I grew up part of a family of five in Long Beach, California and am the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents. Graduating high school was a great achievement for me and my siblings, my mother attended school up to the fifth grade and my father only completed the third grade. I am the only one in my family that finished college and earned a BA from University of California at Berkeley in Development Studies and a Master’s in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
I fell in love with urban form and what makes up cities through my experience growing up. As a child I spent much of my time outside playing with my neighbors, making makeshift skateboard ramps on the sidewalk, playing football or baseball in the middle of the street. The sounds and the smells also appealed to all my senses; the loudness at all hours of the day with food cart vendors and trucks selling everything from fresh produce, to tamales, raspadosand clothing; while at night the helicopters hovered above shining the spotlight onto the alleyway illuminating my bedroom. The crime and violence heightened my sense of awareness, but the people and the place made me dream that our neighborhood could be better.
Because of this experience I feel I can relate to the neighborhoods I work with and the passion they feel about the place they call home. Besides Long Beach and the Bay Area I have lived in Mexico City, Cambridge (MA) and Houston.
How did you get involved with Broad St?
Broad Street is part of Mayor Ed Lee’s Invest In Neighborhoods Initiative managed by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and I am the assigned point person. The Initiative is an interagency partnership to strengthen and revitalize neighborhood commercial districts around San Francisco. The initiative, currently being piloted in 25 commercial districts, aims to strengthen small businesses, improve physical conditions, increase quality of life, and increase community capacity. Invest in Neighborhoods leverages City programs and resources in order to respond to the specific needs and opportunities in each district.
I have been working in the neighborhood for almost two years. My assignment is to listen, engage, identify opportunities, and implement projects that reflect the vision and desire of community stakeholders while strengthening the businesses in that corridor. Priorities at Broad and Randolph Street include beautification, pedestrian safety, and strengthening the businesses.