I’ve always been led to roles where I’m able to play a part in helping communities realize their collective power. I’m inspired by the way community organizing can reform broken systems, create movements and disrupt the status quo. This informs my work as Political Director for GO Public Schools Oakland.
I was raised in a blue collar, working class family in Detroit, MI. True to the motor city, the majority of my family worked in the auto industry. Many workers there were members of the United Auto Workers (UAW). My family was no exception and were very active in the union. Members of the UAW were like extended family to me. I remember my grandmother taking me to the auto plant with her to pick up her paycheck. She’d stop and talk to just about every co-worker she saw while I impatiently stood by her side, ready to go.
My childhood experience led me to pursue work as a union organizer later in life, representing teachers and classified employees in the country’s second largest school district – Los Angeles Unified. Mainly working in underserved communities of South Los Angeles, I witnessed how the lack of educational resources affects and hinders a community – the disappointment on a parent’s face when they have no other option but to send their child to the lowest performing school due to their zip code. I also learned the power of using politics for social change. The process of electing our representatives, and the will of the people to fire them if necessary.
This brought me to my work as Organizing Director at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, where I focused on the broken criminal justice system. I worked directly with communities across Oakland to shift resources away from systems of oppression and into programs, services and job opportunities that build our community.
Working at GO marks a full circle movement for me. Back to reforming an education system that has been historically cruel to low-income communities. Back to using our political voice to shape the type of school district we deserve. Back to building a grassroots movement of families and educators that are concerned with one goal – the success of Oakland students.
I’m looking forward to meeting you and working with our community. I hope you’ll join me on Thursday, December 5th at the New Parkway Theatre at 5pm for our film screening and discussion of Knock Down the House – the inspiring film chronicling four amazing women and their political campaigns, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who took on a ten-term incumbent to win a seat in Congress. RSVP here.