A LETTER TO THE DISTRICT
I DECIDED TO RUN BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT IT’S TIME TO INVEST IN THE MILLIONS OF CALIFORNIANS WHO’VE BEEN LEFT BEHIND
I’m one of nine adopted children in a family of fifteen. Despite our loving family, I saw and felt the harm caused by broken child welfare policy, underinvested schools, environmental hazards, and economic inequity from an early age. My siblings and I faced barrier upon barrier to success and opportunity.
From a young age, my teachers identified me as gifted and talented, but I failed out of middle school, attended three separate high schools, and still could not achieve the requirements that would have allowed me entry into the California college system. I took additional classes at two community colleges before matriculating into an out of state college and returning home to complete a Master’s degree in Public Policy Analysis at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs (Go Bruins). I am the only one of my adopted siblings to attend college.
I graduated top of my class, but I struggled to pay my own rent. Without the support of a concerned professor, I would have lost my housing.
Today, two of my siblings are experiencing homelessness.
The focus of my professional life has been justice reform.
I’m the founding director of the UCLA Black Policy Project, a multi-issue policy initiative that has informed legislation at all levels of government. I’ve organized for environmental justice, racial equity, housing justice, and the reimagining of our criminal legal system. I’ve advised local and state elected officials, including Senator Sydney Kamlager and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, on issues ranging from youth development to innovative strategies aimed at reducing the number of people falling into homelessness. I’ve also been appointed to a number of positions in the Los Angeles Unified School District tasked with improving outcomes for students who have traditionally fallen through the cracks like I did. Additionally, I have served the Democratic Party as an elected delegate from the 54th Assembly District.
Last year, I co-chaired the Measure J campaign, which fought to allocate nearly a billion dollars of the County’s annual budget to address racial injustice through investments in youth development, job training, small business development, supportive housing, and alternatives to incarceration rooted in a public health approach.
Passing Measure J was a real win for Los Angeles, and for me—but the morning after our win, I learned that one of my siblings had been arrested and charged in San Diego for actions that are now treated with a public health approach here in Los Angeles.
That’s when I realized I had to run for State Assembly. The 54th Assembly District has the potential to lead the entire state of California.
I have the experience and track record of success we need to not just talk the talk, but to do the work needed to fundamentally improve the lives of millions of Californians who have been left behind. I’ve lived it, I’ve organized around it, I’ve built diverse coalitions, and I’ve led historic reforms to help bridge the gap between inequity and opportunity.
This district has given everything to me, and I want to take the lessons I’ve learned here to Sacramento and represent what matters most to us.