Published by MindSite News & The San Francisco Standard
On a cloudless San Francisco afternoon, I scrambled to keep up with Lucero Herrera as we climbed seven flights of stairs in a South of Market office building. Earlier that morning, Herrera explained, the elevator had lurched to a sudden halt, leaving her heart pounding. It stalled for only a few seconds, but it took Herrera – who spent much of her adolescence inside a locked cell – much longer to recover from the terror of being trapped. This time, she said, she wasn’t taking any chances.
Our destination was the main office of the Young Women’s Freedom Center, a statewide organization that has helped lead the decades-long movement to close California’s youth prisons and local juvenile halls while supporting thousands of young women in their journey to healing. We arrived at the light-filled office slightly winded, and Herrera, in bright green sneakers and a “Movement Warrior” hoodie, raised her arms toward the ceiling and took a deep breath before settling into a history of the Center’s work and her own transformation.