Community and Health Care Organizer
Tell us a little about yourself
I was born and raised in South Sacramento by very loving parents, I am the oldest of 3 kids which include my brother and sister. My father is Mexican and my mother is Italian. We are a very close family and I was raised with strong family values. I am a Single Mom of two handsome boys, Henry (23) who graduated from Sacramento State last year with a Sociology Major Degree and Fernando (20) who attends Sacramento City College finishing up his General Education. I have been working for UC Davis Medical Center for the last 26 years as a Transplant Financial Coordinator. For the last few years I have also been working as a Member Organizer for my union, AFSCME 3299. I am an Executive Board Member of AFSCME 3299 and a member of several internal committees, including the Immigration, Political Action and Building Committee
How are you making a difference in your community? What issues are you most passionate about?
My passion for health care accessibility for all intersected with my work for workers' rights, when I saw that my coworkers could not be treated in the same hospitals they worked at. As workers at some of the best hospitals in the state, we made sure that patients received the best treatments, but my friends and their families could not afford to receive the same treatment. Well I can say that I am very much an activist and am trying to help my community with my fellow coworkers
What inspires your community efforts?
What inspires me is our future generation and what are we going to leave behind for them. Being a mother and wanting the best for my boys is what drives me for my community as well. We have to have tough conversations and do the hard work now to be able to leave a better and safer world for our children and communities. I try to educate my fellow coworkers with their rights and knowing their voice IS important, whether it is standing up for yourself when faced with unsafe working conditions, voting, picketing for what you believe in or just having a voice to be heard. It is very important to me to make sure that everyone knows their rights so that they are prepared to exercise them should they be needed. From a very young age my parents taught me that "a closed mouth isn't fed", and I have carried on that lesson in all my endeavors as I continue to fight for myself and those around me. It's crucial that we make use of our voice and put in the work to stand up for whatever it is that we believe in.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Raising two boys as a Single mom and instilling how much Education is a priority in life, that is one thing that no one can take away from you. I did and still do my very best to give them all that I could and raise them with morals, humanity, love and kindness and I believe that they have proven that to me as young adults right now. And becoming an elected official. I campaigned myself, canvassed and learned the process on my own. The timing of elections was during our end of the campaign fight, so it wasn't easy to get the help from others so it was a struggle but I was able to multitask like always and get it done!
What have you struggled most with in your life?
Trying to be the best Single Parent of my two boys. I want them to always look up to me as the woman that struggled but persevered and achieved her goals that she put in front of her. Life is hard and has its ups and downs, but parenting isn't easy and there is no book on how to be a successful parent, so I am always working on doing the best I can.
What kind of lessons do you think are important to instill in future generations?
Some key lessons that have helped me in life, and that I believe can help our communities thrive are to instill values of Humanity, kindness, education, leadership. It is important that we teach younger generations to remember to always be human first and to think kindly of others so that they grow up to be compassionate leaders in our communities. As we work to better the education system, it is critical to emphasize community and leadership engagement so that our kids see themselves represented by the leaders they want to become in the future. Our future generations need to always remember where we came from and so that they can continue the work to further improve the things we are working to remedy.
If there is one problem in our community that you wish you could fix, what would it be?
Something that has strongly impacted my community in recent years has been homelessness. I wish and pray that NO one would have to live on the streets for any reason. To know that people have struggles in life and have succumbed to homelessness is very sad. I would love to partake in efforts to help those in need and to get them housed as a first step to reintegrate people into our communities. There are so many other things I would like to fix, but this is something that is very close to my heart and would like to work to alleviate.
How do you decompress?
With so much work needing to be done in our workplace and in communities, it is hard for me to have any free time but when I do, I make sure to take advantage of it. I like to spend time with my two boys and family, and taking day trips to unwind if possible. I like to cook and bake, that in itself is a stress reliever for me. I also love being near water, so anytime I can get to the beach or ocean, that is my "serenity". Many of us worry that we're not doing enough to help enough people, but it is important to take care of our mental and physical health so we can continue the hard battles we face on a daily basis