My parents were both 15-years-old when I was born. A 15-year-old father from Puerto Rico and a 15-year-old mother growing up in and out of foster care. My mother's parents forced her out of the house upon finding out she was pregnant, so we grew up homeless. There were countless nights where we’d take the night bus when the shelters were full or when friends of friends didn’t have room for us to spend the night. Yet, growing up homeless showed me what it means to fight for those that you love. It showed me what it means to put your people first and how to stand up to injustice and inequality.
I was the first person from my biological family and adopted family to go to college. I received a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU) in Honolulu, HI. At HPU I was elected Student Body President as a sophomore where I worked with the city, county and Governor’s office on multiple issues affecting the student body.
I put my years of Arabic studies to use by studying abroad and eventually landed a job with the United Nations in Istanbul, Turkey where I was working with refugees from all over the middle east. This work took me to the easternmost provinces of Turkey where I worked hand-in-hand with Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war.
Later I took an opportunity back in the states at UN headquarters to work for the United Nations Millennium Campaign in New York City. After a year of intense travel to some of the world’s best cities for work, I found myself yearning for a place to call “home.” Raleigh fit the bill.
In 2012 I worked for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign in southern Philadelphia. In 2015 I was hired as one of the first 100 people for the Hillary for America campaign as a consultant and I began traveling back and forth between Brooklyn and Raleigh. My work since then has been focused on giving back to non-profits through development, management, and strategy consulting.
Raleigh is the first place in my life where I've felt a true sense of home and belonging. It's where I bought a home. Where I’ve started a new chapter in my life by working towards a master’s degree at NC State University in the renowned College of Design. I’ve had the pleasure of planning non-profit galas, serving on non-profit and foundation boards and being an active part of Raleigh’s community. It was through this work and involvement that I quickly realized that we have so much potential for a city that can truly lead the south-east, and even the nation, on some of the issues that plague every city. We have the resources, the partners, and power. We just need the right leaders.
I’m running for Raleigh’s City Council because we need a leader who is bold in the face of our problems and who is willing to do the tough work to lead Raleigh towards a more sustainable, equitable, and innovative future.