You can’t ever judge a book by its cover. This is especially true in America. We live in a true melting pot of cultures! I am very unique in the fact that I am culturally diverse. What does this mean? Having lived in Mexico from the time I was 1 to the time I was 9, gave me a very unique perspective and personality. One of the hardest questions growing up was “Where are you from?”
I was born in Chicago, but I only lived there for one year. My parents are originally from Minnesota, but I only lived there for 2 years while my parents cared for my grandparents, after moving here from Mexico. This was a very difficult transition for me. I did not speak Spanish for 2 years, my first language, because as a 9-year old I needed to fit in. I first discovered I could be who I was when I moved to Austin. I moved here at the age of 12, in 1992, when Austin was weird.
I attended Fulmore Middle School, and remember one Christmas, Jonathan Grubb wore battery operated Christmas lights on top of his 70s shirt and bell bottoms. His straight hair went past his shoulders. I thought, man, if he can pull that off and still be cool I can be who I am. And so started my journey on relearning Spanish and embracing “me.” I graduated from Johnston High School, class of 1998!
My husband, who is from Peru, and I chose to come live in St. Johns as a newly-wed couple in 2006. We purchased a house that was a foreclosure and fixed it up. We moved into the neighborhood at a time when there were no fences on our block, and empty lots were abounding in this community. I learned about the rich history of St. Johns and fell in love with my neighbors and their stories, many who grew up here. We created community, and really family with our neighbors. Thirteen years later, my neighbors and I find ourselves trapped. We have no voice.
But, why am I running for Austin City Council? I am running because about two years ago my children and I, while social distancing with friends in the front yard, heard a woman wailing for help. She said she was being sex trafficked and asked us to call a phone number. We did. She gave us a phone number to a case worker in Nashville, TN, who had been tracking her around the United States in order to help her. The case worker said she was so happy that this woman was at least in a safe place, but the woman, who was staying in a tent, was being trafficked. We saw and heard the proof every night and day for about three and half weeks. My family
and I were seen by the traffickers at one point and asked who we were. I assured her I was looking for help during this time, and I called everyone I thought could make a difference in order to get her help. I was not able to get her help.
This was the beginning of my current path. I received an email by Save Austin Now, which I didn’t know much about, to get signatures for Prop B with a friend. The email invited anyone to come and testify at the State Capitol on the issue of banning camping in public places. I asked my daughter if we should do it and she said yes. We worked together to create a speech that she gave at 11 PM at the capitol in front of the House of Representatives. In my neighborhood, allowing people to camp has created for us residents, many who are African American and Hispanic a very unsafe place to live, much less raise our children.
We have had people who are on drugs coming onto our yards, we have had our vehicles stolen from the driveway, we have had stabbings in our neighborhood store, shootings in front of our home, a man was found dead recently in the Wal-mart parking lot. Enough is enough! I can no longer just continue my life, raising and educating my children here in Austin and not do anything to improve the conditions in which we are all living. My community and neighborhood are going downhill fast. Why? Because there are no safe guards against crime, there is nothing being done by the city to address my neighborhood problems. As I stated I have lived here for 13 years, but with little police presence and no gang unit helping prevent crimes, organized criminals are literally mocking us as they steal our things.
I helped pass the camping ban here in Austin, as well as at the State level and I will continue fighting for Austin to be a safe, equitable city for all! For all communities, for all people, for all children! Would you please join me in making this city better? Will you accept this opportunity to either donate to my campaign, volunteer or vote for me if you can. The opportunity to make a radical change in city council is now! I stand for values such as integrity, truth, safety, being the change you want to see.