In 1994, prior to completion of high school, I became involved in the anti-immigrant/anti-minority backlash in opposition to California statewide initiative Proposition 187. In response, I collaborated in coordinating mass "walk outs" or demonstrations on the east-side of Los Angeles. The initiative was eventually approved by voters in California (it was later overturned by a US Supreme Court ruling) yet the motivation to seek social justice remained within me. Upon graduation from high school I began employment for the Los Angeles Unified School Distinct where I worked directly with "at-risk" youth and their families.
I soon attended community college in Los Angeles where I also became involved in local, district, state and national advocacy for public education. In 1998 I was appointed as Commissioner of Academic Affairs at East Los Angeles College, Associated Student Union where I began to work and understand the needs of students and the need for policy reforms within the educational system at my college, in my distinct and throughout the state. That same year I completed a senior internship with my local state assembly member.
In 1999 following my term as intern and commissioner, I along with several other members of the student body organized the College Democrats of California, East Los Angeles College. I served as President of College Democrats until the year 2000. That year I was unanimously elected as Student Member of the Board of Trustees for the Los Angeles Community College District and to serve the educational interests of 130,000 students.
During my term as trustee, my fellow board members and I were successful at passing a 1.25 billion dollar general obligation tax bond measure to build and improve campus facilities within the nine college system. Upon completion of my term as trustee I was endorsed by the California State Student Association of Community Colleges for membership on both the California Postsecondary Education Commission and the California Community College Board of Governors. Yet, Governor Gray Davis made no appointment that term.
In 2001 I was selected to serve a fellowship for the Corporation for National Service as a Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow. During my term in the RFK Memorial I worked specifically with students in the Pico Aliso Housing Projects in East Los Angeles and children at Normandie Elementary School in South Central Los Angeles, the epicenter of the LA riots of 1992. My experience as a fellow for RFK allowed me to have a hands-on programmatic development experience and direct service to my community.
In 2002 I agreed to another term within the corporation under the Volunteers Service to America Program which I was placed at The Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in the Fruitvale District of Oakland, California. At the Peralta Hacienda I worked on developing community and government partnerships for the purpose of developing Oakland’s historical core. My commitment to the 'Hacienda' would continue far past my participation with VISTA and I would eventually serve as a resident of the compound as well as Program Coordinator and Park Liaison for several more years following my national service.
In 2003 I served as Union Organizer for the American Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) through H.E.R.E. (Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees Union) in which I have continued to be active in the fight for working families to gain fair wages, job security and safe working conditions. I also continued to participate in such important campaigns as that to stop the recall of then Governor Gray Davis.
Several months later in early 2004 I and became the proud father to Janeiro Sosa-Andalon, in nearby Berkeley. In the summer of 2005 I served as a Field Intern with the Applied Research Center, Race and Public Policy Program on the California Racial Equity Initiative that sought to bring greater awareness on of the issue of racial justice within public policy making. Recently I was awarded with the Anna Los Memorial Labor Studies Scholarship and recognized as a a member of the 2005 National Deans List. This falI I began attending California State University, Sacramento to complete my B.A. in Government. Aside from the my academic and professional persuits, I will continue to work hard toward rearing my son to the best of my ability and to continue to seek racial, social and economic justice for all.
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