The ways that San Jose Commissioner Shay Franco-Clausen shows up for the community is inspiring. In partnership with Valley Water, she has been coordinating monthly volunteer clean up days for almost five years now.
As a first time participant, it was eye-opening to see who is living on the banks of the river — mostly queer youth of color who have nowhere else to go and have pitched tents. There are resources through the Santa Clara County Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs and homeless service providers. I’m not clear on how to improve access.
These are unacceptable conditions and we need to do a better job of taking care of one another here in the Bay Area. Additionally, there is a risk of waste on the banks of the river being carried to our waterways as the rainy season approaches.
All in all, I left the experience inspired by the students who have been showing up consistently to reduce pollution in our backyard.