I was born in the working-class suburbs of Seoul, South Korea and later adopted by my parents who call the Capital Region home. For almost all of my life, I have lived, attended school, and worked in New York State.
All throughout my life, my parents have modeled what it means to work hard and give back to the community. My father served in the army, which gave him the opportunity to attend community college. He worked as a janitor and warehouse laborer before accepting a position as an analytical lab technician where he has worked for over 30 years. My mother worked in food service, working in nursing homes and hospitals while attending college full-time. Today, she is a dietitian who treats patients with rare genetic and metabolic disorders.
My parent’s work ethic and commitment to community service rubbed off on me at a young age. At 14, I obtained my first job and at one point maintained two part-time jobs. And like my parents, I worked full-time while attending Pace University to help pay for my tuition.
I first cut my teeth in advocacy in high school by organizing and lobbying for the passage of the Dignity for All Students Act, a statewide bill to protect students from harassment and discrimination in K-12 schools. That life-changing experience confirmed that I wanted to serve others. The day after I graduated from high school, I moved to New York City to begin a summer internship at a national LGBTQ organization before I started college.
Since then, I have dedicated my professional career to progressive advocacy, particularly at the intersections of social, racial, economic, and gender justice. Over the past 15-years, I have given testimony to the New York City Council, traveled to the White House to discuss federal policy, and worked with a host of local, state, and federal officials on issues ranging from education to immigration.
My career has taught me how to actively listen, work across differences, build coalitions, and the value of serving others from a place of humility and integrity. And my lived experience as a transgender woman of color has instilled a deep commitment to tackling inequity.
In 2009, I moved to Jackson Heights in search of a safe and affordable community. Eight years later, my fiancé and I still call the world’s most diverse area home. Like most who live in the area, I pay rent to my landlord, commute to and from work at the MTA’s Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street Station, shop at the Greenmarket by Travers Park, and enjoy eating out at the many local restaurants ranging from Nixtamal to Lao Bei Fang.
As a first-time candidate, I now want to put my lifelong work as an advocate and progressive values to work for all of my neighbors who live, work, and go to school in Astoria, Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Woodside. Together, we can transform Albany to ensure working class people from all walks of life have a seat at the table.