters. And I was able to read the letters and realize through the letters that it wasn't until he was back in the States, like two months later, that my mom realized she was pregnant.

Janelle Jolley  12:32  
Oh, wow. I see, I see. And then came along-

Winnie  12:36  
And he basically said to my mom, he says, you know, "I'll find you a job, I'll find you a place to live. I'll bring you here to the United States, and we'll see how our relationship goes. But I will fulfill my responsibilities as a father, you won't want for anything, neither will our child. But we need to see if we're compatible." And for my mom, who was big on pride, that wasn't good enough for her.

Janelle Jolley  13:01  
Cuz she either wanted to be married or nothing at all.

Winnie  13:04  
Right. Oh, well, you can imagine in the '50s? An unwed mother?

Janelle Jolley  13:09  
Yeah, that's right. She wants to be- what's the term- an honest woman to be made out of her.

Winnie  13:14  
She told me that she was really worried because his mother's side of the family had money. And she was afraid that if she came to the United States they would take me away from her.

Janelle Jolley  13:24  
Oh, I see, I see, I see. So it was like "I'm gonna stay on my home court advantage where I understand, you know- I probably don't appreciate the snickering that goes on behind my back or the funny looks I get, but at least I know that my child will stay mine and I'll be close to family."

Winnie  13:40  

Janelle Jolley  13:41  
Okay. What was the impetus for her moving you both to the states at five?

Winnie  13:47  
Well, when she had been married to Mike, her first husband, Max, who had been a scientist, like a German scientist-

Janelle Jolley  13:54  
When- after you were born?

Winnie  13:55  
No, before. The guy that died in '45.

Janelle Jolley  13:59  
Oh, oh, oh! That you thought was your dad but he died in World War II?

Winnie  14:03  

Janelle Jolley  14:03  
I gotcha. Okay.

Winnie  14:04  
So when she had been married to him, they had come to the United States because- oh, this is all so complicated. He had been looking for political asylum.

Janelle Jolley  14:15  
He was Peruvian.

Winnie  14:16  
No, he was German. Max Gensler.

Janelle Jolley  14:20  
Oh, I thought you meant he was like a- I was confused. Okay. You're saying, he was German, but he was in Peru.

Winnie  14:26  
Yeah, he was in Peru.

Janelle Jolley  14:28  
What brought him there?

Winnie  14:29  
The war had brought him there because he didn't agree with what his country was doing. So he fled to Peru and he was denied political asylum there. And he married my mother. And so then they came to the United States, seeking political asylum here. And he was told that, "Yeah, we'll give you asylum but we want you to help us build these bombs." And he's like, "No, I can't. I can't support what my country is doing, but I can't help you build the bombs that are gonna kill my people." And so he was deported and him and my mom ended up back in Germany.

Janelle Jolley  15:15  
Oh, back in- oh! At the end of the war?

Winnie  15:19  
Towards the end of the war. And while they were on the plane, my mother's fallopian tube burst because she'd had an ectopic pregnancy. And so as soon as they landed in Germany, she was taken off to the hospital. And he went to stay with his parents and his brother and their house was bombed.

Janelle Jolley  15:47  
While he was in it. Because-

Winnie  15:49  
They all died.

Janelle Jolley  15:50  
Whoa. So your mother was in the hospital getting treated for her ectopic pregnancy that she experienced? Jesus God. She had an ectopic pregnancy on the plane. As soon as they land in Germany, she's whisked off to a hospital to get treated, because that's a very serious thing. He goes home to his parents and brother's house, but the house was bombed. It was an aerial bomb, or it was like a pipe bomb to-?

Winnie  16:14  
I don't know.

Janelle Jolley  16:15  
But they were all killed?

Winnie  16:16  
Yeah. I think it was an aerial bomb. I don't know. I really don't know. Because these are things that my mom didn't want to talk about.

Janelle Jolley  16:22  
Of course not this traumatic.

Winnie  16:23  
And so then she was stranded in Germany for two years.

Janelle Jolley  16:26  
Wow. Unable to logistically get back to Peru? Or-?

Winnie  16:30  
I don't really know. I think some of it had to do with money. He, you know, he had a little bit of money. His parents had property, or something, and they wouldn't allow my mom access to it. And so I think she stayed to legally

Janelle Jolley  16:50  

Winnie  16:50  
Contest it, you know, or whatever. But yeah, her stories about Germany were pretty intense.

Janelle Jolley  16:59  
Of course, especially during that time. Whoa. So does she rarely talk about Germany or like you had to pull it out of her?

Winnie  17:07  
I had to pull it out of her. But she really had no resentment towards the German people.

Janelle Jolley  17:12  
Sure, she barely knew- I mean, she was married to a German, she loved him. She didn't even have time to really get to know the German people. They saved her life in the hospital. And now we're navigating my husband being murdered. Good grief.

Winnie  17:26  
So eventually, she made her way back to the United States.

Janelle Jolley  17:29  
Seeking asylum-

Winnie  17:30  
I mean, back to Peru.

Janelle Jolley  17:31  
Right. But I'm saying, how does she get you guys to the United States?

Winnie  17:37  
So when I was five or six years old, she decided to come to the United States.

Janelle Jolley  17:42  
When you guys moved to the States, you moved to San Francisco directly?

Winnie  17:46  
No, when- we took a ship. We took a ship from Peru because my mom I don't think ever had gone on a plane never would have got-

Janelle Jolley  17:55  
In her- in her whole life?

Winnie  17:56  
In her whole life, she refused to get on a plane. So we took a cruise ship, you know? And  I remember little parts of it. I remember stopping in Cuba. I remember the Panama Canal. Little- just little flashes of it, right? And when we got here, she had decided she either wanted to live in Los Angeles, San Francisco or New Orleans.

Janelle Jolley  18:23  
Why? What about those three places?

Winnie  18:25  
I don't know. I don't really know. Maybe her previous experiences, right? But we were in Louisiana for a little while and she couldn't stand the heat. It's brutal. And then we moved to LA. We lived there for about a year. And I remember things like my mom walking me to school and we'd end up on the freeway. Yeah. Like it was so confusing for us. And I also remember crying all the time because the smog was so bad. You know? And so my mom eventually was like, "Well screw this shit." You know, "We're going to try San Francisco now." And we moved here when I was about six going on seven and we stayed.

Janelle Jolley  19:09  
What area did you live in when you- ?

Winnie  19:11  
Everywhere. When we first got here we lived in one of those, you know, houses that has like 100 people in them and everybody sharing the bathroom and the kitchen and it was a nightmare. That was on Van Ness, that building-

Janelle Jolley  19:17  
Like, an SRO?

Winnie  19:28  
Well, it was somebody renting out a house and making a lot of money off of it, you know? And we were all immigrants there. And because my mom was a single mom, she was being- and my mom was really beautiful, really beautiful- so she was always being hit on and stuff. So we stayed there for a few months. And I remember sometimes, like, almost peeing my pants because I had to wait my turn to go to the bathroom. And so from there, we moved to Eddy and Leavenworth. We found an apartment there. And we stayed there a couple years and then we moved over to Laguna and Eddy. And from there, we moved to the Haight. And then from the Haight we moved to the Avenues. And when we got to the Avenues, I thought we were rich. But now I realize we weren't.

Janelle Jolley  20:25  
What did your mom do for work when she first got here?

Winnie  20:29  
Well, it was really kind of sad when you think about it, because in Peru she had all the status. She was a legal secretary. Her boss loved her. He loved her so much that he actually visited us various times when we were living here. El señor Fajardo. And so she was a legal secretary. And because of the language, and because of her lack of experience and all that, she became a filing clerk for Hartford Insurance Company in old Chinatown.

Janelle Jolley  20:29  
Oh wow, okay. So that was not as prestigious and probably didn't pay as well as what she was doing in Peru.

Winnie  21:04  
No, and it was frustrating for her, you know? My mom was always a very proud woman.

Janelle Jolley  21:11  
Of course, of course.

Winnie  21:12  
So it was hard for her. But she'd say things to me like, "It doesn't matter what your job is. If you clean toilets, you better be the best toilet cleaner in the world."

Janelle Jolley  21:21  
That's right. That sounds like a mom-ism. Do you remember some of your- well, a different way to ask. How would you describe- in addition to moving around from neighborhood to neighborhood when you guys got here- how else would you describe your childhood in San Francisco? Like, what are some of the fond memories you have?

Winnie  21:46  
I remember being really lonely. Because I went from this, you know, Latin America. It's like, family. Family is number one. And all of a sudden, it was me and my mom. And then, I thought she ran into my stepfather but now I realized they had planned it all. They had met in Peru. He had come first. He was like, 10 years younger than her. And he had come first. And then when we came, eventually they hooked up. Like, when we moved to Eddy Street. That's where he popped into our lives. And what was the question?

Janelle Jolley  22:27  
How would you describe your- what are some of your childhood memories? And how would you describe your childhood in San Francisco?

Winnie  22:32  
So, I was really lonely because I, you know, I hung out with my three cousins in Peru. And all of a sudden, I was all by myself. I couldn't speak English. The kids were really mean to me. Because they didn't understand how somebody with white skin and red hair didn't speak English.

Janelle Jolley  22:48  
Your hair used to be red?

Winnie  22:49  
Oh my god, it was like the Campbell Soup commercial. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I was like, bright, fiery red when I was a kid.

Janelle Jolley  22:58  
So people didn't readily assume that you were not just white?

Winnie  23:03  
No, everybody thought I was white all the time until, you know, they would talk to me. And so I remember being really lonely. We lived in a tiny little apartment, and I had grown up sleeping next to my mom. And all of a sudden, I'm sleeping on the sofa bed, and they're in the bedroom. And it was a tiny little apartment. And I just remember crying myself to sleep because I missed my grandma, I missed my cousins, I missed everybody. And here I was, all by myself, really, because-

Janelle Jolley  23:33  
And not understanding why.

Winnie  23:34  
No. Why in the world did my mom bring me here?

Janelle Jolley  23:38  
Right. Why would you leave?

Winnie  23:40  

Janelle Jolley  23:41  
Did she ever try and explain that to you? Or it's just like, "Listen, you coming with me kid."

Winnie  23:45  
Yeah. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  23:45  
I see, I see.

Winnie  23:46  
My mom didn't believe that children had a voice.

Janelle Jolley  23:48  
Sure. That's how many parents operate. Do you- how long did it take for you to learn how to be conversant in English when you, you know, as a child when you were here?

Winnie  24:01  
I don't remember. I just remember being put in public school and coming home beat up all the time.

Janelle Jolley  24:07  
Are you serious?

Winnie  24:08  
Yeah. Because we lived, you know, we lived in the Tenderloin in the Fillmore, you know? And so she decided she was going to put me in Catholic school. Not for religious reason, but she thought I'd be more protected there. So my first experience in Catholic school in San Francisco for first grade, I believe, was Morning Star School, which is no longer there. It was a Japanese school.

Janelle Jolley  24:41  
Japanese Catholic or just Japanese?

Winnie  24:43  
Japanese Catholic.

Janelle Jolley  24:44  
Oh, okay. Okay. I didn't know there was such a thing.

Winnie  24:48  
And so here I- I think it was Japanese. I don't think it was Chinese. I'm pretty sure it was Japanese, but I could be wrong. Because it no longer exists, right? And so here I was trying to learn English and also I'm in a school where nobody's speaking English.

Janelle Jolley  25:01  
Because everyone's speaking fluent Japanese? Oh, good grief. So that was- had to be very difficult.

Winnie  25:07  
That was really, you know. And the kids were very cliquish, and they didn't want to have anything to do with me. So, I was miserable there. And then from there, she transferred me- second grade, I went to St. Boniface, which is on Golden Gate, like in the heart of the Tenderloin. And there I hooked up with my friend, Martha Alvarado, who I would love to run into someday. We were really good friends for a few years. Her family was from El Salvador. And so all of a sudden, I had a friend I could talk to. You know, we palled around together and stuff. And then we moved, so then my mom transferred me to Cathedral Parish Elementary School, which at that time was on Golf and Eddy. It no longer exists. And I stayed there until seventh grade, until my mom decided one day out of the blue to move me to St. Monica's on 23rd and Geary. Without telling me, I found out the day before school started. And I had, like, my friends. Cathedral Parish was so integrated. I was one of the few white skin kids in the whole school. You know, I grew up with Filipinos, with Blacks with all kinds of Latinos, with Chinese. You name it, it was in that school. And we were all tight, we were really good friends. And all of a sudden, here I was, you know, at St. Monica's where everybody had been friends since kindergarten, and nobody wanted to have nothing to do with me. You know?

Janelle Jolley  26:09  
So another harsh change.

Winnie  26:36  
Yeah, yeah. So, I don't- and plus, during all of this time, my stepfather's developing into a severe alcohol.

Janelle Jolley  26:44  
Oh, god. That had to be very difficult.

Winnie  26:47  
It was horrible. It was just horrible. So I don't have many memories of being a kid. And I think it's because I put it all to the side.

Janelle Jolley  26:56  
Sure, sure, sure. To protect you, your brain sometimes fragments things to you know-

Winnie  27:01  
Wasn't a very good time in my life. And on top of that, everybody's like, "Well, how come you speak funny?" You know, or, "Where did you learn Spanish?" And, "You don't look Peruvian." I'm like, "Oh my god."

Janelle Jolley  27:15  
Right, like, get me out of here.  

Winnie  27:16  
Constantly. I mean, people would even ask me for my driver's license when I was older to prove that I was- and you know, my driver's license isn't gonna prove anything.

Janelle Jolley  27:26  
Right, it's just my name and my address. Don't be a creep.

Winnie  27:29  
People are so ignorant.

Janelle Jolley  27:30  
People are very dumb. How would you describe some of the biggest differences between the San Francisco you grew up in, the composition of it, the rhythm of it? Like what are some of the biggest differences between the San Francisco you grew up in versus now?

Winnie  27:44  
My memories as a kid is that people were really friendly. You couldn't walk down the street without people saying hi to you. My favorite memories are when I lived in the Fillmore. The Fillmore in the '50s was very family oriented. They were, you know, some of my friends that were black, they lived with their aunts, their uncles or grandparents. People would sit on the stoop at night. If you did anything they tell on you.

Janelle Jolley  28:13  
Yeah, that's right. It was a community.

Winnie  28:15  
It was. It was a community. And then I remember my friends and I walking, you know, down Fillmore Street and hearing jazz. You know. And I was very naive, I didn't understand that there was such a thing as racism. It wasn't until I got to high school that I started realizing that people are separated by their skin color. Because I grew up in this school where everybody-

Janelle Jolley  28:44  
Mixed. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Winnie  28:46  
And I remember the streets being really clean. You know, if you did something wrong as a kid, people will tell you, "Hey, pick that up."

Janelle Jolley  28:57  
Yeah. Or you better straighten out.

Winnie  28:59  
Or, you're on the bus, they'd be like, "Don't yell! There's other people on the bus." You know? Yeah. But then I lived in very integrated neighborhoods as a young child. Because I'm realizing now, the racists were out in the Richmond, and Sunset and Sea Cliff and, you know, those areas. But I also remember North Beach being very Italian. In fact, a few years ago, I went to the St. Peter's and Paul's festival, to kind of relive my childhood and all the food was Chinese. And it was weird because when I was a kid, all the food there was Italian.

Janelle Jolley  29:41  
Italian, yeah. Old school Italian. As an adult, looking back now, how would you describe you and your mother, and I guess your stepfather's, kind of, class standing growing up? How would you describe that now as an adult looking back? And is that the same as what you thought it was? Or, your concept of it as a child?

Winnie  30:05  
Well, pretty much all our family friends were Latinos. They were from Argentina or they were from Peru or they were from Mexico. You know, my mom used to get really annoyed when everybody called her Mexican because one of her pet peeves is that we were all lumped.

Janelle Jolley  30:22  
As a child, did you think that everyone who was an immigrant or newly here lived like you and your mom? Like, was that your perception at the time?

Winnie  30:30  
Probably. I never questioned, you know?

Janelle Jolley  30:34  
They're just like, "Everybody's parents work and we all just try to do our-"

Winnie  30:38  
I was a latchkey kid, you know. As soon as school was over I was supposed to go straight home and lock the door behind me and call the manager. I can't remember her name, this little old lady. I would call the manager and I would tell her, "I'm home now." And then, I wasn't too dumb, you know? Like, I would take the phone off the hook and then go exploring the city. Cuz I knew my mom wouldn't be home till six. I had one responsibility. When I got home, I had to make the rice. That was my job for dinner. And then mom would, depending on how much money we had, we'd either have rice with an avocado, or rice with a couple of fried eggs, or she'd make a stew or, you know what I'm saying? But the rice- I had rice every single day until I was, like, 18.

Janelle Jolley  30:48  
I believe it. So would you say that the other- the immigrant community that you grew up in here- would you describe that now as working class or middle class or? I mean, not that I don't-

Winnie  31:45  
Everybody I knew was working.

Janelle Jolley  31:48  
Men and women.

Winnie  31:49  

Janelle Jolley  31:50  

Winnie  31:50  
Yeah. Very different from what- and we didn't live in a Latino neighborhood. We lived in a mixed neighborhood. I didn't grow up in the Mission. I hung out in the Mission, but I didn't grow up in the Mission, so it's very different.

Janelle Jolley  32:06  
Did you- and would you describe- sorry, I just want to understand this better. How would you compare the largely Latino, but mixed, the working class communities that you grew up in and around with how you conceive of working class today? Like, what are the similarities? And what are the dissimilarities?

Winnie  32:29  
I don't remember Latinos having to work as hard. When I was- because I'm a teacher and so I know a lot about the families that I worked with. And as a teacher, I was so heartbroken at how hard usually the father work. Like, I knew families that work three jobs. They either would work the three jobs, and he never got to spend time with his family, you know? And when I was growing up all the immigrant families that we knew, we had parties and we got together.

Janelle Jolley  33:05  
There was time for recreation.

Winnie  33:06  
Yeah. It didn't seem like your life focused around work.

Janelle Jolley  33:12  
I see, I see. That's interesting. You said previously, that you didn't really have an understanding of racism as a social phenomenon until high school. Describe for me your high school years and what about that time brought that into relief?

Winnie  33:31  
Well, when I went to Presentation High School. Unless you grew up in the city, that probably means nothing. But, you know, I went to school with poor girl- it was an all girls high school that was on Masonic and Turk, right? And the school was very economically diverse. I mean, I went to school with the Aliotos. You know, and there were very wealthy kids in the school and there were very poor kids. In fact, my mom couldn't afford to pay my tuition so I worked at the convent answering phones.

Janelle Jolley  34:06  
Just to help pay your way?

Winnie  34:08  
I paid my own tuition. Yeah. And it was weird working with the nuns, you know, I got to see how they lived. You know-

Janelle Jolley  34:16  
What was weird about it?

Winnie  34:17  
Well, I remember being fascinated one time when I went to the bathroom and I saw their clothes hanging on the laundromat on the line. They wore bras.

Janelle Jolley  34:28  
And that freaked you out?  

Winnie  34:30  
I never thought of the nuns. Because, you know, they don't have busts. Everything's flat, right?

Janelle Jolley  34:36  
You're like, "Nuns have boobs-"

Winnie  34:37  
And I saw gigantic underwear. They didn't wear the little bikini things, you know what I'm saying? Yeah. Yeah. And I just remember the convent being so quiet. You know, and they were praying all the time. You know,

Janelle Jolley  34:55  
And you're like, "What is this?" What about that time, though, helps you understand, or get an idea of racism as something that is present?

Winnie  35:08  
Well, in the school, I didn't understand the segregation. You know, the clicks, I didn't understand that.

Janelle Jolley  35:17  
Oh, the self segregation.

Winnie  35:18  
Right, right. The girls with money, I presume, were pretty mean. They were pretty mean. And they wouldn't hesitate to say things to put you down and stuff. But, you know, I hung out with, you know, the nerds, I guess. Very mixed. I talk to a couple of friends from from high school now and we never really acknowledged that we were Latinas.

Janelle Jolley  35:49  
Huh. Because you're just kind of like- tell me why.

Winnie  35:54  
I don't know why. Like, a couple of people I can think of that I'm still kind of in contact with, it's almost like they were- they didn't want to be Latina?

Janelle Jolley  36:03  
They just wanted to be American?

Winnie  36:04  
They wanted to fit in. They wanted to fit in. But it wasn't until- we had this place at the beach called Playland, and they had what some people call riots out there. It was during the Civil Rights Movement and all that. And that was really scary for me because I had a really good friend that was black. And she said to me, "You know, we're good friends. But if there's a race war, I can't be friends with you."

Janelle Jolley  36:04  

Winnie  36:06  

Janelle Jolley  36:09  
Whoa. She had that- she was that clear at that time about kind of what everything meant.

Winnie  36:36  
She had friends that were Black Panthers and things, you know what I'm saying? So, I was so damn naive, you know? And I remember being really hurt by what she said, you know? It's like, she was my buddy and she told me that if there was a race riot, or a race war, or whatever, I couldn't be friends with her anymore and I didn't unders- you know, Janelle, I never fit in the Latino world and I never fit in the white world. I never fit in the straight world and I never fit in the gay world. You know, I always felt like I was misplaced.

Janelle Jolley  37:12  
Tell me what you mean by that?

Winnie  37:16  
Because, I guess because of my mixed heritage, I can see both sides of things, you know? And I always, you know, when I was with white people, I felt like I was always defending Latinos. And when I was with Latinos, I was defending white people, you know what I'm saying? And, yeah, it wasn't until the Playland riots that I realized there's this thing called racism and people are judged by the color of their skin. And my girlfriend Patty lived across the street from me in what we call Projects. Public housing, right? And I would go visit her all the time. And I never thought of inviting her to my place because my place was boring. It was just me, my mom and my stepdad, you know? Where she lived in an apartment with with, she had like six siblings. You know, it it was fun. And the family, they were very religious. I remember kneeling in the living room with them praying the rosary. Very religious family. And one day for some reason. I asked her to come to my apartment. And she said, "Girl, what's wrong with you? You know, I can't go in that building." And I'm like, "What are you talking about? My mom's fine with you coming over." She goes, "No, I'm not white. I can't go in that building." This was on the corner of Eddy and Laguna.

Janelle Jolley  38:47  
Huh. It was that stark at that time. Wow.

Winnie  38:50  
Yeah. But yet I could go into her building. So that didn't make any sense to me.

Janelle Jolley  38:56  
I see what you're saying. And it was just it was the pure innocence of just like, "Huh? You're my friend-"

Winnie  39:00  
I was very naive, you know, because my mom didn't expose me too much, you know?

Janelle Jolley  39:05  
What was the sit- I've never heard of the Playland riots- what is your understanding of what that was and what happened?

Winnie  39:10  
It was a huge amusement park. And I don't really know the history of how it happened, but it was a place where kids hung out in the summer because we didn't have anything to do. But you had to have a little bit of money to go on the rides and stuff. So some of the kids got a little out of control there. And it became a warzone. It was like a racial riot.

Janelle Jolley  39:41  
Is it because most of the children were black and the owner slash operator of Playland, they didn't like having so many black kids there being you know, kids-

Winnie  39:51  
Well, I'm sure that was part of it. Plus, all these kids were just hanging out not spending any money. There was a skating rink up the block, which is called the- was it The Family Dog? I can't remember. But it was a roller skating rink and I used to go there all the time with no problems. And all of a sudden, there was a lot of hostility thrown at me from Black kids. Like, I remember bumping into a girl, a black girl, and she-it was an accident- she got pissed off at me and she and her friends surrounded me and beat me up.

Janelle Jolley  40:30  
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Cuz they thought you were white?

Winnie  40:33  
Yeah, and because they thought I had purposely run into her? I don't know.

Janelle Jolley  40:39  
Like, disrespected her.

Winnie  40:40  
Yeah, direspected her. You know, so, like I said, I was really naive in those days. And then when I got to City College, then I was like, "Oh my god, there's the Chicano club and the this club and that club and, you know, and I was bewildered at City College.

Janelle Jolley  40:59  
Okay, we're gonna, we're- so, we're right there. So, you get through high school where you, I presume if you were born in '50, high school is- you ending high school is when things are getting real hot in the streets.

Winnie  41:11  
'68 was the year I graduated.

Janelle Jolley  41:14  
So that was super hot. RFK is murdered. MLK is murdered.

Winnie  41:24  
Kennedy was murdered when I was in eighth grade.

Janelle Jolley  41:27  
Right, JFK. But his baby brother was murdered the year you graduated high school. Malcom X was-

Winnie  41:34  
We heard about it when we were on our senior retreat.

Janelle Jolley  41:38  
So you're living through the tumult. So tell me, in '68, the year that you're graduating and you're preparing to enter school, how are you understanding of the wild ass events going on around you?

Winnie  41:56  
I'm not.

Janelle Jolley  41:57  
Okay. Your mother shielded you from them? Or it's just like, "These are crazy things that are happening, I don't know."

Winnie  42:03  
It's hard to look back. I remember I had a really good friend Millie. She was Chinese. And she lived in Chinatown. She grew up in San Francisco. And she would come to my house but I wasn't allowed to go to her house. And she explained to me that her parents were very racist. And I was like, "What?" I didn't understand why, you know? And all of a sudden, she wasn't- she just kind of disappeared out of my life. I think her parents found out that we were hanging out together or something.

Janelle Jolley  42:41  
And they did not like that. Cuz you were not Chinese.

Winnie  42:44  
No, I wasn't Chinese. And I look white.

Janelle Jolley  42:53  
But usually that's like, they don't mind the the white part. It's usually, I mean, black part can be a problem for them. But not-

Winnie  43:00  
Yeah, but I think in those days people in Chinatown understood racism. Because that's the only place they could live.

Janelle Jolley  43:08  
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's fair. That's my roommate. That's ? When you graduated high school did you have a plan for your college years? And did you know-

Winnie  43:11  
I didn't know what the hell I was doing. All I knew as I had to go to college, because my mom said, "You have to get yourself an education. Otherwise, you're going to marry a man that will beat you because you'll be dependent on him."

Janelle Jolley  43:27  
I mean, your mother had a pretty sound analysis. I mean, I understand what she's saying.

Winnie  43:33  
But what I don't understand about her is why did she think I have to get married?

Janelle Jolley  43:39  
Cuz that was the time.

Winnie  43:41  
I guess.

Janelle Jolley  43:42  
Yeah, she a product of her time. That was just the expectation. And she didn't want you to have to go through what she went through. The, you know, the stigma of, you know, being an unwed adult woman at that time was, you know, almost too much to bear. So she just wanted the best for you. But you decided to stay in San Francisco to go to school. Did you want to leave? Or you wanted to stay close to mom?

Winnie  44:04  
I didn't realize I had an option.

Janelle Jolley  44:06  
Oh, okay, okay, okay.

Winnie  44:08  
I just thought, "My mom's here. I got to stay here."

Janelle Jolley  44:10  
Right. That's my only family. Okay, okay. So you went to City College-

Winnie  44:15  
I went to City College.

Janelle Jolley  44:16  
And was bewildered by all of the different groups? Like-

Winnie  44:20  
And the politics and- you know what? That's when I started learning about gay people. I took this human sexuality class, and I swear to God, the professor showed us porn.

Janelle Jolley  44:35  

Winnie  44:36  
In the classroom.

Janelle Jolley  44:36  
Like, '70's porn?

Winnie  44:37  
I don't know how he got away with the stuff. I saw guys sucking each other off.

Janelle Jolley  44:41  

Winnie  44:42  
On the screen!

Janelle Jolley  44:43  
In college?

Winnie  44:44  
Yes, at City College.

Janelle Jolley  44:45  
What exactly was the point he was trying to bring home?

Winnie  44:47  
He was trying to explain to us that there were all kinds of sexuality.

Janelle Jolley  44:51  
Oh, okay. So he just- he literally showed it to you.

Winnie  44:54  
Right. And then our homework that night, believe it or not, was to go home and stand in front of a mirror and say words like, "Shit, fuck, cunt, penis." All of these things to ourselves in the mirror.

Janelle Jolley  45:10  
What was that supposed to help you or your human sexuality with?

Winnie  45:15  
To help us get rid of our uptightness about sex. His message-

Janelle Jolley  45:20  
I feel like your professor was trolling you guys, but go ahead.

Winnie  45:23  
This was the sexual revolution in San Francisco, you know?

Janelle Jolley  45:27  
Was he queer- looking back, was he gay?

Winnie  45:29  
I have no idea.

Janelle Jolley  45:29  
Okay. But he wanted you all to not be so uptight and Catholic?

Winnie  45:33  
Right. And his class was so popular that it had to be-

Janelle Jolley  45:36  
He was showing porn! Of course it was popular!

Winnie  45:38  
It had to be in the auditorium. And it was so many of us. But I ran to that class.

Janelle Jolley  45:47  
Oh, my God.

Winnie  45:48  
I learned about lesbians, I learned about homosexuals, I learned about- what's the word- hermaphrodites? You know, I learned so much. And yet, let me go back to when I was living on Eddy street with my mom. My mom's good friend was a drag queen. Her name was Melody. And sometimes she was dressed like Melody- I don't remember what her male name was- and sometimes she would come in dressed like a man. And so for me, I must have been about nine years old at the time. I guess I just thought that was normal. You know, and I loved Melody. She was so much fun. And, of course, all her conversations with my mom were about how this man mistreated her and all this and all that and what she had gone through. You know, and so I don't think I grew up- I grew up thinking that, rightly so, that homosexual is normal.

Janelle Jolley  46:55  
Sure, sure. It wasn't like a "Whoa." It wasn't like a huge revelation to you. You just may be had-

Winnie  47:00  
Right. Drag queens are normal, you know, all of that stuff is normal. But I didn't associate sex with any of that stuff. Like-

Janelle Jolley  47:09  
Oh, it was it was a standalone identity, separate from any sort of sexuality.

Winnie  47:15  

Janelle Jolley  47:15  
I see. I see. So, then-

Winnie  47:16  
And so all of a sudden I get to City College. I didn't even know about hetero sex. And all of a sudden, I'm being bombarded with all kinds of sex.

Janelle Jolley  47:26  
Yeah, that's right. Was your professor narrating the porn or he's just putting it in and just-

Winnie  47:32  
No, he was narrating it.

Janelle Jolley  47:34  
Like, "Now, this is Felicia." Like it was just-

Winnie  47:38  
Right. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  47:39  
What was the wildest porn that he narrated?

Winnie  47:44  
I think watching men suck each other off was pretty- because I thought at that time, "That's really disgusting." It wasn't disgusting to me because it was two men, I just thought, "I'm never doing that shit." I mean to me a penis was something you peed out of. And to put that in my mouth was like, "That's really disgusting." Little did I know.

Janelle Jolley  48:19  
Have mercy, I can't handle. This is hysterical.

Winnie  48:21  
So it was quite an education.

Janelle Jolley  48:23  
But he would narrate these with a straight face. Like, clinically.

Winnie  48:25  
Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  48:27  
It's like, terrible '70s and like-

Winnie  48:28  
What was that huge study, that sex study that was done at that time? There was a name for it. We studied that whole thing

Janelle Jolley  48:37  
Uh-huh. I know what you're talking about, I can't recall the name of it, though. Oh, Kinsey- Kinsey something-

Winnie  48:44  
No, it was a man and a woman, they were partners, and they studied human sexuality. And at that time, that was like-

Janelle Jolley  48:51  
Cutting edge.

Winnie  48:52  
Yeah. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  48:53  
Did you- was City College the first time you had met a wide array of people? Or, because of your integrated schooling experiences, you'd already been kind of introduced to a wide array of people. You understand what I'm saying?

Winnie  49:11  
Yeah, I- you know, ethnically, racially, all that, I was constantly immersed in diversity. But, like I said, I never really thought much about sex. I mean, I went to Catholic high school where Father Lowery was- he taught human sexuality. And, at that time, I didn't question it. But now I'm like, "What the hell? What's a priest doing teaching us human sexuality?" And he would say things to us like, "Even when you're married, there are certain things that you cannot do. It's against God's will." And we'd like, "Yeah? Like what?" And he'd never tell us.

Janelle Jolley  49:54  
Of course. You can't peak a child's interest that way. That's funny. Do you remember the- was this- you starting a city college, was this around the time of like Summer of Love? Like were you kind of aware of that?

Winnie  50:08  
Hell, I was smoking pot left and right.

Janelle Jolley  50:11  
In the Haight?

Winnie  50:12  
Yeah, I mean, we would go-

Janelle Jolley  50:13  
But, wait! Wait, you smoking pot in the Haight but you still didn't know anything about sex? Weren't they just, like, fucking on the sidewalk?

Winnie  50:18  
Oh, I started knowing about sex, yeah. My ex husband, I met him around that time, he was awol from Vietnam. And so I hung out in the Presidio a lot, because that's where you went to buy your drugs.

Janelle Jolley  50:34  
Oh, not the Haight?

Winnie  50:35  
The army base.

Janelle Jolley  50:36  
Oh, cuz that's maybe where it's coming in at. Oh, interesting.  

Winnie  50:39  
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, we would get those army jackets for free. And those- it was really cool to wear army stuff, even though we were anti-war, which doesn't make any sense.

Janelle Jolley  50:51  
No, it's subversive.

Winnie  50:52  
Yeah. And, yeah, I remember hanging out in the Haight on Sundays because we had nothing else to do and we would end up sitting on the curb with people sharing a joint. You know? Yeah, and then later on when I was working in the Castro, because I worked in the Castro for a few years, I'd be in bars and there'd be lines of cocaine up and down the bar and people just snorting cocaine.

Janelle Jolley  51:18  
Just a rail on the-

Winnie  51:20  
Yeah! Well, no, people were sharing it with each other. It wasn't like open bar type thing. But I remember doing lines of cocaine at the bar.

Janelle Jolley  51:29  
And was this still during your undergrad college years? Or later in your 20s?

Winnie  51:33  

Janelle Jolley  51:34  
Was that the hardest thing you ever got into, coke? Just cuz that was what people were doing at the time?

Winnie  51:38  
Oh, no. I think I've done just about everything. It's a wonder I'm alive.

Janelle Jolley  51:43  

Winnie  51:43  
Yeah. I remember one time we were dancing at the Trocadero. You probably never heard of it, right? It was an after hours place. Grace Jones used to go there. Rock Hudson used to go there. I didn't realize he was gay, right?

Janelle Jolley  51:57  
Nobody did. Well, I mean, people knew but thy didn't talk about it.

Winnie  51:59  
My friends knew, you know. And we found a baggie with white powder on the floor. Dancing. We ran into the bathroom snorted it.

Janelle Jolley  52:10  
You didn't know what it was? What was it? Was it an upper?

Winnie  52:12  
Who knows? It was a good high.

Janelle Jolley  52:14  
Oh, okay. Well, I mean, shit.

Winnie  52:16  
I have no idea what it was. But we could have died!

Janelle Jolley  52:19  
Yeah, you could have. I mean, well, if- but they didn't use to lace things super terrible back then, I feel like. It's not like today where you'd have to be careful.

Winnie  52:30  
Yeah, the worst thing that happened to me was being at a party and drinking. Pouring myself some Coca Cola from this big bottle, and then I started acting weird. And then my friend's like, "You didn't drink that Coke, did you?" And I'm like, "Yeah." "Well, that had acid in it!"

Janelle Jolley  52:47  
Why didn't- can we label these? And can we let people know so we don't accidentally dose ourselves?

Winnie  52:52  
That's how the parties were in those days.

Janelle Jolley  52:54  
Oh my god. Did you super enjoy psychedelics during those days? Or were you mostly just like-

Winnie  53:00  
I did when we were in nature. When we weren't in nature I was all paranoid. Like, "Oh, the cops are gonna get me." But we used to take- we used to buy acid and go to Stinson Beach. And then we talked to the rocks and talked to the trees and stare at the sand. The sand was multicolored, you know. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  53:28  
That's hysterical. So were you, when you went to city college, were you still living at home with your mom or you had your own apartment?

Winnie  53:34  
Yeah, I was-

Janelle Jolley  53:34  
Did she know you was doing all these drugs?

Winnie  53:35  
Oh, hell no. I made sure I cleaned it up before I got home.

Janelle Jolley  53:38  
Because she woulda- she would not have liked that.

Winnie  53:40  
Oh, she would beat me. She would say things like, "I brought you into this world and I can take you out." Only, in Spanish.

Janelle Jolley  53:49  
Oh my god. Can I ask you a question? Okay. So when you said that coming to City College and seeing- and maybe my editorializing of this is incorrect, so please tell me if what I say doesn't sound right- but seeing kind of the balkanization of all these different groups while you were there, and the politics of it. Like, what was your understanding of the necessity for all of these kind of small, targeted kind of groups for ascriptive identities?

Winnie  54:22  
I started understanding racism and I started reading a lot. And I started going to lectures and hanging out with people that were militant, even though at that time they kind of scared me, right? And my friends were very multiracial. And I think that that kind of was my introduction to why we have to fight against racism.

Janelle Jolley  54:58  
But what about those groups and the military people that you knew, drove that home? Is what I'm trying to get at. Like how did- what was it about what you guys were discussing, the politics you were engaging, that drove that home for you?

Winnie  55:15  
Well, I remember reading Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. That is one of the top 10 books that changed me, really changed me. And I started understanding how institutions like education fed the racism. And then when my friend Patti told me that she couldn't come into my apartment building, I started understanding the whole redlining thing. And right now I'm reading The Color of Law. Have you read it?

Janelle Jolley  55:45  
I have not read it yet.

Winnie  55:46  
You have to. Because it's pretty amazing the way discrimination, segregation was advocated by our own government. It's pretty- I thought I was angry before, but I'm really pissed reading this book, you know. And here's something else, when I was in Catholic school, like in the ghetto, when I was going to Cathedral Parish, everything just seemed normal to me. And then when my mom moved me to St. Monica, I was like, "Why are people so mean? Why are they saying these things to me?" It's like, I began to understand classism. And I understood- I began to see favoritism because there was this one girl, she was such a bitch, and she got away with murder with the nuns. And then later on, I found out that every year her parents donated a car to the convent. TO the rectory. You know what I'm saying? And so I started understanding how I had no voice because I was poor. And I- at St. Monica's is when I experienced the Monday morning humiliation. Because the nuns would actually call out names. And those people had to stand up. They were the ones that whose parents had contributed money the day before, the Sunday collection at mass. And I was always sitting down. And it was humiliating. And of course, everybody else that was sitting down were people of color.

Janelle Jolley  57:34  
Yeah, yeah. And poor too.

Winnie  57:36  
Yeah. And I would go home and I would- my mom would like, "Goddamnit, isn't enough that I'm paying tuition? Why do I have to give them more money?" You know, like, they're supposed to be there to help people like us not to exploit us. So it was such a controversy because my mom would send me to Catholic schools but then she trashed the nuns and the priests. And I was like, "Why are you sending me?" She never went to mass. But I did because the nuns had instilled in me that I was gonna go to hell if I didn't go to mass, right? And I didn't understand like, why is it so important that I go to Catholic school when some of my really fun friends are in public school? Right? But yet my mom never- I mean, she went to mass at Christmas, at a baptism.

Janelle Jolley  58:27  
Sure, special occasions. High holidays.

Winnie  58:29  
You know, so-

Janelle Jolley  58:31  
How long were you at City College? And did you transfer-

Winnie  58:34  
I was there forever. They actually kicked me out.

Janelle Jolley  58:36  
What do you mean?

Winnie  58:37  
Because I had too many units. I was so comfortable there. Because- in all honesty, I went to San Francisco State after City College- I felt so nurtured at City College. My teachers really cared about me. You know, I could make appointments and talk to them. All of a sudden, at San Francisco State I was all on my own.

Janelle Jolley  58:59  
I see, I see. Did you work your way through school? Did your mom help you pay?

Winnie  59:05  
No, no. Nobody helped me.

Janelle Jolley  59:07  
Okay, you had to work through school. But you were able to work and-

Winnie  59:11  
In those days, anybody could find a job. You know, it's like I did everything from cleaning houses to being a dental assistant. You know, to working for Blue Shield. You know, every semester I pretty much had to either adjust my work schedule or quit and find another job to fit in with my school schedule.

Janelle Jolley  59:34  
Do you remember how much your tuition was at City College? Per semester or per year?

Winnie  59:38  
I don't think there was tuition. I think it was, like, you just had to pay some fees, like 30 bucks or something.

Janelle Jolley  59:45  
But it was affordable for you. Like, you didn't have to- you were able to sleep. If you weren't, you know, up doing coke. You were able to sleep, go to school and work for, you know, your school fees.

Winnie  59:54  
And rents were really cheap. I remember when I when my husband and I- well, he was my boyfriend at the time- we moved into the cutest little cottage on Cabrillo Street. It was 140 bucks a month.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:09  
Wow. And at that time that was affordable and reasonable.

Winnie  1:00:12  
It was like 25% of our salaries. So it was fine. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:19  
So you transferred- well, not really, you got kicked out because you were so comfortable and loved. So who were some of your, other than Mr. Sexual professor, who were some of your other favorite professors?

Winnie  1:00:31  
I took art classes. And I had these very eccentric teachers that I presume are gay now, looking back on it. I'm sure they were gay. And I took a lot of art classes. One semester, or was it two semesters? I actually was in the criminology department because I thought I was going to be a cop. And after one semester with those people, that was it. I'd had enough.  

Janelle Jolley  1:01:00  
Why did you had enough? Why'd you change your mind?

Winnie  1:01:01  
They were assholes. My colleagues were- the students in the class were like- I was one of two young women, and they were jerks. They were sexist. They were racist. I remember the day that, you know, the class ahead of me got their little batons. And they were actually going around the classroom, or the hall or wherever we all were, smacking the baton into their hands. And I heard them say things like, "I'm gonna get me a nigger."

Janelle Jolley  1:01:35  
Wow. And no- the the professors didn't see a reason to be like, "Hey, that's not what we do here." It was like, "Actually, that is kind of what we do."

Winnie  1:01:43  
That is what we do here. Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  1:01:45  
Wow. By the time you transferred, or were pushed out from City College to transfer to SF State, did you have a better idea, then?

Winnie  1:01:54  
I thought I was going to be an artist. I really did. I was fully immersed in art classes. And I felt like at City College, I learned a lot. And all of a sudden, at San Francisco State, it was almost like, "Okay, do your own thing." Like I used to say in those days, "You could take a piece of shit, slap it on a canvas, throw a little paint on it, and it would sell." Really. Whereas at City College, it was much more traditional. Because, you know, my philosophy as an artist is that you have to be able to do a lot of things before you can choose your own style. And so, you know, being able to replicate a painting to me was important. Whereas at San Francisco State it just seemed to be whatever you want to do. You know, and I needed instruction.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:47  
Yeah, a little bit of structure.

Winnie  1:02:48  
I needed help.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:49  
What medium was your favorite as an artist then?

Winnie  1:02:51  
Oils. Because I liked the smell.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:58  
It is a wonder you are as sharp as you are after some of these chemicals.

Winnie  1:03:02  
Well, I could maybe be sharper.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:07  
Oh my god, that's funny. How long did it take you to finish SF State?

Winnie  1:03:12  
Well, I realized after a while that I wasn't going to be happy as an artist because I talked to people that had graduated and I felt like they had to prostitute their art. They couldn't do what they wanted to do. They had to do exactly what their employer wanted. And after talking to a lot of my friends that had graduated and gotten jobs, I just realized, I'm only gonna make money after I die. You know, and so then I realized I need to think of something that, you know- and I'd always- like, when I was a kid, I would have lined up my stuffed animals and my dolls and played school. And so I always had this- but I'd never thought I'd make a good teacher, you know?

Janelle Jolley  1:03:58  

Winnie  1:03:58  
I don't know, because nobody in my family was a teacher, you know? What is it I saw the other day? I saw a sign that said, "If I can't see it, I can't be it." You know, which is about representations. And so, you have to understand that I would shock myself when I would look in the mirror.

Janelle Jolley  1:04:20  
What do you mean?

Winnie  1:04:21  
I was white. And all my relatives weren't white. And so when I'd look in the mirror, I'm like- I didn't look like how I felt. Does that makes sense?

Janelle Jolley  1:04:33  
Yeah, I understand what you're saying. Cuz you felt Latina, however you-

Winnie  1:04:37  
I was the white sheep in the family.

Janelle Jolley  1:04:39  
I see, I see, I see. But how did that affect your own self image? And how you went through the world?

Winnie  1:04:45  
I never wanted to be white. In Peru, when I was a little girl living with my brown cousins, believe it or not, relatives would come visit us and they'd bring me a present. And they wouldn't bring them any. And so that created resentment, which I didn't feel like I deserved it, you know? And even as a little kid, even though I didn't understand it, I knew that it wasn't right. I didn't like the attention. I was like the trophy in the family.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:18  
Because you were the lightest-

Winnie  1:05:19  
It was like, "Look, our family can produce a white skin, red hair child."

Janelle Jolley  1:05:24  
But race is a tricky thing in Latin America. So it's-

Winnie  1:05:27  
It is. It's very different from here.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:29  
In some ways, depending. But, yes, I understand what you're saying. Mm-hmm. Hmm, interesting.

Winnie  1:05:36  
And I had a sister, my sister was born when I was 11.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:40  
To your stepdad. Okay. He was white or Peruvian?

Winnie  1:05:45  
Peruvian, but he looked white. You know.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:48  
Did she look more Latina than you? Like, was she browner than you?

Winnie  1:05:51  
Oh, yeah. She would bronze so beautifully. You know, we'd go to the beach, and she'd be all bronze and I'd be full of blisters. I'd be the kid in the pool with the white shit on her. You know, and the hat and the T shirt, you know? Yeah. And my mom would say things to my sister, like, "Don't go out in the sun, you're going to get dark." And I was like- and I thought she looked beautiful and I didn't understand why that was a problem.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:51  
That's right. And it's like, "And her shoulders aren't burning at night and mine are." Like, it's okay for her-

Winnie  1:06:24  
But I didn't feel like I could ask my mom about it.

Janelle Jolley  1:06:27  
Sure. Sure. Sure. No, and you- as a child, because you don't really have a context for these things, you couldn't- I mean, you wouldn't even have the language for that as a child. So, yeah, I understand what you're saying. So when you graduated from SF State did you dir- ?

Winnie  1:06:43  
I graduated as a teacher.

Janelle Jolley  1:06:44  
Okay, you graduated as a teacher and you went directly into the profession.

Winnie  1:06:47  

Janelle Jolley  1:06:48  
Okay. Well, before before we get into your years as a teacher, were you political in college? Like, both City College and SF State? Like, describe your political understanding or your ideological understanding at the time. I know, that's difficult because looking back, it's like, how do you even? But how do you think you understood things politically or ideologically at that time?

Winnie  1:07:12  
I was trying to understand it. I remember during the riots at San Francisco State because of the whole ethnic studies thing. I remember standing watching the Tac Squad coming at us.

Janelle Jolley  1:07:12  
You were apart of the protest?

Winnie  1:07:27  
No. I was just a bystander, just watching it. I was with my friend Joan and my boyfriend at the time. And we were just standing there and all of a sudden, the Tac Squad came at us. And if Dave had not pulled me and Joan, we probably would have been hit by those sticks.

Janelle Jolley  1:07:47  
Oh, wow, wow, wow.

Winnie  1:07:48  
I mean, they were just walking through and they were just swinging and whatever they hit, they hit. And I remember just being really like- like, "Why would they want to hurt us? I wasn't doing anything."

Janelle Jolley  1:08:05  
Right, I wasn't bothering anybody.

Winnie  1:08:06  
Yeah, and that's when I remember hearing Angela Davis speaking.

Janelle Jolley  1:08:13  
Ah, at SF State?

Winnie  1:08:15  
And I remember being kind of scared, but at the same time, totally admiring her.

Janelle Jolley  1:08:21  
At this point, when you heard her speak, was this before or after the trial?

Winnie  1:08:27  
I don't remember.

Janelle Jolley  1:08:27  
Okay. Do you remember what she was saying? Like what the speech was on or the teach-in was about?

Winnie  1:08:32  
Basically, racism and how we had to stand up, you know? Yeah, I don't remember her words. I just remember how I was in awe of her. I just thought this woman, it's like...what guts? You know? Cuz I- remember, I was raised Catholic, I went to Catholic school. My Latino mom would always say things to me, like, "Shut up! Somebody's gonna put a bullet through your head." Like, yeah. She just wanted me to get married, have children, and live a peaceful life. Because she had seen so much in Peru.

Janelle Jolley  1:09:11  
And in Germany, I mean, for that matter. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, you graduated a teacher. Talk to me about what came next.

Winnie  1:09:21  
Okay, when I graduated the teacher there were no jobs because it was-

Janelle Jolley  1:09:25  
The recession?

Winnie  1:09:26  
No, there had been a huge strike in San Francisco.

Janelle Jolley  1:09:30  
Tell me about that.

Winnie  1:09:31  
Something like 2000 teachers had been laid off.

Janelle Jolley  1:09:34  
Why? Budget constraints?

Winnie  1:09:36  
Budgets. Prop 13.

Janelle Jolley  1:09:38  
Explain to people what that is.

Winnie  1:09:40  
That took money away from education. I don't know how to explain it, it's like-

Janelle Jolley  1:09:47  
Was that the one related- is prop 13 the one related to freezing property tax rates? Okay, I see what you're saying.

Winnie  1:09:56  
Schools are basically funded through property taxes in California. So, when prop 13 passed, you know- my mom voted for prop 13.

Janelle Jolley  1:10:09  
Did she own a house at that point? Oh, okay, okay.

Winnie  1:10:13  
I'm pretty sure- yeah. And she didn't understand. I was learning about it and I was trying to explain to my mom, "Yeah, you're gonna save money on property taxes, but they're gonna get you in other ways. You're not gonna save money."

Janelle Jolley  1:10:27  
Yeah, that's right.  

Winnie  1:10:28  
You know, but she she wouldn't hear of it.

Janelle Jolley  1:10:30  
How do you- I meant to ask you this before- how would you describe your mom's politics growing up after you guys had gotten here?

Winnie  1:10:42  
I think she bought into a lot of the oppression.

Janelle Jolley  1:10:45  
Uh-huh. What do you mean when you say that?

Winnie  1:10:46  
I think she bought into, like, "People are poor because they're lazy." My mom was very beautiful. And so she was privileged because of her beauty, I think. You know? And she also was, like, olive complected but she wasn't brown.

Janelle Jolley  1:11:05  
I see what you're saying. So she looked exotic.

Winnie  1:11:07  
Yeah. Yeah, and so she felt that everything she had she had earned And she really believed in like- well, her father was German. You know, she really believed in the work ethic and she really believed that everybody had a chance in the United States.

Janelle Jolley  1:11:25  
Oh, okay. She had internalized that. Okay. And did you-

Winnie  1:11:31  
And she didn't believe in the mixing of the races.

Janelle Jolley  1:11:34  
Even though she was part German and part Peruvian? Okay. Why did and she- but her daddy was white?

Winnie  1:11:42  
I know. She thought she was white.

Janelle Jolley  1:11:46  
Oh, that's how she conceived of-

Winnie  1:11:49  
I think. I mean, I can't speak for my mother. She wanted me to marry some white guy. And I married a Jew. She didn't like that.

Janelle Jolley  1:12:18  
Can you imagine what would happen to a professor today if they tried teaching with porn? There isn't enough tenure in the world. Homie would be perma-canceled. Anyway, find your way back here tomorrow for why Winnie left the Catholic Church and how and why she became political as a teacher.

Part 2 Transcript

Janelle Jolley  0:22  
We are back. This is What's Left To Do and I'm your host Janelle. Part Two with Winnie is where we learn the origin of her as an educator and union warrior. She also was brave enough to share her embarrassing lib moments. You graduated a teacher, but at that time there were no jobs. There was a teacher strike going on. Was the strike in response to Prop 13?

Winnie  0:52  
I don't remember. It was like late 70s.

Janelle Jolley  0:56  
But Prop 13 had recently passed, which screwed the public education system here because it froze property tax rates. So what did you do if there were no jobs?

Winnie  1:07  
I applied for a job in the Catholic schools.

Janelle Jolley  1:11  
Because there were no public school jobs? Gotcha. Okay. And-

Winnie  1:14  
And, boy, did I regret that.

Janelle Jolley  1:15  

Winnie  1:16  
My first job teaching was at a school in Bayview-Hunters Point, that now is the KIPP Academy. In those days it was St. Paul of the Shipwreck.

Janelle Jolley  1:28  
Of the shipwreck. Why did they think that wassomething to name- ?

Winnie  1:31  
Well, it was the nuns there were Maltese. If you know anything about Malta?

Janelle Jolley  1:36  

Winnie  1:38  
St. Paul had a big shipwreck and that's how we ended up on the island of Malta. I don't know all the details. But the school was half Maltese and half Black. And the Maltese nuns did not know how to deal with Black kids. It was really- I saw- that was my first experience with racism in education. I mean, like my first real experience when I was right in the midst of it. And I saw how the Black kids in the school were treated.

Janelle Jolley  2:11  
How did- what is the most egregious memory that stands out to you?

Winnie  2:17  
Well, I remember things like them being told not to be so loud. And I came from a family where my mother was very loud, you know? I remember the nuns reprimanding the kids, and they would stand there and look at the floor, and the nuns would get furious at them, saying, "Look me in the eye, look me in the eye." And I began to understand that this was probably something that Black kids were told not to look at the adults in the eye, or something. It was a sign of respect, or something. So I think the Black kids were very confused from what went on at home and what was going on at school.

Janelle Jolley  2:59  
Were the Maltese children treated better than the Black kids?

Winnie  3:02  
I thought so. You know.

Janelle Jolley  3:05  
What were you teaching then?

Winnie  3:07  
I taught third grade.

Janelle Jolley  3:08  
Okay. What were your first couple of teaching years like?

Winnie  3:12  
That was my only year there. I left at the end of that year.

Janelle Jolley  3:14  
Because it was so like, "Whoa, this- "

Winnie  3:16  
Oh my god. It was like, that's what- it was that experience that made me leave the Catholic Church.

Janelle Jolley  3:23  
Oh, teaching there?

Winnie  3:24  

Janelle Jolley  3:25  
That was the last straw for you.

Winnie  3:26  

Janelle Jolley  3:26  

Winnie  3:27  
I remember- because at that time, I couldn't make enough money to live off of, right? So, I was teaching at St. Paul of the Shipwreck and I was working on weekends at Dance Your Ass Off.

Janelle Jolley  3:42  
Which is a club, I take it?

Winnie  3:43  
Which was the first disco in San Francisco. It was on the corner of Columbus and something, I forget what.

Janelle Jolley  3:54  
Did you- so the wages as a teacher at the Catholic school so miserably low you can not supprt yourself?

Winnie  4:01  
Oh, they were so bad. They were so bad.

Janelle Jolley  4:03  
Oh, wow.

Winnie  4:03  
Yeah, I had to work on weekends. I couldn't make rent.

Janelle Jolley  4:06  
Wow. If you did not bartend or- were you a bartender or a Go-go dancer?

Winnie  4:08  
I was a waitress, door person coat check, whatever they needed. But mostly a waitress. But I didn't mind working on weekends because it was fun.

Janelle Jolley  4:22  
Sure. And you were young, you had the energy. Yeah, yeah, yeah.  

Winnie  4:24  
Yeah. I mean, I got to drink on the job, smoke pot on the job.

Janelle Jolley  4:30  
"You guys are paying me to have this much fun?"

Winnie  4:32  
You know, I dated a lot of guys.

Janelle Jolley  4:35  
You weren't married at this point?

Winnie  4:36  
No, I wasn't.

Janelle Jolley  4:37  
Were you still dating your boyfriend or, like off and on? Like, "I'm gonna do my thing, you do your thing."

Winnie  4:42  
No, I met my husband after Dance Your Ass Off, I believe. I don't know. I told you I don't have a good memory.

Janelle Jolley  4:49  
Cuz I was having too much fun.

Winnie  4:50  
I get all the years mixed up, you know?

Janelle Jolley  4:53  
Yeah, everybody does.

Winnie  4:55  

Janelle Jolley  4:55  
So after you left that school that-

Winnie  4:59  
I had the religion class taken away from me.

Janelle Jolley  5:03  
At that school?

Winnie  5:04  
Mm-hmm. At St. Paul of the Shipwreck.

Janelle Jolley  5:05  

Winnie  5:06  
Because I questioned.

Janelle Jolley  5:07  
To the children?

Winnie  5:08  

Janelle Jolley  5:09  
Oh, wow. And they just wanted you to have an authoritarian, absolutest- I see, I see, I see.  

Winnie  5:13  
Yeah. And so they took my class away and gave it to Sister Silveria, and I took her social studies class.

Janelle Jolley  5:22  
And that was how they were able to maintain order.

Winnie  5:25  

Janelle Jolley  5:26  
Okay. Huh. Did you get into public- did you become a public school teacher the year after that, when you left?

Winnie  5:33  
No, because there were no jobs.

Janelle Jolley  5:34  

Winnie  5:35  
Yeah. So I waitressed. There used to be this restaurant called Zims. There were 13 of them. I worked at all 13 of them. But in those days when you worked as a waitress, they trained you for like two weeks. So they taught you to carry seven plates on one arm, things like that. So I waitressed. I worked at a place on Haight Street called Aardvarks, used clothing store.

Janelle Jolley  6:07  
I think it's still there, right? I think it might still be there.

Winnie  6:09  
It might still be there, I don't think it's called Aardvarks.

Janelle Jolley  6:10  
Oh, okay. Mm-hmm.

Winnie  6:12  
But I did whatever. You know, I cleaned houses. You know, whatever I could find.

Janelle Jolley  6:19  
So there were no jobs because the strike was still going or budgetary concerns?

Winnie  6:23  
No, I think was budgetary. They just weren't hiring people. And what happened to was we were getting this huge influx of immigrants. So bilingual teachers were at a high demand. And I didn't have the bilingual credential.

Janelle Jolley  6:42  
Meaning you weren't certified as one?

Winnie  6:43  
I wasn't certified.

Janelle Jolley  6:44  
Even though you were.

Winnie  6:45  
Even though my first language was Spanish. So I eventually went back to San Francisco State and got my bilingual cross-cultural teaching credential.

Janelle Jolley  6:54  
I see. And then how many years between leaving the Catholic school and getting your credential to be able to get a job as a public school teacher? Like, how- what was the-

Winnie  7:07  
Well, in between I did some subbing. And so I did subbing, but I hated it because, you know, you can imagine how subs are treated.

Janelle Jolley  7:14  
Yeah, not great.

Winnie  7:16  
So, I did subbing and that's when I worked at a school called or Argonne. Because a teacher flipped out, and so I took her class.

Janelle Jolley  7:24  
What do you mean, she flipped out?

Winnie  7:24  
She just flipped out. Maddie was her name. I can't remember.

Janelle Jolley  7:28  
She had like a psychotic break in the classroom?

Winnie  7:31  

Janelle Jolley  7:32  
Oh, God. Did they- were the kids harmed or scarred?

Winnie  7:35  
Well they would tell me stories about what Miss So-and-so did and I was like, "Whoa."

Janelle Jolley  7:40  
What did they tell you?

Winnie  7:41  
I don't remember. But I remember she was- I remember I was in a bungalow. And I remember one, um, a lot of the kids lived in the neighborhood, right? And I remember we- I always had a class pet, right? We had a guinea pig. And so I would leave the guinea pig for the weekend with food and water and everything. And one morning I came in and the guinea pig was running around the classroom. He had chewed up all kinds of stuff. There was guinea pig poop, and the classroom was a wreck. And I'm like, I said to the kids- you know, there wasn't any sign of anybody breaking in anything. And I said to the kids, "I don't know what happened." Like, you know? And the principal came in and one of the kids said, "Well, I was playing in the school yard and I saw Miss So-and-so go in."

Janelle Jolley  8:31  
Oh, so even after she got dismissed or- ?

Winnie  8:34  
She was Black. So I don't know how much of it was racism projected at her or how much of it was really her mental state.

Janelle Jolley  8:44  
Oh, wow. So she might have been the one who came in and let the pig loose-

Winnie  8:47  
She might have been.

Janelle Jolley  8:48  
Good grief. Oh my. Okay. So you were subbing for a bit, but then you finally got your own class, you got appointed or you join the- like, how did that work at that time?

Winnie  8:59  
I sort of got my own class because she was out for like, three or four months.

Janelle Jolley  9:05  
So you were the long term sub.

Winnie  9:06  
Right, right. And then some teacher bumped me because she had seniority.

Janelle Jolley  9:13  
Bumped you, meaning what?

Winnie  9:14  
She got to take over the class.

Janelle Jolley  9:16  
Oh, okay, okay.

Winnie  9:17  
Yeah. So it was really sad. It was really disheartening because I'd really built to work hard with this class. Loved the parents, everybody- I mean, the parents rallied around me to try and keep me but seniority is seniority, you know? And so then after that, then I started just waitressing and doing whatever I could to survive. And I didn't think I was a good teacher.

Janelle Jolley  9:46  

Winnie  9:46  

Janelle Jolley  9:48  

Winnie  9:48  
I don't know, insecurity. I don't know. I didn't think I was a good teacher, so I didn't think I was cut out for it. And one day I ran into my principal. I had a really nice principal at that time, Carlos something-or-other. He'd come to school on his motorcycle. And he was the kind of principal the kids were always crawling on his back, you know? The kids loved him. And I remember running into him and he asked me, "Why aren't you teaching?" And I said, "Because I don't think I'm-" and I just started crying and telling him how I was a failure. And he actually said to me, "You have the potential for being one of the best teachers I've ever met." And he encouraged me to go back and get my bilingual credential.

Janelle Jolley  10:34  
Oh, okay. I see.

Winnie  10:35  
He was Mexicano.

Janelle Jolley  10:38  
And so you did?

Winnie  10:39  
I did.

Janelle Jolley  10:40  
And then?

Winnie  10:41  
And then I got hired, at that time it was called Hawthorne Elementary. We later on change to Cesar Chavez. It was in the Mission on Shotwell and 22nd. And it if it weren't for my colleagues, I probably would have left teaching.

Janelle Jolley  10:59  

Winnie  11:00  
But, this principle was horrible. And he only hired brand new teachers that didn't have tenure. So he could boss us around and have us do his bidding. And so the whole school was full of young teachers. And we were all like- most of us were teachers of color, you know, immigrants. And we would get together and have a beer after school. And we just started talking, and we started sharing experiences. And we realized that the principal was an asshole, and that the school was racist, and that our kids deserve better. And so we organized. We all joined the union and we decided we were going to get rid of him and turn the school into what it needed to be.

Janelle Jolley  11:46  
Okay, question. So you all were not unionized when- you were this group of mostly young teachers of color, various backgrounds-  

Winnie  11:55  
In those days, we didn't have what's called agency fee.

Janelle Jolley  11:58  
What is that?

Winnie  11:58  
You didn't have to join the union.

Janelle Jolley  12:00  
Oh, you didn't have to join a union if you were an educator. But once you guys started getting, together talking about this asshole principal-

Winnie  12:06  
We started to realizing what a union was for, you know, and how important a union was, blah, blah, blah. And we actually had the union come in and talk to us, signed us all up-

Janelle Jolley  12:18  
Which union?

Winnie  12:20  
It was, at that time, it was the NEA CTA. Because in those days teachers would vote on which union was going to represent them. It was either going to be AFT or NEA. And then at the end of that contract, we vote again. And millions of dollars would be spent on teachers fighting teachers, trying to get their union, you know what I'm saying? It was just nuts. Now, San Francisco UESF is NEA and AFT. They've merged.

Janelle Jolley  12:51  
I see. What were some of the things that animated the young teachers' belief, that you were working with at the time at Cesar Chavez, what were some of the things- the issues that animated your belief in, or animated your beneficial view of needing a union, or why that was important to you all?

Winnie  13:12  
Well, I don't think- I think, up until that time, we didn't understand what unions did.

Janelle Jolley  13:17  
None of you?

Winnie  13:18  

Janelle Jolley  13:18  
So who started that conversation? Or it just came up?

Winnie  13:22  
It just came up. I mean, one person probably started it. I don't know. I mean, we'd get together every Friday, we'd go to Las Guitarras and we have margaritas and we went to this other place and drank beer. And it was this camaraderie of us getting together and sharing our stories. Because up until that point, we'd each been isolated. We didn't have friends, you know what I'm saying? Yeah, and so it was through these conversations that we decided to go- we visited the union or they came to our school, and you know, and they basically said, "Well, if you're not union members, we can't help you."

Janelle Jolley  14:03  
So you guys were like, "Okay-"

Winnie  14:04  
Then we're like, "Well, okay, sign us up."

Janelle Jolley  14:07  
Were you- now was unionization- help me understand- was unionization, did that happen school by school, district by district teacher by teacher? Like, how did it work back then?

Winnie  14:19  
I don't know because I was only involved in my school politics at that time.

Janelle Jolley  14:23  
I see. What were some of the things that you guys thought a union would be beneficial for?

Winnie  14:28  
To get this principal out.

Janelle Jolley  14:29  
Why was he so horrible? Like, why was that such a driving factor?

Winnie  14:35  
Oh, god. Because he didn't know how to run a school.

Janelle Jolley  14:41  
What do you mean when you say that?

Winnie  14:42  
He just had favorites. And whoever did his bidding, he didn't bother them. But he would harass us.

Janelle Jolley  14:51  
What do you mean?

Winnie  14:51  
He'd walk into our classrooms and walk around while we're teaching and then write us up and saying that we had done this wrong or we have done that wrong. He bad mouthed us to the parents. You know-

Janelle Jolley  15:05  
Like, he did not support you all.

Winnie  15:06  
No, he didn't support us. And he was really an idiot.

Janelle Jolley  15:12  
Why do you think he was such a uniquely bad principal, looking back?

Winnie  15:15  
He was used by the district because he was Mexican.

Janelle Jolley  15:19  
Oh, he was like a Mexican token. But they were using him to do what?

Winnie  15:23  
Whatever they wanted to do in the school. I mean, the school was basically Black and Brown kids, and they didn't give a shit about our school.

Janelle Jolley  15:31  
So they used him to cover for the fact that they didn't really care and want to reach this population?

Winnie  15:36  
We organized a group of parents as a result of all this and we marched in the rain from 22nd and Shotwell to the school board meeting, which at that time was on Franklin, right? No, it was on- it wasn't on on Franklin, it was on Bemis, it was the old one. And so we organize, we got like 100 parents to march with us. We marched down the street in the rain. And we showed pictures to the school board of the conditions in our school. We showed them toilets that were smeared with shit. Yeah. None of the stalls except for maybe one in the boys and girls bathrooms had doors on them. You know, we had every classroom had boarded up windows. Yeah, there were mice running around all over the school. You know, we had- believe it or not- we had to put buckets on rainy days in our classrooms to catch the leak.

Janelle Jolley  16:32  
Wow, that bad?

Winnie  16:33  
Yeah. The heater? Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't cuz it was a boiler room, you know? And so, we had to bring in our own heaters.

Janelle Jolley  16:42  

Winnie  16:43  
Yeah. We couldn't open windows- that's why this whole thing, this COVID thing, is such a joke because there are so many schools in San Francisco where you can't open the windows. Like, one time I opened it after I was told not to open it and it fell down to the ground. I had no window.

Janelle Jolley  17:00  
Wow, wow, wow.  

Winnie  17:02  
Yeah. Cuz the wood was all crumbling, you know? It's just- so we marched, and we showed pictures, and we had testimony. And I remember one board member putting down her dinner. Because you know, they would eat dinner during the- and she says, "I can't eat my dinner. This is really disgusting."

Janelle Jolley  17:22  
"Bitch, I have to work in this shit! What are you talking- like, okay, at least now you-"

Winnie  17:22  
So we were on the news. And guess what? The next day the school was full of people repairing the school.

Janelle Jolley  17:32  
I guess, I bet. Uh-huh, uh-huh. So it was parent power, people power.  

Winnie  17:34  
And that was the beginning of the rise. And we went through what was called an inquisition. And our principal was taken out because- Janelle, he carried around- he wore a chain with a razor blade on it.

Janelle Jolley  17:52  
Excuse me?

Winnie  17:54  
Now, you know what that's for, right?

Janelle Jolley  17:56  

Winnie  17:57  

Janelle Jolley  17:58  
Why was that allowed for so long? Wow.

Winnie  18:01  
He had a pair of that worked in the school, a guy named Leon- he was really good looking, he was Black- and him and Leon would like, at lunchtime they would lock themselves up in the principal's office.

Janelle Jolley  18:14  

Winnie  18:15  
And you'd hear all this giggling and shuffling and they both come out really happy after.

Janelle Jolley  18:21  
Because they were high or they just got finished fucking or both?

Winnie  18:23  
Probably both.

Janelle Jolley  18:26  
Oh my god.

Winnie  18:27  
It was unbelievable.

Janelle Jolley  18:29  
It's so unbelievable! What the fuck?

Winnie  18:31  
Unless you participated, unless you were there? You would find this really hard to believe.

Janelle Jolley  18:36  
Yeah, of course. That sounds- wow, okay. But, go ahead.

Winnie  18:41  
I had- I taught kindergarten those days- I had like, 39 kids in my class.

Janelle Jolley  18:46  
How did you do it?

Winnie  18:48  
And I had Black and Brown kids. And the Black kids, the parents, you know, didn't want their kids hanging out with the Brown kids. There was so much racism. And the Latino parents didn't want, you know, and- I was teaching the Black kids to learn to read in English and I was teaching the Brown kids how to learn to read in Spanish. I didn't know what the hell I was doing. There was no curriculum. In those days, believe it or not, there was no curriculum.

Janelle Jolley  19:14  

Winnie  19:15  
You just did your thing.

Janelle Jolley  19:17  
You just- you were winging it.

Winnie  19:18  
Yeah, winging it.

Janelle Jolley  19:19  
Wow. Wow.

Winnie  19:20  
Yeah. And I would have parents complaining all the time that their kid was sitting next to a Brown kid or a Black kid. And there was nothing going on in the school to try to remedy this, to try to bring racial understanding. Anything. It was such a nightmare.

Janelle Jolley  19:37  

Winnie  19:38  
But and if I hadn't been for my colleagues, I would have left.

Janelle Jolley  19:41  
What about your colleagues made you want to stay?

Winnie  19:43  
We were militant. We were like, "This shit has to stop."

Janelle Jolley  19:47  
And we're the ones who are going to help change things.

Winnie  19:48  
And we did.

Janelle Jolley  19:51  
Tell me the other ways that you changed it- you guys marched in the rain with parents and you got people to start paying attention to the condition of the physical, you know, building. What other things did you all change?

Winnie  20:03  
We declared war on the principle. He was not allowed to talk to us without a union rep. We walked around with notepads to intimidate him. You know, and when he'd say something to us, we'd say things like, "Could you repeat that, please?"

Janelle Jolley  20:21  
Yeah, that's right. Jot it down on your bitch ass.

Winnie  20:24  
We learned our rights. You know, we met with the union once a week, they would come in because they saw this as a way to win, you know? And some of us even wore fatigues.

Janelle Jolley  20:24  
Really? In the school? To make it very clear that this is a war that we're in. Wow.

Winnie  20:43  

Janelle Jolley  20:43  
Was union membership high across all teachers at that time?

Winnie  20:48  
No, it was the 1/3 thing. That 1/3 of the teachers belong to the NEA, 1/3 of the teachers belong to the AFT, and 1/3 were what we called the freeloaders.

Janelle Jolley  21:00  
Who were not union members, but they benefited from-

Winnie  21:03  
Yeah. And they would say to us, "When you merge, we'll join."

Janelle Jolley  21:06  
Why would they say that?

Winnie  21:08  
To get us off their back.

Janelle Jolley  21:09  
Oh, okay.

Winnie  21:10  
And, guess what? We merged, they didn't join.

Janelle Jolley  21:14  

Winnie  21:14  
That's why we ended up getting agency fee.

Janelle Jolley  21:17  
What is agency fee?

Winnie  21:18  
Agency fee means that you have to pay a certain amount of money to the union to cover their costs of representing you.

Janelle Jolley  21:29  
And you're saying the freeloaders, they didn't have to pay that fee because they were not members of the union. But you, but because-

Winnie  21:37  
But they were benefiting from all the bargaining and everything that was going on. The raises- they never turned down a raise.

Janelle Jolley  21:43  
Sure. Of course not. Of course not. So, it was you guys getting militant to push your terrible-ass coke-snorting fucking dipshit of a principal, was that the beginning of your tenure as a politicized teacher? Or, is that a fair way to describe you?

Winnie  22:08  
Yeah. I think that's how I became politicized. Because I really saw the inequities, I saw the racism, I saw how our school was totally neglected. I had been a sub before that and I'd seen schools across town that were in much better shape. I mean, every classroom had a boarded up window.

Janelle Jolley  22:28  
Can you explain educator union politics in SF to me? Because I feel like I've heard you allude to that before, but because I have zero familiarity with it, I don't understand it.

Winnie  22:43  
Well, I think a lot of things have gotten a lot better for teachers since we merged.

Janelle Jolley  22:48  
Okay. Tell me what you mean.

Winnie  22:49  
Now, I told you we had the AFT and the NEA and every three years when the contract was up, we'd fight to see which union represented, right?

Janelle Jolley  22:57  
Why- yes, you said that- but tell me why there was such a fight. Is it because there was so much money on the line because of the agency fees? Was it because there's no political force?

Winnie  23:07  
It was no agency fee. It was, for us teachers, we were never going to get anywhere as long as teachers were fighting each other. Okay? And for the union, they wanted to represent. They wanted, you know, like-  there's a, I can't remember the numbers, but the NEA in the United States is like the largest union that the United States has.

Janelle Jolley  23:32  
I believe that.

Winnie  23:33  
And their membership, I can't even give you the numbers, but it's probably at least double, at least double if not triple, the membership of the AFT.

Janelle Jolley  23:43  
Hmm, okay.

Winnie  23:44  
So, I was on the NEA side. And so we began to realize as teachers that we were never going to get anywhere with this infighting because that's what was keeping the district winning. And so we formed a committee with the NEA and I was the chair of the committee. We called it the merger committee, to merge the two unions. And a friend of mine was on the opposing side, and so the two committees started meeting together. And after a period of like two years, we- it was a huge deal, because the only other union at that time that had done that was United Teachers of Los Angeles, UTLA, but they have a different model than we- because when you join UTLA you don't have to join the AFT and the NEA. You can choose which one you have to join. It could be different now, I don't know because I've been retired for a few years. But in San Francisco when you join UESF, you join everything.

Janelle Jolley  24:47  
You join the union.

Winnie  24:49  
Yeah, you join the AFT and the NEA on the national scale. You join the CTA and the CFT on the state level.

Janelle Jolley  24:59  

Winnie  24:59  
So you really are a member of, like, five unions.

Janelle Jolley  25:03  
What were some of the major political battles that you were involved in as an educator during your career, as it related to the union?

Winnie  25:10  
Well, the biggest one for me was getting rid of testing at kindergarten, first grade. And I believe we got rid of it at second grade, also.  

Janelle Jolley  25:18  
Standardized testing?

Winnie  25:19  

Janelle Jolley  25:19  
Because it's cruel and unnecessary.

Winnie  25:20  
When I was a kindergarten teacher I had, like, 40 kids in my class. And I had to sit them all down with standardized testing. Where they would get this booklet and you would say to the kids, "Put your finger on the sun. Now look next to the sun. Do you see a flower? Do you see a leaf? Circle the leaf." Right? I had kids crying, I had kids wetting their pants, I had kids asking for their mom. I had one girl, I'll never forget her, Barbara. I loved her dearly. I loved her spunk. She was African American. The whole year I was feeding her and telling her how smart she was, you know, and she was gonna- and then I sat her down for the standardized testing. She picked up her test, threw it across the room, called me a bitch and stormed out of the classroom.

Janelle Jolley  26:01  
Cuz she just wasn't having it. Home girl was over it.

Winnie  26:15  
Yeah. This is how stressful it was.

Janelle Jolley  26:18  
Yes, sure. And you all as teachers, you got the front row seat to that. And so your union fought against you having to mandate this because-

Winnie  26:27  
Right. We first got rid of kindergarten testing. Which, when you look at it now, it's ludicrous.

Janelle Jolley  26:32  
It's absurd.

Winnie  26:33  
Because there's no validity in that testing.

Janelle Jolley  26:35  
That's right, that's right.

Winnie  26:36  
There's absolutely no validity.

Janelle Jolley  26:38  
That's right.

Winnie  26:39  
And there were questions on it, like things that were totally irrelevant, like the two that stick out in my mind is the kids had to come up with the definition of an attic.

Janelle Jolley  26:49  
Like the room in a house?

Winnie  26:52  
Who has an attic in San Francisco?

Janelle Jolley  26:54  
That's right. You don't even have a concept of that because you don't have them here.

Winnie  26:57  
Right. And then another question was about- what are those? Venus flytraps.

Janelle Jolley  27:05  
Nobody ever sees those.

Winnie  27:06  
I know.

Janelle Jolley  27:07  
Yeah, okay. Huh. Interesting.

Winnie  27:09  
So those are just two blatant examples of how stupid the tests were. Why would you expect kids in San Francisco to know about attics or Venus fly traps?

Janelle Jolley  27:17  
And why is that necessary to try and prove some notion of intelligence?

Winnie  27:20  
It was child abuse.

Janelle Jolley  27:21  
Yeah, absolutely.

Winnie  27:23  
And so we were able to get rid of it in kindergarten. I was like- I belong to the Kindergarten Teachers Association and we went wild when we won that one. And then we worked hard to get rid of first grade. Because according to research, children should not be exposed to testing 'til at least third grade.

Janelle Jolley  27:43  
Yeah. And even then, I'm sure it's probably dubious. Yeah, mm.

Winnie  27:46  
Do you know how many kids just mark? Just mark anything, they don't care.

Janelle Jolley  27:50  
Yeah, I just- I'm not gonna stress myself out here.

Winnie  27:52  
So how is that valid?

Janelle Jolley  27:53  
Yeah, that's right. And that's not an adequa- and no one test or testing context can be an adequate representative of the summation of what a child knows and how they're able to reproduce that knowledge.

Winnie  28:08  
And they also were testing kids that couldn't speak English in English

Janelle Jolley  28:11  
Right, and how are they supposed to do well?

Winnie  28:13  
And so, these were smart kids but because they didn't know English, they were stupid.

Janelle Jolley  28:16  
Yeah, that's right. Oh, that's bullshit. I see. What are some of the other big battles that you guys fought-

Winnie  28:22  
Working conditions. The big one that the union can't take responsibility for, it was Delaine Eastin. She was the superintendent of schools at that time-

Janelle Jolley  28:33  

Winnie  28:34  
In California.

Janelle Jolley  28:35  
Oh, okay. The whole state.

Winnie  28:36  
Yeah, and so that one year, from one year to the next, I went from, like, 36 kids in my classroom to 20.

Janelle Jolley  28:47  
And that must have felt like a dream. Why were the classes so fucking full?

Winnie  28:52  
Because California does not spend much money on education, and Prop 13.

Janelle Jolley  28:57  
Yeah, I see. Okay.

Winnie  28:59  
Now imagine being in a room with 36 five year olds.

Janelle Jolley  29:03  
Absolutely not. No. God bless you.

Winnie  29:06  
You're babysitting.

Janelle Jolley  29:07  
That's correct.

Winnie  29:08  
You're not teaching.

Janelle Jolley  29:09  
Cuz you cannot!

Winnie  29:10  
And on top of that, you got the Black kids hating the Latino kids and vice versa.

Janelle Jolley  29:14  
Yeah, that's right.

Winnie  29:16  
It was a nightmare.

Janelle Jolley  29:17  
I have a question about Prop 13. If it's so apparent to- I presume- first, the teachers, its deleterious effect on the learning environment. And then the teachers are able to impress upon parents how- it's terrible effect on the learning environment. How and why has it been able to persist for so long without some some  popular pushback? Because I don't get- I'm not from California, so I don't understand why?

Winnie  29:50  
Well, let me ask you: Why don't we have Medicare for all? Same thing, right?

Janelle Jolley  29:55  
Yeah, you're right. You're right. Okay. That's it's just that easy. Okay. They- like the Department of Education on the federal level isn't able to step in to kind of jawbone something better? Because it just- that just seems absurd to me.

Winnie  30:14  
Look who our education secretaries have been. Arne Duncan?

Janelle Jolley  30:21  
I was about to say Arne- fuck that guy!

Winnie  30:23  
I met him.

Janelle Jolley  30:24  
He's so dumb.

Winnie  30:25  
He's an idiot.

Janelle Jolley  30:28  
He's a basketball player, what the fuck does he know about education?

Winnie  30:32  
He actually came to San Francisco and had a meeting with us and we all realized he was an idiot.

Janelle Jolley  30:39  
Oh, fuck that guy. What about it- is it just-

Winnie  30:43  
Bill Bennett? I mean, yeah.

Janelle Jolley  30:48  
During this time, were you most political in the educational realm? Because-

Winnie  30:53  

Janelle Jolley  30:53  
Yeah, okay.

Winnie  30:54  
In fact, when I retired? There's this guy that I met through the various clubs and he said something to me of like, "Where'd you come from? I haven't seen you around. I've never seen you anywhere, blah, blah, blah. You're not political, you know, blah, blah, blah." And I'm like, "Because I was in the education world."

Janelle Jolley  31:19  
Yeah, that's right. There's more than one way to be political.

Winnie  31:21  
There was a time when almost everybody knew who I was, if you were a teacher. Because I served on the union board for 18 years. I felt like the Lone Ranger, you know?

Janelle Jolley  31:33  
What drove you to serve for that long on the union?

Winnie  31:37  
The kids. I think there really is something about being a classroom teacher and seeing the injustices, you know? But you get to a point where you realize that there's not much you can do within the confines of four walls. You have to, like- its policy that has to change, you know? You have to vote people in, you know?

Janelle Jolley  32:00  
Meaning, vote people in to the school board or the union or-

Winnie  32:05  
All of it.

Janelle Jolley  32:05  
I see.

Winnie  32:06  
And, you know, traditionally in San Francisco, the school board has been made up of like, White housewives. Because they get a $500 stipend a year, or a month, right? You have to work- you have to work or you have to be married to somebody who makes good money.

Janelle Jolley  32:27  
Wow. And so- and they- because they're-

Winnie  32:30  
We have to change that.

Janelle Jolley  32:31  
Yes, we do. Meaning the conversation, or the composition, or both?

Winnie  32:35  
The composition or- well, if we change the compensation, then more people of color or- you know what I'm saying?

Janelle Jolley  32:44  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Winnie  32:44  
Yeah. The school- the Board of Ed- the Board of Supervisors used to be that way.

Janelle Jolley  32:49  
They got a stipend of $500 a month?

Winnie  32:52  
I don't think it was $500, I think it was more but-

Janelle Jolley  32:56  
But they weren't fully salaried.

Winnie  32:57  
Right. I think it was Tom Ammiano that started that whole- to get them paid a decent-

Janelle Jolley  33:03  
He was an educator as well, right? Did you- were you and he in the trenches together as union-

Winnie  33:09  
Sort of. I worked with his partner Tim Curbo he was my- we worked together, we team taught. And it's through Tim that I met Tom.

Janelle Jolley  33:18  
I see. I see. I see.

Winnie  33:19  
1972, something like that?

Janelle Jolley  33:23  
So you were like 22 when you got married?

Winnie  33:24  
I was in my early 20s, yeah.

Janelle Jolley  33:28  
And what did he do for work?

Winnie  33:30  
Whatever. He was, you know, he did some construction, whatever he could, you know? He didn't like school.

Janelle Jolley  33:39  
Oh, okay. Your Jewish husband?

Winnie  33:41  
Yeah. He was a laborer. And at that time he became friends with my stepfather. And my stepfather had a shop for repairing cars mechanic and bodywork. And so Edie learned a lot from him. And eventually opened up his own shop. But he was a musician. He really thought that- never again.  Never again do I want to have anything to do with a musician.

Janelle Jolley  34:08  

Winnie  34:09  
Oh my god. Girl, women were throwing themselves all over him, disresepcting me. And he wouldn't say anything to them. He'd like, "Winnie, I can't you know, like, you know, I need them, they're my followers." I'm like, "Fuck this shit." Yeah.

Janelle Jolley  34:27  
Oh my god. How long were you guys together?

Winnie  34:29  
Seven years.

Janelle Jolley  34:30  
Okay. And then you were like, "If you want your ladies, you can have them- "

Winnie  34:33  
Yeah, he was a player. Good person, but- and then have nothing to do with me, Janelle. I totally realized that. I realized he loved me and all the-

Janelle Jolley  34:42  
Sure, sure, sure.  

Winnie  34:43  
But I couldn't put up with all the-

Janelle Jolley  34:45  

Winnie  34:45  
Yeah, there was so much bullshit.

Janelle Jolley  34:47  
Okay. Yeah, that's understandable.

Winnie  34:48  
And he was so fucking macho. I thought I like macho until I married it.

Janelle Jolley  34:53  
Right, and then you're like-

Winnie  34:54  
I'm like, "No." Be a gay boy, any day.

Janelle Jolley  34:59  
You are so silly. Oh, there's so many- okay. So in terms of in terms of kind of-ish modern day politics and your understanding of it- I could ask you 8 million questions. But here are the questions that I would like to hear you answer. You know, you you've grown up here, you've lived here virtually all of your life. How would you- to someone who only has a passing or facile understanding of San Francisco politics, how would you describe it to an outsider from your perspective?

Winnie  35:45  
Well, it would be hard to describe because I wasn't political. I was an activist, but more like a civil rights activist without the politics. And then when I was involved in education, the only political people I followed were the school board people. And so I really didn't know what was going on in the outer realm. I was very isolated in my whole educational world. You know? I mean, I got involved in things like, you know...okay, I'll admit it. I worked my ass off on Bill Clinton's campaign.

Janelle Jolley  36:24  
It can be forgiven, it was a different time.

Winnie  36:26  
I worked my ass off on Obama's campaign, you know? And-

Janelle Jolley  36:31  
Would you describe your politics as- how would you have described your politics during those times?

Winnie  36:36  
I was a neoliberal.

Janelle Jolley  36:38  
Oh, wow.

Winnie  36:39  
I would think I was.

Janelle Jolley  36:40  
Tell me what you mean by that.

Winnie  36:42  
I believed that the Democratic Party cared about us, you know? I believed-

Janelle Jolley  36:48  
And who is us? Working people?

Winnie  36:50  
Yeah, working people, people of color, you know?

Janelle Jolley  36:53  
Hmm. Why did you believe that?

Winnie  36:56  
Because that's what was fed into me. That's- I didn't question it.

Janelle Jolley  36:59  
You believed the marketing?

Winnie  37:01  
Yeah, I probably- I never thought about it but, probably, I was okay with capitalism.

Janelle Jolley  37:07  
Hmm. Even as a teacher, as an educator?

Winnie  37:12  
Yeah, I didn't see how it affected education.

Janelle Jolley  37:16  
Oh, okay. You didn't have- your analysis didn't connect capitalism to the conditions that you were seeing in the classroom. I see, I see, I see.

Winnie  37:23  
It wasn't until I got involved with the Berniecrats that are really realized, like, "I'm a goddamn socialist."

Janelle Jolley  37:31  
What do you mean, Winnie? What was it that helped-

Winnie  37:35  
Because I didn't understand socialism.

Janelle Jolley  37:37  
What do you think you understood of socialism before?

Winnie  37:40  
I think I bought into the whole thing that you know, lazy people didn't want to work.

Janelle Jolley  37:44  
Ah. Even after being in the classroom and seeing how many- how hard people's parents worked and they could still barely, you know, keep their head above water?

Winnie  37:52  
But I didn't have a label for it.

Janelle Jolley  37:53  
I see, okay.

Winnie  37:54  
You know what I'm saying?

Janelle Jolley  37:56  
So what are- so you bought into the sort of, like, meritocracy myth. You used to. But then what about getting involved with the Bernie campaign's- were you-

Winnie  38:07  
Well, when I retired I didn't- I was so burned out on education politics. I really was. Because I felt like I was beating a dead horse. I really did. And I just really needed a break from it. And when 45 got elected, I was so depressed. I was just so depressed and a lot of that depression came from- I come from an immigrant family. I had a cousin that is in Peru and can never come back to the United States, you know? I've witnessed the unfairness of, you know, like, how he did everything he was supposed to do and because he was honest, they deported him.

Janelle Jolley  38:45  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Winnie  38:46  
He shoulda lied!

Janelle Jolley  38:47  
Yeah, yeah. He would have been able to stay.

Winnie  38:48  
And, um, what was the question?

Janelle Jolley  38:51  
Like, what about getting involved with Berniecrats helped you bridge that-  

Winnie  38:57  
And so when I- so I needed to do something because I was retired, or part time retired. I was working two days a week. And I just thought, "We're doomed. There's no hope." And then for some reason, I ended up in a Berniecrats meeting. I don't know how I did that. Because I was very pro Bernie, right?

Janelle Jolley  39:18  
Sure, sure. In 2016?

Winnie  39:20  
Yeah. I was very pro Bernie but I wasn't part of the whole Bernie movement, you know? I showed up on street corners and work, but I wasn't part of anything, right? And so after 45 won, I was so depressed. And I ended up in a Berniecrat meeting and I realized, "Wow, this room is full of people that want the world to be a better place. That understand where we're at and what we have to do." And then, you know, and then shortly after that, I joined Latino Democratic Club, then I joined the Harvey Milk Club. And I was- I didn't realize there were so many people working for good things.

Janelle Jolley  40:08  
Ah, because you were so insulated in the politics of education, almost exclusively, that you weren't really exposed to the greater local political world.

Winnie  40:20  

Janelle Jolley  40:20  
I see, I see.

Winnie  40:21  
These groups were my oxygen.

Janelle Jolley  40:23  
Ah, and that helped you- bring you out of your depression after Trump was elected?

Winnie  40:27  
Mm-hmm. And it gave me hope.

Janelle Jolley  40:29  
I see.

Winnie  40:30  
It gave me hope. And it helped me understand that, up until that point, I'd been a neoliberal.

Janelle Jolley  40:35  
Hmm. What is your most embarrassing anecdote from being a neolib?

Winnie  40:41  
Absolutely loving Obama.

Janelle Jolley  40:44  
That's not that embarrass- we all- we didn't know better at that time.

Winnie  40:47  
But after eight years, I still loved him.

Janelle Jolley  40:50  
Okay, well, that's a little embarrassing. Okay. Do you have another example of an embarrassing neolib memory?

Winnie  40:59  
I was very involved in the NEA. And I was invited to join the Legislative Committee for the whole country. So I was part- it was very prestigious time, right? And as a result of my membership in the legislative committee, I was made the contact to Nancy Pelosi.

Janelle Jolley  41:25  
Oh, boy.

Winnie  41:26  
For the California Teachers Association. And so they would fly me out to DC like three, four times a year. And we would have our legislative meeting, we'd have our instructions. And then I go to Nancy's office and tell her what we wanted from her. And I can't believe how naive I was.

Janelle Jolley  41:46  

Winnie  41:47  
Because I thought she was great.

Janelle Jolley  41:50  
Why did you think she was great?

Winnie  41:52  
Cuz she was sweet. And because she seemed like she cared. And she really did seem to be listening attentively to me.

Janelle Jolley  42:01  
I see, I see, I see.

Winnie  42:03  
And it wasn't until I started reading up on her that I realized, like, she's not one of us.

Janelle Jolley  42:10  
Hell no, she's not one of us. She way too rich to be one of us. And I have a tiny scintilla of an analysis of why but I would like to hear from you how a Nancy Pelosi gets to such a level of political prominence, and how she's able to have such a lock on political power. How do you- what is your analysis of that?

Winnie  42:35  
You know, I'm just as baffled as you are. I belong to Latino Democratic Club, and I'm like- I just shut my mouth when I'm there because they adore her.

Janelle Jolley  42:43  
Oh, do they really? Okay.

Winnie  42:45  
I don't know why. I really don't. Because what the hell has she ever done for Latinos? She could have gone after DACA, she could have really done something, she could have really made an impact on immigration. She never stuck her neck out for Latinos, as far as I'm concerned.

Janelle Jolley  43:02  
When- it's ironic that the district she represents wholly depends on the labor of super exploited Latino people.

Winnie  43:14  

Janelle Jolley  43:14  
Yeah. But those are the people who don't vote, either, or donate to her campaign. So maybe that's-

Winnie  43:19  

Janelle Jolley  43:20  
I'm not saying that makes it right.

Winnie  43:21  
She does things like ripping up papers, which is theatrical.

Janelle Jolley  43:25  
That- she gets on my nerves.

Winnie  43:26  
That clap? And people interpret that as her being gutsy?

Janelle Jolley  43:31  
Yeah, and it's like, she fucking gave Trump a Spaceforce. Give me a fucking break.

Winnie  43:35  
I know! She voted for so much of his shit. His appointments and- I don't get it. I really don't get it. And it's like, I've just stopped arguing with my Latino friends, you know? Because-

Janelle Jolley  43:50  
You let them have their love for Pelosi.

Winnie  43:52  
I'm not- there's nothing I can do to convince them.

Janelle Jolley  43:55  
But what- but why is it- why are we- what I'm trying to get at is, why is it that we are in a situation where it seems like- now, maybe this is a moot point because she's, hopefully, knock on wood, at the end of her career, because she's fucking 80. But why is it that it seems like there's nothing anyone could do to oust her? You understand what I'm saying? Like, how did that happen, is what I'm asking you.

Winnie  44:19  
I think money has a lot to do with it, you know? She controls the purse strings for the Democratic Party.

Janelle Jolley  44:26  
Yeah. I didn't know it until Heyman told me, but she is the biggest- she is the biggest fundraiser politically. Like, bigger than Mitch. Bigger than whoever the fuck else.

Winnie  44:39  
Well, money breeds money, right?

Janelle Jolley  44:40  
Yep, that's right.

Winnie  44:41  
She's fucking rich. So she can tap into all her rich cronies. I mean, to me, that interview with her and her damn refrigerator?

Janelle Jolley  44:52  
Jesus, God. It's like, "Read the room!"

Winnie  44:56  
That was the most insulting thing. I mean, people were starving.

Janelle Jolley  45:00  
People are still starving!

Winnie  45:01  
And she's showing off her, what? $20,000 refrigerator?

Janelle Jolley  45:04  
Two of them, yeah. Mm-hmm.

Winnie  45:05  
And all that fucking ice cream?

Janelle Jolley  45:07  
Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Insulting.

Winnie  45:11  
I can't understand why people give her a pass. I- you know, it's a phenomena I will never understand.

Janelle Jolley  45:16  
I don't get it. And- but you know what, I do- I don't like it- but I- I don't like it, but I do get it. What I've heard some people say, which I think is, actually, is a perfect parallel to trying to understand how Mitch McConnell stays in power, is- what I've heard some people, even leftists here- say is like, you know, "No, I don't like Pelosi. But, you know, but she's got a lot of sway in DC and who would replace her?" And that's exactly the same thing that keeps a Mich in power. It's just like the elite, the local power structure or the elites. It's like, because this person, in this case it's Pelosi, has amassed so much political power, it's like, "Okay, well, we have to kind of tie our wagons to her because she is powerful." Even though that power is never or very rarely used to the benefit-

Winnie  46:06  
It doesnt trickle down to us at all.

Janelle Jolley  46:07  
That's right. So it's just like, that's so curious-

Winnie  46:12  
I wonder if she wasn't Speaker if she would have been voted out? People think she has a lot of power because she's Speaker and they're afraid. See, I think people think that if we vote her out, whoever we vote in is going to be Speaker. I don't think people are sophisticated enough, the average voter.

Janelle Jolley  46:33  
Oh, I see what you're saying.

Winnie  46:34  
I think they equate her to the Speaker. And so, when Shahid was running it was like, "Well, I wouldn't have voted for Shahid to be a Speaker, even though I voted for him."

Janelle Jolley  46:43  
Yep. Sure, sure. I see what you're saying. Maybe that is how some people conceive of it.

Winnie  46:47  
I think that might have something to do with it.

Janelle Jolley  46:49  
You know, that might be part of it.

Winnie  46:51  
And the whole incumbent company thing?

Janelle Jolley  46:52  
Uh huh, that's right. What was the difference- or, what was the change that happened from you being like, a lover, an Obamafile, "I love him." What was- talk me through that evolution from 2008 to 2016. Like, what was that journey like to be going from an Obama person to a Bernie person?

Winnie  47:17  
I think Berniecrats had a lot to do with it. Because, you know, talking to people like you and having them tell me what Obama really did or didn't do, like really opened my eyes.

Janelle Jolley  47:28  
Ah, I see.

Winnie  47:29  
I think I was gaslighted because I think one of the things I loved about him so much was how much he loved Michelle and how much he loved his daughters. And I'd love that he would dance and sing.

Janelle Jolley  47:42  
He was charismatic!

Winnie  47:43  
Yeah, he really was a charmer.

Janelle Jolley  47:45  
He's charasmatic and charming, yes.

Winnie  47:46  
A real charmer. And he seemed really intelligent. And I loved the way-

Janelle Jolley  47:50  
And sincere. He did seem sincere. He wasn't, but he seemed sincere.

Winnie  47:54  
I think maybe he was sincere. And I think he was maybe limited. And I think he really believes the things that he believes.

Janelle Jolley  48:01  
Which- what do you think he believes?

Winnie  48:03  
Well, I think he thinks that war is necessary.

Janelle Jolley  48:07  
Yeah, I think he does believe that. Mm-hmm.  

Winnie  48:09  
You know? And I think that he believes that people's rights have to be suspended for the good of the country, you know?

Janelle Jolley  48:17  
Yep, I think that is-

Winnie  48:18  
You know, I think he really believes that.

Janelle Jolley  48:20  
I think he does.

Winnie  48:21  
And I think he really believed that he could work with Republicans. And I think that was his big downfall.

Janelle Jolley  48:27  
Mmm, okay. I mean, you're more charitable of him than-

Winnie  48:29  
I mean, not now. I think now he sees the writing on the wall. But I think, I think- imagine his first year when he had the House and the Senate.

Janelle Jolley  48:40  
Super majorities.

Winnie  48:41  
Oh my god!

Janelle Jolley  48:42  
He could have run the table. And he had a mandate, but he ran down the clock.

Winnie  48:46  
He wanted to be bipartisan.

Janelle Jolley  48:47  
Yeah, that's right. When that was completely unnecessary. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So you were a Bernie person in 2016. You- getting more involved with the political, the progressive and leftie political clubs in here helped you get out of your: A.) Educational political bubble, and B.) Get out of your funk when Trump won. Did you have- what was your analysis of why Trump won in 2016?

Winnie  49:15  

Janelle Jolley  49:16  
That was it?

Winnie  49:17  
Well, racism, and I do agree with Bernie that not everybody that vote- although it's some people listening to this are going to crucify me for this- but I do believe that a lot of people that voted for him the first time weren't racists.

Janelle Jolley  49:32  
That's- why would people crucify you for that, that's like an obvious thing.

Winnie  49:35  
They have.

Janelle Jolley  49:36  
Oh, okay. You have people who come after you for saying that.  

Winnie  49:40  
Just that he made that statement. People interpret the statement as being racist, right? I think a lot of people were hurting. I mean, I spent time in Kentucky. I've never seen so many white people without teeth, you know what I'm saying? It's like, they don't have dental care, they they live in poverty. I mean. And I think it was a reaction. You know?

Janelle Jolley  50:04  
Yeah, yeah. How do you understand things now and are you- what makes you first like, nervous when you when you look out going forward? We'll get to the ? part-

Winnie  50:18  
Okay, I have to two thoughts on it. This country is very fickle politically. They'll forget about somebody in a year. You know? Like, I see what was done to Tom Ammiano. You know what I'm saying? And so I'm hoping that that's what will happen. Like, the support for him will fizzle-

Janelle Jolley  50:38  
You think?

Winnie  50:38  
But, I doubt it.

Janelle Jolley  50:39  
Yeah, okay. That's right.

Winnie  50:40  
I'm saying there's two ways. I think he's going to be worse as a citizen than he was as president.

Janelle Jolley  50:46  
Hmm. What do you mean when you say that?

Winnie  50:48  
Well, I think he can say and do whatever the hell he wants now.

Janelle Jolley  50:54  
He was saying and doing whatever the hell he wanted before!

Winnie  50:56  
Yeah, but he can, you know, he had the restraints of the secret serv- you know what I'm saying? I think-

Janelle Jolley  51:02  
I see. I see what you're- I don't know that I agree- but I see what you're saying. Cuz he- though there are, maybe there's a modicum of restraint. Like, what comes to mind when you say restraints is that, it seemed clear to me- I'm not saying this is the case- but it seemed clear to me that on January 6, when hours later he gave that video of just like,  "Go home. Blah, blah, blah." That seemed to me that he was coerced, like that was not of his own volition making that video, so there is some level of checks. But up until that moment, you know, he could pop off on Twitter, whenever the fuck he want. You know, call into whoever that guy- Hannity on Fox to, you know, say whatever he wants. So, like, he was pretty much allowed to say and do what he wants. There were just- there were a modicum of restraints. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Winnie  51:45  
But I think- I don't think we've seen the worst of Trump yet. I really-

Janelle Jolley  51:49  
What do you mean, when you say that?

Winnie  51:50  
I think he's going to be- well, first of all, he's going to go on this like, "They've tried to impeach me twice."

Janelle Jolley  51:56  
And lost.

Winnie  51:57  
And lost, yeah.  

Janelle Jolley  51:57  
Yeah, that's right. I mean, they impeached him but they didn't convict twice. He beat the char- yeah, mm-hmm.

Winnie  52:01  
Right. And I think he's gonna make trouble in 2024.

Janelle Jolley  52:04  
Mm-hmm. You, think he's gonna run again?

Winnie  52:06  
I don't know if he's going to run, but he's going to control it.

Janelle Jolley  52:10  
I see. I think he's going to run again.

Winnie  52:12  
You think he'll run?

Janelle Jolley  52:13  
Yeah, he's- so there was some polling that came out in the last couple of weeks of registered Republicans. He is the front runner by a mile for who they want in 2024.

Winnie  52:26  
Let's hope his health catches up to him.

Janelle Jolley  52:28  
I mean, honestly.

Winnie  52:29  
Yeah. I mean, keep on eating those McDonald's burgers, you know?

Janelle Jolley  52:33  
That's right, that's right.  

Winnie  52:36  
Too bad he doesn't drink, huh?

Janelle Jolley  52:39  
Right, we could have gotten lucky there.

Winnie  52:40  
Then he'd deteriorate quickly.

Janelle Jolley  52:42  
Yeah, that's right. That's right. So what is-

Winnie  52:49  
I'm afraid one of his kids might run.

Janelle Jolley  52:52  
Yeah, but Don Jr. is like number three or four in terms of who they would like to support in 2024. But he doesn't have the charisma that his dad had. Like, you can- he's just a loud rich kid.

Winnie  53:08  
Trump didn't have charisma, though.

Janelle Jolley  53:10  
He did!

Winnie  53:10  
He had something but it wasn't charisma.

Janelle Jolley  53:12  
He had a-

Winnie  53:13  
He wasn't touchy feely or anything.

Janelle Jolley  53:15  
No, no. But he had that- he had some star power to him. Like, he know how to work the press, he knew how to say what people wanted to hear. He knew how to, you know, make fun of the libs when they would overblow every little fucking thing to make, you know, people look at, you know, different, you know, ridiculous things like, "Oh, Kamala." You know what I mean? Like he has some of that showbiz-y star power. So maybe charisma wasn't the right word, to your point. What do you think is most likely to occur? Like in the next, let's say, in the midterms? And then 2024?

Winnie  53:52  
Well, what I'm hoping, is it the Republican Party blows itself up.

Janelle Jolley  53:57  

Winnie  53:58  
I think it's gonna be two segments, don't you?

Janelle Jolley  54:03  
No, not necessarily. I think that the Republican Party is much better at being a big tent party that absorbs its fringes into its mainstream better than the Democrats. Like, Democrats are openly hostile to, in my opinion, the democrats are openly hostile to the left and really don't make any gestures to fully bring them into the fold, and kind of assimilate them. Whereas, republicans absolutely do and that's how you're able to have- and I'm using gross generalizations- but that's how you're able to have, you know, rich old money people who use summer as a verb, you know, defending tax cuts- agitating for and defending tax cuts- and also, you know, working class or blue collar oil rig workers who have to work for a living, you know, also defending this republican agenda. You know what I mean? So I don't think that it's inevitable that they're headed for some sort of civil war split. It'll be interesting if Trump starts his own political party. I don't think he will because I think he will kind of get his rocks off more on being the puppet master within the Republican Party. But I highly doubt there's gonna be a civil war fracture in the Republican Party.

Winnie  55:21  
I don't know.

Janelle Jolley  55:21  
I could be wrong.

Winnie  55:22  
I think the ball is in Biden's court. If he doesn't do a good job we're screwed.

Janelle Jolley  55:27  

Winnie  55:28  
The forgiving of college loans?

Janelle Jolley  55:30  

Winnie  55:31  
First of all, what fucking rich people take out college loans?

Janelle Jolley  55:36  
Thank you! Yes.

Winnie  55:37  
They pay cash!

Janelle Jolley  55:38  
That's right. Because they, what? Have it.

Winnie  55:40  
Yeah. This thing about- is he- I can't believe that those words come out of his mouth.

Janelle Jolley  55:47  
Well, that's just a lazy excuse he's using for not doing it, is because rich people bene- but it's just like, "Yeah, okay. Some rich people would benefit maybe- "

Winnie  55:58  
But the majority of people are gonna send their kids to state colleges.

Janelle Jolley  56:02  
Yeah, that's right. That's right.

Winnie  56:04  
Or City Colleges.

Janelle Jolley  56:06  
Yeah. Yeah, it's a joke. It's a super joke. I think he- I think if they continue down the real limp dick path that they're on, they're getting mopped in the midterms.

Winnie  56:28  
We're gonna get screwed in 2022.

Janelle Jolley  56:29  
And in 2024. Yeah, cuz it's like people aren't- what I think the democrats get hoisted by their own petard because they really do think people are dumb. And can't make sense of what they see with their own two eyes. Do you understand what I'm saying?

Winnie  56:46  
They don't make good decisions.

Janelle Jolley  56:47  
Yeah, that's right.

Winnie  56:48  
I just don't understand. I just, I don't- I know I'm not the smartest person in the world, but it just seems so obvious to me that if if Biden gets people's needs met-

Janelle Jolley  56:59  

Winnie  57:01  
He won't have to do anything else!

Janelle Jolley  57:03  
That's right. And you won't have to worry about the midterm or 2024 or 2028, for that matter. You meet people's needs, you stem the bleeding from this unnecessary suffering that's going on, and you will be rewarded electorally. But I think part of it, which I- this is what I've been thinking on- I think part of it is that I don't think that Democrats believe that they can win campaigning on reducing suffering. You understand what I'm saying? I think that in the demo- in the diseased liberal hive mind, they will be attacked for that from Republicans and people will believe Republican attacks instead of being able to soberly go to the American public in 2022 and say, you know, "This was a terrible crisis. We're still reeling from it. You know, Donald Trump gave you $1,600 but we gave you $2,000 retroactively through the end of the crisis because-" You understand what I'm saying? Like, people get it. People understand that.

Winnie  58:01  
But people in congress and the senate are not suffering.

Janelle Jolley  58:05  
Right, that's right.

Winnie  58:05  
They don't know what suffering is.  

Janelle Jolley  58:07  
That's right. They don't understand- they don't have a concept of it.

Winnie  58:09  
Except Bernie .

Janelle Jolley  58:09  
Yep, that's right.

Winnie  58:10  
But he's not suffering either.

Janelle Jolley  58:12  
No, right. He's not-

Winnie  58:13  
But he's suffering watching other people suffer.

Janelle Jolley  58:16  
That's right.  What did you think going into 2020 primary? What did you think was- what did you want to happen? What did you think was gonna happen?

Winnie  58:25  
Well, having worked on the Bernie campaign day and night, I really thought he stood a chance of winning.

Janelle Jolley  58:32  
Me too. Because remember- do you remember what the feeling was this time last year when I was fucking running a canvas in your living room? Just electric energy, like, "We got- "

Winnie  58:42  
We got this!

Janelle Jolley  58:43  
That's right. The momentum? Yeah, right.

Winnie  58:47  
And he won California.

Janelle Jolley  58:48  
He sure did. Because we busted our ass. Yeah, that's right. What was your understanding or analysis of what happened during the primary in 2020?

Winnie  58:56  
I don't know if I have an analysis but I can tell you I hate Buttigieg.

Janelle Jolley  59:00  
Yeah, that's right.

Winnie  59:02  
I hate that Amy woman. Klobuchar?

Janelle Jolley  59:06  
Yeah, that's right.

Winnie  59:08  
For some reason, I don't hate Kamala. I don't know why. I dislike her. But I don't have- because maybe I'm still holding out for some hope.

Janelle Jolley  59:17  
Maybe, I mean-

Winnie  59:17  
Because she grew up in Oakland. Jesus Christ.

Janelle Jolley  59:21  
Yeah, but she grew up in Oakland ostensibly understanding, having-

Winnie  59:27  
Her parents seem to be more to the left than she is.  

Janelle Jolley  59:31  
Her parents are- were way too- are- well, her dad is still alive. Like, he's a Marxist. Like he's way to her left. He can't stand her. I don't know. I don't, I guess it- is it- the best I can make sense of it is just, her naked ambition and desire to rise to power and-

Winnie  59:51  
Right, but we can't use that because men use that all the time.

Janelle Jolley  59:54  
Right. And, I mean, also, I don't care about your own personal- your ability to amass power as a personal individual, if you're only going to use that to oppress and malign people that- a lot of them look like you and are from the same community you came from- to me that makes you the worst kind of fucking person. Fuck you, lady. And I went to Howard so I can say that. Like, "Please. Get out of my face." Not you, I'm just talking to the air right now.

Winnie  1:00:14  
Yeah. Yeah, I know. But I guess I'm still holding out, hoping that she'll have an epiphany, an awakening. I don't know.

Janelle Jolley  1:00:29  
I don't know either. But what- okay, so we're here now we got, you know, we got rat fucked in 2016. I personally think we got rat fucked in 2020. You know, the libs are doing, you know, a victory lap even though: A.) Biden won by ass hair; B.) He had zero coattails, so now the majority of redistricting in this country is in the hands of Republicans. Razor thin margin in the senate, decreased margin for the majority in the House. You know, the Obama alumni gang is getting back together and we know how fucking shitty terrible they are. Like, what- how do you think about what people like you and I that, you know, and other people that are of like mind, what do we need to be focusing our energies on and how do we need to think about moving through this moment, which is less than ideal for us because we have very few political comrades, if you will, anywhere near the levers of power, like what do we need to be thinking about, in your opinion, in order to advance an agenda that benefits us all?

Winnie  1:01:47  
I think we need to remember that all- was it the incumbents, or- all the people that ran for Medicare for all, minimum wage, green New Deal, all that. They won.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:04  
Yeah, that's right. That's right.

Winnie  1:02:06  
I think we have to keep remembering that. Because I think if we can run more candidates like that, the squad will grow.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:14  
Okay. Now, in order to do that, is that going to require that all new candidates, similar to the squad, be people-powered?

Winnie  1:02:23  

Janelle Jolley  1:02:23  
Okay. So we have to be prepared to what?

Winnie  1:02:27  
But Janelle, I can't work that hard anymore.

Janelle Jolley  1:02:30  
What do you mean? What do you mean?

Winnie  1:02:31  
I mean, I'm getting older. I have less energy. It's like-

Janelle Jolley  1:02:35  
But it's not on you. I'm saying for- we're all going to share the burden. You're saying we have to identi- are you saying-

Winnie  1:02:41  
But is it gonna be the same people doing the work again?

Janelle Jolley  1:02:45  
Ah, I see.

Winnie  1:02:46  
I mean, I threw down so hard for Chesa. And for Bernie. And for John Avalos. I can't work at that pace anymore.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:01  
So are you saying leftist progressives that have been in these long fought decades-long battles, be it in education, be it in labor, be it in politics, you guys are desperate to find new young blood?

Winnie  1:03:18  
New blood, yeah.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:19  
Mm, I see, I see.

Winnie  1:03:19  
That's why I'm excited about you and Josh getting involved in the Berniecrats, you know what I'm saying?

Janelle Jolley  1:03:24  
Yeah, yeah.  

Winnie  1:03:25  
New people? And that's kind of how I felt when I was a teacher. Because almost everybody on the board was old. You know? And I couldn't get- you know, it's so exciting to see all these young teachers getting involved. Because when I was really involved, we couldn't get them in. We couldn't them.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:48  
I see, I see.

Winnie  1:03:48  
And I understand. Being a teacher is exhausting.

Janelle Jolley  1:03:51  
Yeah, that's right. That's right.

Winnie  1:03:52  
You know? And so I think we really need to look at our youth, you know? And we need to somehow start controlling some media. You know? Because I really blame the media.

Janelle Jolley  1:04:06  
Yeah, absolutely. How can you not? Yeah.

Winnie  1:04:10  
And I have, I guess, I have hope. Because if I didn't have hope, then, you know, I'd just drink and watch Netflix.

Janelle Jolley  1:04:19  
That's right. That's right. That's right. Do you- so on this point of grooming, or bringing in new blood? Younger- I mean, I'm not- I'm younger than you, but I'm not young. Like, Josh is young. Do you- what are some- how do you think about that recruitment effort? How do you think about what would maybe be some useful ways to gin up that effort?

Winnie  1:04:50  
It's really hard right now because of the pandemic. I really think a lot of what we lost was because we could knock on doors-

Janelle Jolley  1:04:58  
We lost momentum. Yeah, absolutely.

Winnie  1:05:00  
Yeah, we did. And going to physical meetings gets you excited, you know?

Janelle Jolley  1:05:05  
That's right. There's nothing that beats being in person with someone, breast a breast. There's nothing that beats that.

Winnie  1:05:11  
Like, I can't believe how lazy I've gotten on these Zoom things.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:15  
No, you're not lazy! It's just- it's Zoom! It's fucking terrible. It's exhausting. Yeah.

Winnie  1:05:20  
But yet at the same time, I'm grateful for Zoom, because, you know, people with kids, you know, elderly, they can still get involved.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:27  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Winnie  1:05:28  
You know? So, I'm hoping that we can come up with some kind of hybrid model when we, when we go back, you know?

Janelle Jolley  1:05:34  
Yeah. Yeah, sure.

Winnie  1:05:39  
I don't know. I don't know how to, you know- we have to have hope.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:42  
Of course, of course.

Winnie  1:05:43  
We have to have hope.

Janelle Jolley  1:05:44  
I'm just trying to- I'm trying to pull out of you what are some of- what is making up the contour of that hope? Even if it's not very specific.

Winnie  1:05:52  
I've always believed that one-on-one is the best strategy. Just talking to people one-on-one. Having conversations like this. You know, I have a- I belong to a book club. And we met last night and we read the book So You Want to Talk About Race. Have you read that book? Okay, it was written by a Nigerian woman. Now, I've been in this book club for two years and there's a lot of white people in the book club. And they're good people. They just don't have the experiences that you and I have.

Janelle Jolley  1:06:25  

Winnie  1:06:26  
You know? And if you approach them in a, not a hostile way, you can get them to change their minds, right?

Janelle Jolley  1:06:33  
Yeah. Sure, sure.

Winnie  1:06:33  
And so a couple of white people last night were very timid in saying that the book, really, kind of hurt their feelings, you know? And that they felt like they'd always been very open to diversity and had friends, you know? I mean, the whole- it was kind of embarrassing the way they phrased it, because it's like, "Yeah, I have black friends too." But I know in their heart they meant well.

Janelle Jolley  1:07:01  
Yeah, they mean well.

Winnie  1:07:02  
And so, what I was thinking about for the rest of the night is like, how we have to create spaces whereby these people can express their fears. And they can express their feelings, so that we can talk to them in a kind way to help them understand how they're coming across.

Janelle Jolley  1:07:21  
Ah, yes. Yes.

Winnie  1:07:22  
But we don't have that in place.

Janelle Jolley  1:07:24  
That's right. And in many ways social media makes that, can make that worse because you- like, people want to score points to look righteous or woke or whatever. And it's like, I get it because these platforms are all wired to make us you know, chase after that little hit of serotonin when someone, you know, agrees with us or likes or blah, blah. But it's like, that's not- that doesn't- that doesn't help out with the cause of solidarity because now that's erecting a wall- and I'm not saying that you have to try and extend an olive branch to everybody. Some people are just assholes-

Winnie  1:07:26  
Some people are just assholes and I have no desire to communicate with them.  

Janelle Jolley  1:08:03  
But there, I think, there are a non-negligible amount of people who-

Winnie  1:08:07  
We have allies.

Janelle Jolley  1:08:08  
Yeah, that's right. Who mean well, and are still figuring it out and no one is a complete picture of themselves at any given time. Like, we all learn- if you're lucky- you learn, you unlearn, you grow-

Winnie  1:08:23  
Right. I'm not the same person I was yesterday.

Janelle Jolley  1:08:25  
That's right.

Winnie  1:08:26  
Yeah. We have to make room for dissent.

Janelle Jolley  1:08:28  
Yeah, that's right.

Winnie  1:08:29  
We do have to create spaces whereby people can be honest, and we don't judge them, and we dialogue with them, and we get them to at least hear our point of view without attacking them.

Janelle Jolley  1:08:45  
That's right. You don't automatically assume ill intent to justify you lashing out.

Winnie  1:08:49  
I think if people really knew the facts, they wouldn't be so-

Janelle Jolley  1:08:54  

Winnie  1:08:55  
Reactionary. You know what I'm saying?

Janelle Jolley  1:08:58  
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.  

Winnie  1:08:58  
And so I think, I don't know, I think, you know, things like your podcasts, you know?

Janelle Jolley  1:09:05  
Aw, thank you.

Winnie  1:09:06  
No, but- they're little, but how do we get people to listen to it and really digest the information? And communication is huge. We don't know how to communicate and in this country. You know, this is an unusual situation because you and I are listening to each other instead of planning in our head, what we're gonna say.

Janelle Jolley  1:09:32  
That's right. That's right.

Winnie  1:09:33  
And I think in most conversation, that's what's happening. People are there to defend their position-

Janelle Jolley  1:09:39  
And nothing else.

Winnie  1:09:40  
Not to see anybody else's position and perhaps change their mind.

Janelle Jolley  1:09:44  
That's right.

Winnie  1:09:44  
There's so much vitriol.

Janelle Jolley  1:09:46  

Winnie  1:09:47  
And that's- I think a lot of people that might be involved just don't want to deal with it.

Janelle Jolley  1:09:53  
Who do you think will be the next, kind of, focal point around which leftists or progressives coalesce? Not that we need someone around which to coalesce, but-

Winnie  1:10:06  
I think it'll be someone in the Squad.

Janelle Jolley  1:10:08  
Okay. Like, AOC?

Winnie  1:10:09  
I think AOC, but maybe not. Maybe not. She's just amazing.

Janelle Jolley  1:10:13  
Yeah, she's a powerhouse.

Winnie  1:10:19  
She really is.  

Janelle Jolley  1:10:15  
She's a talented politician. She's not- I don't think she's as clever as she- well, no, recently. No, I'll take that back. Recently, I think she's shown that she is even more adept politically than she was when she began. Because, to me, if we're talking about just the the Texas fundraising thing, her- that capability, I think, is a subtle demonstration to party leaders that like, "I can go around you." And I-

Winnie  1:10:40  
That was very strategic on her part.

Janelle Jolley  1:10:46  
That's right.

Winnie  1:10:46  
I'm sure she did that out of the goodness of her heart, but it's also a good strategy.

Janelle Jolley  1:10:50  
Yeah, it's also like, "I'm putting you on notice. I, you know, I- my bully pulpit is such that I can affect large moments, if you will, with or without you as a gatekeeper."

Winnie  1:11:04  
Right, right.

Janelle Jolley  1:11:04  
You know what I mean? And I think that that's- I think that's important to do, because you have to show the Nancy Pelosis of the world that you're not going to just suckle at her teet.

Winnie  1:11:10  
I think Cory Booker [Cori Bush] is going to be another one like her.  

Janelle Jolley  1:11:13  
Yes, I love Cory Booker [Cori Bush]!

Winnie  1:11:14  
And Ilhan. But the Muslim thing doesn't help her.

Janelle Jolley  1:11:20 doesn't she also- I've been a little bit concerned of late regarding her rhetoric around the Uyghurs in China that's a little hawkish.

Winnie  1:11:30  
Oh, I haven't been hearing it. Okay.

Janelle Jolley  1:11:30  
Yeah, that's she's kind of hawking some, like-

Winnie  1:11:30  
Kind of like a Tulsi type thing?  

Janelle Jolley  1:11:34  
No, mm...I'll have to send you what I'm referencing that makes me uneasy. But she's kind of referencing- she's using some talking points from some organizations that don't mean the left well with regard to the Uyghur thing. But she- but, you know, if you kind of looked past that you could do worse than Ilhan. And, I mean, she's the Progressive Caucus chair, or the Head now, so.

Winnie  1:11:30  
I think so. But, Cori? Oh, my god-

Janelle Jolley  1:11:30  
Cori's a powerhouse. She's a badass.

Winnie  1:11:30  
Look out world.

Janelle Jolley  1:11:30  
Yeah, that's right. Her and Nina.

Winnie  1:11:30  
And if Nina gets in there?

Janelle Jolley  1:11:30  
Good grief. Yeah.

Winnie  1:11:30  
And you know, the other one I want to see getting involved in politics is- what's her name?

Janelle Jolley  1:11:34  

Winnie  1:10:54  
My mind. It's, um, she was on Bernie's campaign, she's African American, she did his PR stuff.

Janelle Jolley  1:12:31  
Oh, oh, oh! My girl, um-

Winnie  1:12:38  
I can't think of her name.

Janelle Jolley  1:12:40  
Briahna Joy Gray.

Winnie  1:12:41  
Oh my god, I love that woman.

Janelle Jolley  1:12:43  
Yes, she's excellent. Have you- do you listen to her podcast?

Winnie  1:12:45  

Janelle Jolley  1:12:46  
Okay, good. Yeah, she's very sharp. And she's very principled. It's not easy to be in her position, I don't think, in the-

Winnie  1:12:53  
Well, she said things when they weren't popular.

Janelle Jolley  1:12:55  
That's right. She said things- she takes- she's publicly on the record, which means, about a lot of things that are maybe unpopular at the time or the way she kind of antagonizes some establishment people, which I think is necessary. But that, you know, that puts a target on her head for just public harassment and debasement and blah, blah. But she doesn't flinch. She's very consistent-

Winnie  1:13:21  
She's not apologetic.

Janelle Jolley  1:13:22  
Yeah, she's not apologetic. And that's not easy to do as a young black wo- which, and I presume she has student- like, you know what I mean, she could have easily been bought off and, you know, and turned into some gross liberal piece of shit. But she's stood her ground and remained her own woman and my hats off to her for that.

Winnie  1:13:41  
And I think there's more to come, more people to come, you know? I think- I'm excited about them, you know? It's- you know, we need patience but the problem is, the state of the world.

Janelle Jolley  1:13:52  
Yeah, that's right.

Winnie  1:13:53  
Has no patience right now.

Janelle Jolley  1:13:55  
That's right, that's right. All right. You heard it. Some of us have to step up so we can give Winnie a break. So, chop chop! One of the up and comers that she named checked, Josh, has graced What's Left To Do with his presence and you're not gonna want to miss that one. Okie dokie. You know the deal. Please subscribe and tell a friend about the zany and fascinating operation we got going over here. Okay, see you next week.

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