A LETTER TO MY DISTRICT FAMILY
MY JOURNEY TO ELECTED OFFICE WAS ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL
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 adopted child in my family who found a pathway through higher education and to an advanced degree.
I graduated top of my class, but I struggled to pay my rent. Without the support of a concerned professor, I would have lost my housing.
Today, I have siblings who are experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.
The focus of my professional life has been justice reform.
I founded 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. In 2020, I co-chaired the historic Measure J campaign, which fought to allocate nearly a billion dollars of the LA County 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. The measure passed with over 2.1 million voters voicing their support. I also advised local and state elected officials, including Senator Sydney Kamlager and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, before being elected at 29 years old to serve as the Assemblymember representing California’s 54th Assembly District in May of 2021.
I have the experience and track record of success we need to not just talk about justice, 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 fight everyday to make sure we have all of the things we need to thrive and grow.