Those that I love are at the mercy of the inherently unjust systems of education, immigration, and criminal justice. My mother was 15 when I was born. She struggled, so the state placed me into foster care. When the judge ruled that I had to be returned to my mother, the social worker told her that “it did not matter” because I would just end up back in the system. She was a little right, but a lot wrong. I have since served a California State Senator, a Federal Judge, and the Mayor of New York City.
The Ella Baker Center’s mission is incredibly important and requires the work of committed and passionate advocates. The Organizers and Advocates must envision a better future for our communities. As a Legislative Aide, I had the privilege of being invited to come to the Ella Baker Center and speak to a group of youth about the importance of marginalized voices being at the policy making table.
In Fall 2012 I began the Master in Public Affairs (MPA) program at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Throughout this experience and my engagement with the curriculum, I developed analytical skills that address the political, economic, quantitative, behavioral, and normative aspects of policymaking. At the same time, I gained a sophisticated understanding of the distinctive historical, institutional, and cultural contexts within which policy is made.
I brought these skills and understandings to the study of law. UC Hastings has supplemented my analytic skill set with the ability to deconstruct opposing views and crawl inside the minds of my adversaries, which better enables me to respond and adjust my arguments. My personal experiences ground me in my community’s historical and social context, even as my sense of community has evolved to include all under-served and marginalized peoples.
The struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux against the Dakota Access Pipeline made it all too clear that for indigenous communities the struggle for liberation is inexorably tied to the wellbeing of our youth. Tribes are coming together in a way that has the potential to have long term positive effects for natives and non-natives alike. This shift is spiritual at its core and it calls on champions to rise up from a place of love and humility to build a true vision for liberation.
While serving first as a Summer Associate and subsequently as a Law Clerk at The Greenlining Institute, I examined the ways in which the criminalization of youth of color locked them out of mainstream economic opportunities. While serving first as a Senate Fellow and subsequently as a Legislative Aide for State Senator Ducheny, Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, I became intimately familiar with the state budget and legislative processes.
As a Senior Organizer and Advocate at the Ella Baker Center, I will contribute my legal and policy skills to most effectively empower underserved and marginalized people of color in the City of Oakland. I have learned how to examine complex issues from the systemic and individual level. I intend to envision new institutions rooted in a revolutionary love that can facilitate the healing that is so necessary in our communities.
Angelo recently joined the Ella Baker Center as a Senior Organizer and Advocate. You can learn more about Angelo here.