Aidan Hill, vice-chair of the Berkeley Homeless Commission and known local activist, has announced they will run for mayor of Berkeley in 2020.
Hill, who is heavily involved with the movement to preserve People’s Park, has announced they will challenge Mayor Jesse Arreguín for his seat in the upcoming mayoral election. As a currently inactive campus transfer student, Hill was drawn to UC Berkeley because of its activist history. Now, they are working to attain elected office to effect change.
“I’m not running against Jesse, I’m running for all of us: the people of Berkeley,” Hill said in an email. “Berkeley has a record of leaders who redefine what it means to be progressive. 2020 is the year for us.”
Hill said the main issues Berkeley faces are equitable climate adaptation, social equity and inclusion, cybersecurity and participatory democracy, adding that, as mayor, their budget proposals would reflect these priorities in addition to preserving green spaces, including People’s Park.
Because Hill is an inactive UC Berkeley student who faced repeated housing insecurity and class cancellations for nonpayment, issues affecting low-income students and Berkeley’s unhoused population are especially close to their heart, according to Hill. The need to highlight student homelessness and student issues are part of what inspired Hill to run for Berkeley City Council in 2018.
Although they were not elected, Hill maintains that their City Council campaign was still a success.
“I may have lost the seat for the city council but I won the respect and love of my community and that love is what prompts me to run for mayor,” Hill said in the email. “The biggest lesson I learned was that politics isn’t about money or power games; it is using the power of authenticity and courage to fight for those who believe in a cooperative vision of the future.”
To build a coalition of voters, Hill believes that advocating for mutual aid to unions, activist groups and other cities will win them the support of communities both in Berkeley and internationally, according to the email.
Hill has garnered the support of those fighting for the rights of the homeless community, with several of their supporters citing a passion for protecting People’s Park from further development.
Many LGBTQ+ identifying individuals and social justice groups have also voiced support for Hill.
“I think Aidan has a good shot at winning because of their passion for creating social justice and their connection with the local community,” said Maurena McKee, a supporter of Hill, in an email. “They are winning over a big coalition of Berkeleyans by teaching us the causes of social struggle and the ways we can create a more united city.”
Contact Mela Seyoum and Jacob Souza at [email protected].