Fighting for the Eastside is not a political opportunity or “new-news” for me. As a 19-year insurance professional and Eastside homeowner of over a decade, my life’s work is deeply planted in the Tacoma community.

After my family was impacted by gun violence in Tacoma (through the death of my first born son), I, being a woman of action-oriented communication, responded with action and advocacy and formed the Billy Ray Foundation (www.billyray.org).

With the help of young people leading the efforts of re-claiming space and opportunities for Eastside youth and revitalizing older discussions, momentum for a $30 million project is being fulfilled; bringing a community center back to the Eastside in partnership with community based organizations, and local and statewide stakeholders.

However, my advocacy for disenfranchised communities didn’t start with the loss of my son. Before moving to Tacoma, I spent much of my free time mentoring and inspiring youth in at-risk environments and advocating for women’s rights. This spirit of “giving back” has passed down to my children.

In addition to this community work, I have also been active in working to support people in homeless communities. I am the founder of Mothers of Magnitude (www.mothersofmagnitude.com), a support network for mothers who have also suffered the loss of a child. I also co-lead a youth violence prevention program and teach young people how to be philanthropists.

As someone who grew up in low income housing and at times faced eviction, while simultaneously experiencing the impact of common inner city issues such as gentrification, gang violence and community substance abuse, I am committed to improving public safety, finding affordable housing solutions, and protecting human rights.