Performers for the 11th Annual Awards Dinner

Candy Smallwood

A second generation San Franciscan, Candy grew up in the Bayview/Hunters Point area of San Francisco, in the Alice Griffith public housing development of the San Francisco Housing Authority. She is the second oldest of eight kids. Graduating from Phillip Burton High School in 2000, Candy is an alumnus of City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and San Francisco Law School.

A housing warrior and advocate, Candy is also an artist. Playing music and writing political poetry, Candy believes art is one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves and our expression. For the past four years, Candy has been playing music with the Brass Liberation Orchestra, a political street brass band, that supports social justice causes and actions around the Bay Area. A lover of Jazz, Candy has also spent the past three years studying Jazz.

A story teller, Candy enjoys telling stories through her music, sharing her experiences, and her emotions. Music is in her blood. Local jazz legends – Mary Stallings and Margie Baker – are her relatives and have greatly influenced her love of music.


Kaylah Marin

Kaylah Marin first began writing and performing as a child with her father, jazz saxophonist Philip Marin, who instilled in her a love of music and dance rich with her Central American (Garifuna) roots. She has worked with Narada Micheal Walden, Billboard Producer DJ’s, the Perry Twins, and producer Quinn Coleman, Josh Harris, Mike Rizzo, Rod Carrillo, and Tracy Young. Her single “Oh Baby Please” debuted at number three on the dance Billboard chart, maintaining the top 10 spot for over a month. Kaylah has performed for human rights activist Dolores Huerta’s “Weaving Moments Together” benefit concert celebrating Huerta’s 80th birthday at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. She also scored music for the award-winning documentary “Texas Gold” and did the voiceover and score for “Just Children,” winner of four international film festival awards.

The band is the Salt People, an Indie Soul, Blues, Roots, and Rock band. Primary members are Kaylah Marin (Vocals), Kevin North (guitar and vocals), Val Serrant (Percussion), Henry Mobley (Bass), and Eric Foster (Drums). The Salt People have played many shows over the last three years including music on the mountain festival, The Fog Fest, the Ron Dellums Memorial in Oakland with The Temptations, Winters Tavern, Neck of the Woods, and were awarded at the Garifuna film festival in Los Angeles for services to music.


Tongo Eisen-Martin

Born in San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a movement worker, educator, and poet who has organized against mass incarceration and extra-judicial killing of Black people throughout the United States. He has educated in detention centers from New York’s Rikers Island to California’s San Quentin State Prison. His work in Rikers Island was featured in the New York Times . He was also adjunct faculty at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University in New York. Subscribing to the Freirian model of education, he designed curricula for oppressed people’s education projects from San Francisco to South Africa. His latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, We Charge Genocide Again , has been used as an educational and organizing tool throughout the country. He uses his craft to create liberated territory wherever he performs and teaches. He recently lived and organized around issues of human rights and self-determination in Jackson, MS.


Francisco Herrera

Growing up in the border town of Calexico, California, Francisco Herrera always straddled two worlds. “My siblings and cousins and I used to sing rancheras and some mariachi at family parties, and when we got a little older we started some garage rock bands,” he recalls of his early musical exploits. But as he became more involved in the church and in particular with the Latin American school of Liberation Theology, Herrera began exploring ways to use music to further his goals of social justice. Herrera traveled extensively throughout Latin America working with community organizations even as he finished his four years at seminary school, all the while toting his guitar and whipping it out for events, actions, and church meetings. “Reflection, meditation, prayer, all those things are important. But they’re important so you can play a role here to make social change. De ahí nacen all those misas that have a social message.” He deftly weaves between English and Spanish as he explains the philosophy of Liberation Theology as he sits under portraits of his two heroes, Che Guevara and Monseñor Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran archbishop who was assassinated in 1980. Francisco Herrera’s most recent album, Honor Migrante, is full of songs that reflect his passion for social justice. The themes range from immigrant rights to globalization, and the music itself crosses genre borders from traditional-sounding norteño and corrido tunes to post-modern electro-cumbia and Latin Rock wet with soulful vocals, wailing electric guitars, and a ripping Fender-Rhodes solo. All these sounds are melded smoothly together by veteran super-producer Greg Landau (Maldita Vecindad, Susana Baca) who met Herrera in the late 1980s on the Nueva Cancion circuit. His cd is available in the donate tab of livingwage-sf.org


Elizabeth Esteva

Elizabeth Esteva

Elizabeth pictured on the right

Elizabeth was born in Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, in a beautiful little neighborhood called “Barrio Santa Cruz.” Elizabeth came to live in San Francisco in 1993. In 1996, she started singing together with her sister, to educate people about their culture. Besides Spanish, Elizabeth sings in Zapotec, one of the indigenous languages of Oaxaca. She performs songs that speak of the love of justice and change.