From Tukwila, via Armenia
This is an incredible community with beautiful diversity, and I’m honored to call it home. I grew up in Tukwila, attended Tukwila Elementary and graduated from Foster High. But like some of you, my life story is rooted in another part of the world, and my family’s relocation to this country was long and beset with obstacles.
Twenty years ago, before I found my way to Tukwila, I was living in an apartment in Des Moines. One day, agents from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) came knocking. A young, humble and honest father opened the door. Without asking him any questions or showing him any humanity, the agents handcuffed my father and took him away as though he were a felon. I was only two years old, and this would be the last time I saw my father without a three-inch-thick glass separating us, before we were reunited in Armenia a year later.
My family eventually made it back to the United States and settled in Tukwila. My father’s unexpected detention and inhumane treatment two decades ago have played an instrumental part in who I’ve become, reinforcing my desire to defend the vulnerable by reforming structural inequities.
A commitment to public service in Tukwila
My leadership and public service journey began right here in Tukwila at Foster High, where I served as the President of the Associated Student Body. Since then, I have continued finding ways to serve the community, whether through volunteering for local nonprofits or going door-to-door, as I did on behalf of both the Tukwila Public Safety Bond and the Tukwila School Levy.
As a board member of the Tukwila Children’s Foundation, I helped write grants to combat food insecurity during the pandemic, securing $10,000 and $47,500 from the Safeway Foundation and Albertsons Companies Foundation, respectively. These funds went to support the Tukwila Parks & Recreation Park n’ Play Program, Still Waters Summer Program and the Tukwila Pantry Food Bank.
I have been a long-time board member of the Friends of the Tukwila Library and Action Tukwila. For Action Tukwila, I helped organize a world dance party at the Sullivan Center in 2018 and co-hosted two Confluence Tukwila storytelling events, including a conversation on homelessness. I also worked with Action Tukwila to secure a grant for 60 soccer balls on behalf of the Tukwila Soccer Club, a program that makes soccer accessible to low-income students.
Serving students in Tacoma and beyond
At the University of Washington Tacoma, I served as President of the Associated Student Body. My proudest accomplishment in that role was spearheading a homelessness advocacy campaign with two peers, Adan Espino Jr. and Daniel Eatherly. Together we secured a partnership between the Tacoma Housing Authority, a private developer (Koz) and ASUWT to create 52 new apartment units for students experiencing homelessness – and laid the groundwork for an additional 70 units.
I also organized a lobbying effort in partnership with WSA (Washington Student Association) and UW Impact to boost financial aid to students throughout the state, winning an $18.5 million increase in State Need Grant (SNG) funding for income-eligible students.
Looking toward a brighter future
I’m eager to bring my work ethic and vision to the Tukwila City Council to address these and other issues that concern people in the community. I have a particular interest in public safety, homelessness, housing and the city's long-term financial health. Read more about my vision for Tukwila.