Who am I?
I am the Director of the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, a grassroots multiethnic coalition of community organizations advancing racial and economic justice policy. In 2013, we took the lead on passing SB 1659 that provides a $1,500 tax credit to employers who hire ex-offenders within three years of release, helped pass a bill to allow undocumented immigrants to get temporary visitor driver’s licenses and won $14 million in the state budget for youth employment.
I serve on the state’s Racial Profiling and Data Oversight Board and Asian American Employment Plan Council. I serve on the Village of Skokie’s Environmental and Sustainability Council. I sit on the Board of the Woods Fund of Chicago and the Asian American Action Fund of Greater Chicago. I am a member of the Niles Township Democratic Organization and the Skokie Caucus Party. Formerly, I sat on the City of Chicago’s Commission on Equity and the board of the Japanese American Service Committee.
I am an urban planner and environmentalist. I have been an environmental and social justice activist for decades. My first environmental justice campaign was fighting incinerators disproportionately located in communities of color in Oakland, California near my home. In high school and college I was part of campaigns to support using less toxic products and better working conditions in nail salons and sweatshops where workers are disproportionately Asian immigrant women.
Why am I running?
I am an urban planner that cares about water. I bring my regional planning and land use background to protect our water on the supply side, as well as my community organizing and education background to engage residents in preserving our water on the demand side. I grew up under drought conditions in California and I have worked on environmental justice issues for over twenty years. As an agency that has the role and responsibility of managing 90 percent of the country’s water supply, I understand how important it is to have qualified people in this office. I will bring my training in regional planning, infrastructure development and land use issues to the Board. I also bring my passion for social, racial and environmental justice and my community relationships across Cook County’s diverse communities.
My priorities are
Clean Water: We must protect our lakes and rivers for this generation, and the next.
Green Jobs: We must invest in green jobs and innovation that provides prevailing wages.
Flood Prevention: We must develop local green infrastructure to protect our homes from flooding.
Fairness: We must establish reforms, support women/minority owned businesses and protect project labor agreements
My DFA Values
I have been an environmental and social justice activist for decades. My first environmental justice campaign was fighting incinerators disproportionately located in communities of color in Oakland, California near my home. In high school and college I was part of campaigns to support using less toxic products and better working conditions in nail salons and sweatshops where workers are disproportionately Asian immigrant women.
When I moved to Chicago I worked for the Applied Research Center in the Center for Neighborhood Technology building. A lot of my work was influenced by working on the second floor next to CNT’s transportation department. Since, I have worked on a number of transportation equity campaigns. These included campaigns to defend and increase public transportation in low-income communities of color like the Blue Line in Pilsen, the Pink Line in Little Village, and the Red Line on the south side. I have also worked with Enlace Chicago, one of United Congress’ member organizations, to expand green space like community gardens and pocket parks in the Little Village neighborhood.
I bring long-standing community- and equality-based commitments to my race, and will maintain those commitments when serving on the board. I believe in open, transparent, participatory government and will advocate for such.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I had over 200 different people circulate nominating petitions on my behalf. I have only one campaign staffer, relying on volunteers to host house parties, raise campaign funds and volunteer with me at train stations and in parades. As a community organizer, I understand the power of people powered activities and will count on such activities to propel me through the elections.