It’s been a busy couple of months here in Glendale as I and other parents prepare for the school board elections on March 5, 2024, to fill two open seats on the board of trustees of the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD). This is an important race for our community because we’re organizing to keep Glendale an inclusive community and fighting to keep two right-wing extremists off our school board and stop them from continuing to bring outsiders into our district who have instigated violence and hate here, read more here: After Right-Wing Extremists Instigated Violence in my Community, We Organized.
To help get the word out, I have been knocking on my neighbors’ doors in support of Area A candidate Telly Tse and calling fellow Glendale residents in support of Area E candidate Neda Farid. To be honest, although I have done this type of canvassing and phone banking before, it’s not my favorite thing to do during my free time. But I know how important this election is and, as a long-time labor organizer, I know how important it is to talk to people one-on-one!
I knocked on the doors of a few neighbors in my building who had seen around but had yet to talk to them before. Once they heard that I was their neighbor, they both said: “Oh you’re my neighbor, and you’re vouching for Telly Tse? Then I will vote for him!” Down the street from my home, I talked to a former GUSD teacher and a current GUSD employee, both of whom knew about the election and said they were already planning to vote for Telly. Other community members I talked to didn’t know there was an election coming up and expressed gratitude to me for sharing information about these candidates. This is why we have to make phone calls and door knock! It makes a huge difference.
On February 3, over 40 Glendale Unified School District parents and community members gathered for an afternoon of knocking on doors for Telly and Neda. Some of us have been long-time activists and organizers. However, many became active when they saw right-wing extremists verbally attack our school district during COVID and others turned outrage into activism after extremists were violent outside school board meetings in June 2023. While these varying attacks have been stressful for our community, it has also brought more of us together.
Based on financial reports from all the school board candidates, we know that the right-wing candidates running for these open seats have raised more money than Telly and Neda, and mostly from donors outside of our district. But we cannot let the power of outside donors stand in the way of the power of our community, so if you’re able to, please donate to Telly Tse and Neda Farid’s campaign to ensure extremists are not elected to our school board. Together we will keep our school boards full of members who support inclusion and equity for all students and employees in our district!
And check out Courage California’s 2024 Primary Election Voter Guide, which includes Telly and Neda!
By: Joann Lo, Labor organizer and Courage California Institute board member