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  • Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson

Santa Cruz Works Highlights Shebreh's Campaign

Original article here

When I launched my campaign for Supervisor, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past – and the journey that got me here.


My family left Iran in 1984 in response to the harsh realities of living in a post revolution war-torn country. My parents saw injustices all around them and refused to accept a life where fear, shame and obedience were the only choices for their two girls.


When we arrived in the U.S. a year later, my parents restarted their lives by delivering newspapers, cleaning office buildings, and working at fast food restaurants.


It took courage and compassion, tenacity and grit to make it. These are the values and attributions that my parents instilled in me. This is what drives me to serve our community and make it a better, more equitable place.


As a professional Grant Writer and Project manager in the public health and social services field, I have successfully collaborated across our county with nonprofits, public and private sectors to address some of the most complex issues in our community. This includes youth well-being, juvenile justice reform, homelessness, mental health, substance abuse prevention and immigration rights. I’ve continued this work as a Santa Cruz City Councilmember, focusing my efforts on economic vitality, homelessness, youth well-being, workforce housing, downtown and business improvements and climate action.


I’m running for office because there is so much work to be done – and I know I can make a contribution towards a healthier, more prosperous Santa Cruz County. Our homelessness and behavioral health problems continue to grow. We have a housing and workforce problem – that if it goes unaddressed – we risk becoming exclusively a retirement town. And our climate response is urgent as shown by the ferocity of the CZU complex fires.


I don’t pretend to have a magic wand that will fix it all. And I don’t pretend to have all of the answers. But I do bring 20 plus years of doing the hard work here in our community, through innovative thinking, creative leadership and cross-sector partnerships that have produced results.


My vision is the vision of so many of the voters I’ve talked to over the last few months. A community where we can all have an affordable roof over our heads; where we can get well-paying jobs and hire talented workers for our businesses; where we can safely be outside and enjoy the beauty of Santa Cruz with our children and families.


If this campaign has taught me one thing, it’s that once we get through the divisive, polarizing narratives and noise of politics, then we discover that we have shared values of compassion, dignity, and equity. That we want the same thing – a healthy prosperous community. It’s often how we get there where things can fall apart.


I have the professional experience, political acumen, the courage and the determination to lead us through difficult decisions that lie ahead.


I am honored to have the endorsement of our current District 3 Supervisor Ryan Coonerty – and many other community leaders.


If you elect me as your next Supervisor, I will bring the tenacity of an immigrant and the values, courage and compassion that my parents instilled in me to make a difference for you day in and day out.


After 10 years of an all-male Board of Supervisors, it is time to elect a woman of color and a mother to lead our community forward.


I hope you’ll put your trust in me to represent you for the next four years.

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