Talk about your family background. What do you consider yourself ethnically, and how has that shaped you politically?
Respuestas en español aquí.
Hillary Ronen, Chief of Staff to Supervisor David Campos
My great grandparents on both sides of my family escaped Russia after suffering persecution for being Jewish. My mom’s grandparents immigrated to the United States after their parents were murdered while they hid in the attic of their home. My father’s grandparents fled pogroms to Palestine. My dad’s aunt and uncle were deported to France by British controlled Palestine because of their political beliefs. My aunt and her son hid in the countryside throughout World War II. My uncle fought in the Underground Resistance, was captured, and survived a concentration camp.
My father immigrated to the United States from Israel in his twenties. He worked in blue collar non-union jobs during my childhood. He would stand up for himself and his coworkers when experiencing mistreatment and would often suffer negative consequences. My mother was a school teacher and lifelong member of the union. For the past 40 years, my parents have been living in the same rent controlled apartment where I was born.
My family history has profoundly shaped who I am and my chosen career path. I went to Berkeley law school and worked for years defending immigrant workers at La Raza Centro Legal because I believe no one should be mistreated based on their race, ethnicity, or economic status. I became involved in local government because I want to create safe communities where everyone can live with dignity and thrive.
Melissa San Miguel, Education Advocate
I was born and raised right here in the Mission and am the proud daughter of Peruvian immigrants. My parents arrived without speaking any English, and I am the first-generation of my family to be born here in the US and the first-generation to go to college. I know what the struggle is like to be a young, brown, bilingual Latina. This is why I have dedicated my career to uplifting our community and others like it because I have never forgotten where I come from and how many of us are being left behind.
I knew at a young age that I could be a bridge between our community and the opportunities that we had every right to, but were denied. I made a decision to make my mind and my body that bridge, so our kids could cross the chasm of a broken and inequitable education system so they could realize their full potential, live out their dreams, and be free. I am proud of my work as an education advocate for underserved youth. I am proud of my work at the US-Mexico border in support of minors fleeing awful conditions in Latin America. I am proud of the many young people I have mentored over the years. As Supervisor, I will continue to fight and advocate for underserved communities. I look forward to serving my neighbors in District 9 and making government work for them.
Joshua Arce, Civil Rights Attorney
My great-grandfather came to the U.S. from Sonora, Mexico and worked in the fields with a hope that each generation to follow would move up the economic ladder. My grandfather was a janitor and my father was a police officer who became one of the first Latino homicide detectives within the Los Angeles Police Department.
My mother’s grandfather came here from a farming town in Sweden and my sister and I enjoyed learning those family customs later in life. My mother worked as a wallpaper hanger and painter, and I often worked as her apprentice growing up. Seeing how hard my family worked to make sure that I had opportunity to be the first in my family to graduate from college and then law school shaped how I view public service and led me to become involved in the labor movement.
We were raised in the Latino traditions that continue within my family. There is much diversity in our home — my wife, whose father is black and mother is white — and we have raised our two sons to be bi-lingual in both Spanish and English. As a candidate, I am inspired by other Mexican-American leaders who have come before me — like Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Kevin De Leon, Alex Padilla, and John Avalos.
I hope to build on the work that they did to continue to fight for the most vulnerable among us and to ensure Latinos continue to be represented on the Board of Supervisors.
Iswari España, Training Officer with the Human Services Agency
I migrated to the Mission District at the age of 11 from Guatemala City. I come from a family of teachers where respect, honesty and community advocacy values were instilled at a young age. My parents sacrificed their careers to give my sister and I the best education and opportunities. My father was a journalist and high school teacher and my mother was a middle school teacher in their native countries. In the US, my parents worked six jobs to make ends meet. I was raised with a holistic approach towards our community, where the notion of giving back was a privilege.
I have a Colombian and Guatemalan background. I consider myself a Latino, San Franciscan/Mission raised. Growing up I saw discrimination, poverty, and street violence. I experienced inadequate access to education, housing, and evictions. I witnessed how our community leaders sold out our neighborhood and the neighbors. Thus, the core of my political views has been shaped by family values, and the injustices that I experienced and witnessed in my life.
43 Questions is a weekly series — started 43 weeks before Election Day — to question the candidates running for District 9 supervisor. Send us questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know in comments or in an email if you think candidates have answered as asked.