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London Breed waves before speaking to reporters outside of City Hall in San Francisco, June 13, 2018.
Lorin Eleni Gill/AP
Girls & Women

San Francisco Just Elected Its First Black Female Mayor

The outcome of San Francisco’s mayoral special election was more than special — it was historic.

London Breed won a tight race to become the city’s first black female mayor, and its second female mayor ever, on Wednesday. Of the 15 largest cities in the US, San Francisco is now the only one led by a woman, according to the BBC.

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A long-time community activist, Breed also briefly served as acting mayor after the death of Mayor Ed Lee last December.

The 43-year-old is a San Francisco native who grew up in the city’s public housing, where the majority of black San Franciscans still live, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Over the past several decades, San Francisco’s black population has drastically dropped. And its decline only sped up as the tech industry moved in and took over the city. In 2016, African-Americans made up just 5% of San Francisco’s population, compared to nearly 14% in 1970, according to the New York Times.

The rapid gentrification of the city and the tech industry’s takeover caused the cost of living in San Francisco to skyrocket. As a result many families from all backgrounds to move outside of the city. Black businesses and families were particularly hard hit, the New York Times reported, leading to their exodus out of the city.

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Breed was raised by her grandmother and has spoken openly about growing up in poverty and struggling to find certain housing. That experience led her to become a housing rights advocate.

"I grew up in some of the most challenging of circumstances," Breed said after her win was announced.

"I think the message that [my election] sends to the next generation of young people growing up in this city, [is] that no matter where you come from ... you can do anything you want to do."

Online, people are celebrating Breed’s victory as a win for the city.

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