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What Happened When a Community Took on Right-Wing Extremists

For over three months our community group, Glendale Parents for Public Schools, and others organized multiple days of door-knocking and phone banking for Glendale Unified School Board candidates Telly Tse and Neda Farid, to keep two right-wing extremists off the board. I phone banked for Neda Farid in between shuttling my kids from one activity to another. I pulled out my rusty Spanish and managed well enough to chat with a few Spanish-speaking voters in her district who said “Yes, I’m voting for Neda!” 

I knocked on doors for Telly Tse on a rainy Saturday morning with other volunteers. One voter we talked to said that everyone in their neighborhood group text is all for Telly!  And I made calls for Telly after a full work day while on my used elliptical machine at home. 

As a single working mom, I know how to multitask. 

I sent in my ballot early, on Lunar New Year’s Day on February 10, because I figured that would be a lucky day to mail my ballot in! And I reminded all my Glendale friends to vote early too. Then we came to the end of the elections for two seats on the Glendale Unified School Board…

Were our community efforts successful? 

California’s Primary Election Day, March 5, arrived and we spent the evening anxiously awaiting initial results, knowing we might not know who won for another week, or longer. Telly started with a strong lead against his opponent. Neda was a bit behind hers but not that big of a difference to overcome. Each day’s new vote results grew Telly’s lead, while Neda slowly pulled closer and closer. A week after Election Day, Neda pulled and stayed ahead.

It was official – Telly Tse and Neda Farid won their races! Both newly elected school board members, Telly Tse and Neda Farid, will be sworn in on April 9, 2024. 

Thank you to all of you who donated, made calls, knocked on doors, or supported in multiple other ways. And thank you to Courage California for endorsing Neda Farid and Telly Tse in your Progressive Voter Guide – which over 3,000 Glendale voters used.

It all resulted in people power that made a huge difference against candidates who raised a lot more money. 

At Glendale Unified School District, when community comes together, inclusion, diversity, and democracy wins! 

​​Read more about our journey here: This Primary Election, It’ll Take People Power to Ensure Our Communities and Schools Are Inclusive

By: Joann Lo, Labor organizer and Courage California Institute board member