“I am a mom. I am an immigrant. I am a woman of color. I am a wife. I am a neighbor. I am a social change leader. I strive for equity, dignity, and compassion in everything I do. My story is your story.”
It starts in Northern Iran just before the revolution. My parents left post-revolution Iran for the U.S. when I was seven years old to find a better life for their two daughters. Our immigration story includes my family being separated for a year, traveling through Turkey and Germany, and making it from the ground up once we finally made it here. My story and my family’s story includes experiences with gender, class, and religious injustices. While I learned the meaning of equity–or simply stated, fairness–at a very young age, I have also had many privileges including education, housing stability, and good health that have led me to my life here in Santa Cruz.
Shebreh with her mom at the Caspian sea.
Shebreh’s first day of school in the US.
SANTA CRUZ FELT LIKE HOME
From the moment I first came here to visit the University, Santa Cruz felt like home. The Santa Cruz mountains reminded me of the Alborz mountains that separated my hometown in Northern Iran from the major metropolitan cities. The Pacific Ocean smelled like the Caspian Sea that I grew up near.
Santa Cruz has been my home and my community since then. Here in Santa Cruz, my husband and I started his integrative bodywork clinic business, I started my consulting business and most importantly, I became the mother of my two boys, 14-year-old Darioush and 12-year-old Shyon.
My educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and French from UC Santa Cruz and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from San Jose State.
For the past two decades I have dedicated my work to building strong equitable communities. Through my consulting business, I provide grant writing, program coordination and management, facilitation, organizational development and leadership capacity building in the fields of public health, education and social services.
Homelessness & Housing
Responsible Homeless Policies
I passed (co-wrote/co-authored) compassionate accountable homeless policies that move unhoused off streets, restores our open space and neighborhoods, and connects unhoused individuals to shelters and services.
Unhoused Youth & Families
I've brought in millions of dollars into our community to support youth and families experiencing homelessness to get them into housing and connect them to services.
Over the last 15 years, I have worked to secure over $30 million in grant funding for Santa Cruz to address immigration rights, mental health and substance use, and youth homelessness.
These dollars translate to increased treatment options including:
Support and services rather than punitive responses for young people;
Increased housing and work options to help youth get off the streets;
Legal services to support immigrants; and
Care for patients with less chronic diseases
I have supported housing projects including affordable housing while making improvements to our downtown.
Children, Youth & Families
Investing in Our Youth
I have worked across our county to advance our efforts around childcare and education, youth workforce development, youth homelessness, and youth substance use prevention.
I have brought multi-sector partnerships together to address complex social issues such as substance abuse, mental health, homelessness, immigrant rights, criminal justice reform and more. These partnerships have resulted in local policies and programs that increase healthy options for families and reduce youth access to harmful substances.
I co-led the Children's Fund effort, ensuring our children, including low-income children, have access to recreational opportunities.
Children Youth Bill of Rights
I co-authored The City of Santa Cruz Children and Youth Bill of Rights which will ensure that leaders keep the needs of young people at the forefront of decisions about budgets and government policies.
I have implemented water conservation policies and will continue to support efforts to modernize our water system.
I co-authored the Green Economy Resolution which defined Green Economy as one which is low-to-no carbon, resource-efficient, socially inclusive, encompassing jobs related to environmental quality and resource protection. These jobs range from renewable energy, public transportation, waste management and recycling, ecotourism, sustainable agriculture, urban forestry, land conservation and remediation, to environmental monitoring.
These efforts informed the city's Climate Action Plan 2030 and workforce development program. Additionally, the Green Economy resolution provided direction for the city to develop a list of pre-qualified local contractors for residents to reference, integrate Sustainability and Equity into budgeting, and explore and pursue job opportunities and grant funding related to building electrification efforts with regional partners.
Health & Public Health
My experience serving on the Central California Alliance for Health Commission, Community Health Trust of the Pajaro Valley, and Dignity Health Community Advisory Board have given me in-depth knowledge of our local, regional and state healthcare needs and an opportunity to act on these needs. This includes appropriate responses to mental health crises, increased treatment beds, continued access to up-to-date COVID-19 information and resources, forming a County Hospital District, and support for our healthcare workers.
The Hospital District
As a Board member of the Community Health Trust of the Pajaro Valley and a Commissioner on the Central California Alliance for Health, I understand the great need in our community for this hospital district to be formed so that our hospital can continue to serve the majority Latinx population in South County. I have been intimately involved in local efforts to ensure that WCH stays open and offers these essential services.
Economic Vitality & Recovery
As a grant writer, I secured funds to support workforce development programs for youth in our community.
Support for Small Businesses
As a councilmember I worked with the Economic Development Department to support our local businesses as we addressed the impacts of COVID-19. This included activating empty spaces through efforts such as a pop up program. I also worked with the Midtown Business Association to address concerns and support efforts to activate the corridors.