What are specific ways you have helped people of color and/or the immigrant community?
For the last 25 years I was the Executive Director of Head Start and ECEAP, our state and federally funded comprehensive preschool programs. In this role, I worked with families who were considered “at risk” – these were people living under 130% of the federal poverty line – many were children and families who were from communities of color and immigrant communities. I created programs such as “interpreter banks” of parents who were trained to interpret at parent events and parent meetings, as well as creating dual-language parent-to-parent led literacy and health workshops. I’ve also proudly written of letters of recommendation for many DACA students applying for ACT 6 Scholarships in my role as a School Board Director on the Federal Way School Board.
What is the biggest legislative priority for communities of color and the immigrant community in the next few years? Do you think there are legislative concerns that are unique to these communities?
In the 2018 supplemental budget, the Washington State legislature approved $1 million to support legal services for immigrants with lower incomes facing deportation to allow these families to access legal representation in their immigration cases. I am appalled and disheartened to hear of instances where ICE is tearing apart families by deporting immigrants in Washington State, and across the country. Lower income immigrants already face a myriad of barriers to accessing basic services. Income status should not be a deciding factor in whether or not immigrants are receiving the best possible legal representation in their immigration.
What are specific ways that the office you seek would affect communities of color and the immigrant community, if you are elected?
the impacts of it are very real. People of color experience the world differently in every way due to the racial inequity in our systems and institutions, which perpetuates oppression against communities of color. It is also important to note that understanding the many intersecting ways that social and economic inequities create additional barriers for some, while others profit off of unearned privilege. The intersectionality of these issues further compounds the inequities that racial minorities face. I am constantly in conversation with the people in my community about how these inequities impact people differently. I will continue to have these conversations and to learn from and uplift the voices of those living the impacts of these inequities. It is my role to use my privilege to find, fund, and implement solutions that make our communities more equitable.