Social Justice and Equality
My mother was an immigrant from Brazil, and my father was an American. My parents grew up in abject poverty, and my mother only had a high school education. I was born in the United States, but grew up in Chile until I was 10 years old. When we returned to the U.S., we were able to live a middle-class life and experience the American Dream. Because of this, I have dedicated my career to public service to ensure that others have the same opportunity we were fortunate to have.
Social justice hasn’t just been a calling, it has been a primary driver in my life.
- In high school, I picked apricots in the orchards of Almaden Valley, strawberries in Salinas, and worked the apricot line in a San José fruit cannery. I witnessed discrimination and wage disparity in the workplace firsthand.
- I marched shoulder-to-shoulder with workers, and early on in my career I provided pro-bono representation for farmworkers in their legal battle for fair pay against Driscoll’s.
- I challenged Prop 8 in court to defend marriage equality. All couples serve to be treated equally and fairly. While same-sex marriage is legal, we still have work to do to ensure all LGBTQ+ people are treated fairly in the workplace, in healthcare and under the law, and that homeless LGBTQ+ youth have safe shelter.
- As County Counsel, I created the Social Justice Impact and Litigation Team to litigate cases to help protect the people of the county from those who were taking advantage of them, including the lead paint companies, Notarios, and drug companies that were not transparent about drug pricing. This team is still active and has taken on the Trump Administration, DACA legislation, opioid painkiller manufacturers and other high impact cases. The team also drafts innovative local ordinances, and develops new policies and programs to advance the County’s goal of achieving social and economic justice for all its residents.
My track record of holding the powerful accountable, fighting the corruption of money in politics, and working on behalf of the people demonstrates what I will do in the California State Senate to continue the fight for social justice and economic opportunity for all.