Win or lose, new progressive candidates in Marin County are proving that folks needn’t bow to conventional politics to make a distinction for marginalized communities.
San Rafael resident Samantha Ramirez, a youth educator, entered the political limelight when she started combating to curtail Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations in Marin. This 12 months, with a number of selection profanities, she criticized the Board of Supervisors for rejecting a “sanctuary county” ordinance.
Whereas receiving pushback for her remarks, she is unapologetic about talking her fact of what it was prefer to develop up amid Marin’s racial inequities as a daughter of immigrants from El Salvador and Honduras.
“There’s a large disconnect,” mentioned Ramirez, 31, who ran for the Space 1 seat on San Rafael Board of Training this fall. “So I turned that anger and frustration into one thing constructive and determined to run.
“For me there’s a large want for illustration,” she mentioned. “There’s a want for folks with completely different experiences, pores and skin coloration and backgrounds that have to be represented in management areas.”
Galvanized by ardour, a handful of like-minded candidates fanned out throughout Marin to run on progressive platforms within the Nov. 3 election.
Those that gained had been Fairfax Metropolis Council candidate Likelihood Cutrano, 27; Sausalito Marin Metropolis College District candidate Lisa Bennett, 58; Sausalito Metropolis Council candidate Janelle Kellman, 47; and Marin County Board of Training candidate Felicia Agrelius, 25.
Ramirez misplaced the race to Gina Daly however managed to attract 43% of the vote.
“I’m not dwelling on, ‘Oh, I didn’t win,’ as a result of simply by operating I confirmed what so many individuals really feel is actual,” she mentioned. “And there was this overwhelming quantity of help from the neighborhood by way of understanding why we want folks of coloration, bilingual folks and low-income folks represented.”
In one other faculty board race, Brandon Johnson, a Black graduate of Sir Francis Drake Excessive College, vied for a spot on the Tamalpais Union Excessive College District board. He campaigned to abolish scholar useful resource officers, enhance range amongst employees and implement an equitable, multicultural and inclusive curriculum.
Whereas Johnson misplaced, he finds consolation within the community of like-minded folks he met throughout his marketing campaign. He additionally finds consolation within the information he gained that he can cross onto different progressive candidates who’ve been marginalized due to the race, tradition or revenue.
“We’d like those who had been in these positions within the rooms the place the choices are made, advocating for these particular points,” mentioned Johnson, 33, of Forest Knolls. “I knew that I used to be an underdog and that’s a part of the rationale why I ran — I wish to ensure a few of these points on the forefront of oldsters’ minds.”
Whereas Robbie Powelson misplaced the Marin Group Faculty District board election, he’s mentioned he’s nonetheless dedicated to serving to people who find themselves homeless, significantly the anchor-out neighborhood of Richardson Bay and other people camped out in Novato and Petaluma who’re being pushed out by regulation enforcement and metropolis officers.
“Sadly, a variety of issues which can be considered as legit are extraordinarily unhealthy and poisonous to our communities,” mentioned Powelson, 26, founding father of the TAM Fairness Marketing campaign group. “I believe elected officers give a variety of credence to racists and segregationist organizations in our communities that limit housing and that actually harms folks.”
Powelson mentioned he was arrested on trespassing allegations in Petaluma on Friday whereas making an attempt to assist folks transfer their belongings out of their shelter. The belongings had been going to be destroyed, he mentioned.
“We had been there to assist folks and doc the police,” he mentioned. “We’re shining the lights on them and that’s what makes them nervous.”
Powelson mentioned he was launched the identical day, including that the folks had been camped out on personal property as a result of town pressured them out of public areas. He mentioned the tide is popping.
“I really feel like individuals who’ve been standing up are those that know what it’s prefer to be on the underside facet of the boot,” he mentioned. “There was extra hope and of a way of chance that we are able to really change issues for many who expertise the unfavorable side of our county’s energy dynamics.”
Argelius, who gained a county board of schooling seat with about 58% of the vote, mentioned she determined to run to handle fairness and achievement gaps.
“Being progressive implies that I acknowledge that this nation was constructed via the enslavement of Black folks and genocide of Indigenous folks,” Agrelius mentioned. “And that I have to actively confront racism, homophobia, transphobia and different methods of oppression in all the pieces I do.”
Ramirez and Johnson had been her inspiration, she mentioned.
“They’re each sensible leaders who taught me about staying grounded in my values and genuine via the marketing campaign,” she mentioned. “Realizing they had been operating inspired me to be courageous sufficient to step up as nicely.”