I was born in La Paz, Bolivia and lived there until my parents immigrated to Virginia in 1992. When I was growing up, my mom and dad worked two to three jobs to ensure that we had a roof over our heads and food on the table. They wanted my sister and I to have a better life so they emphasized the importance of getting a good education, and regardless of their work schedules, one of them always made it to school events, parent teacher conferences, and recitals.
Transitioning to an all-English curriculum was at first difficult for me but with the help of my classmates I was able to pick up the language relatively quickly. Unfortunately, I lost most of my Spanish in the process and didn’t have the option of an immersion program that would have helped me retain my first language. I attended public schools from elementary school through high school, and I had some amazing educators who inspired me to go to college. I didn’t think I was smart enough for college until a teacher suggested I take a few classes at a community college over the summer. After the first week, I was hooked. That experience helped me feel more confident about going to George Mason University, where I graduated with a BA in Political Science. .
Because of my experience growing up in a working class family, I began working on political campaigns during college to try to make a difference for families like mine. That is how I learned about the powerful role that unions can play in the lives of working people. I’ve dedicated my career to building power for working people as part of the labor movement, where I’ve been honored to work all over the country in support of fast food workers, home care providers, hospital workers and educators – from child care providers through higher education. As an organizer, I have learned how to support workers and community members in identifying issues, developing a strategy to make the changes they need to better their lives and strengthen their communities, and then how to build coalitions to win. These are skills that Oakland parents and families need on our school board - which spends more time divided than united in support of Oakland students.
Work led me to Alameda County, where I fell in love with Oakland and decided to put down roots. I love Oakland’s history, art, community, and sense of justice. I live in the Eastmont Hills with my husband, who is a public school teacher, and our dog, Kerbie.
I believe in Oakland. I believe in the wisdom, talent and creativity in our community. And as a school board member I will fight to ensure we have safe, supportive and academically enriching public schools for all the children of Oakland.