Raul Marquez. David Salinas. Remember those names when you fill out your ballot for the May 21 Special District Election where three board members of the Salem-Keizer School District will be elected.
Then, vote for Marquez and Salinas!
Last Saturday I got to hear Raul Marquez speak and answer questions at a house party hosted by Salem city councilor Tom Andersen and his wife, Jessica Maxwell.
He's a really impressive young man.
This photo of Salinas and Marquez was shared on Facebook by Councilor Andersen. Salinas couldn't make the house party due to a family emergency. From what I've heard about Salinas, I'm confident that he'll also be an excellent addition to the seven-member school board.
A big reason why was brought up by Marquez: "No one on the school board looks like me. Yet over 50% of the students are people of color."
Here's what the current Salem-Keizer school board looks like.
Electing Marquez and Salinas will add some much-needed diversity to the Salem-Keizer School Board. Wiser decisions are made when a group is composed of people with varying backgrounds and experiences.
At the house party Marquez spoke of his low-income upbringing. Enjoying music, he had to rent an instrument during his time at McKay High School because his family couldn't afford to buy one. He said that it wasn't the highest quality instrument, not surprisingly.
Impressively, Marquez led a successful campaign to raise $400,000 for a homeless youth shelter, Taylor's House. Here's excerpts from a Salem Reporter story:
Taylor’s House is Salem’s newest shelter, a home for teens and young people between 11 and 18 who are homeless or in foster care and don’t have another place to go. Employees work with teens on completing high school or a GED, finding work and resolving family problems.
...Taylor’s House opened in December , less than a year after then-high school student Raul Marquez presented the idea to the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley’s board and asked for their support.
Marquez walked out of that meeting with a commitment of $100,000, and quickly raised an additional $300,000, including $200,000 from the Legislature, to buy and renovate the small blue house in a residential neighborhood just north of downtown.
Raul Marquez now is a Willamette University student. He told us house party guests, "I know how to listen and act collaboratively with others."
Sounds like perfect qualifications for the first young Latino Salem-Keizer school board member.