SVNED Spotlight: Agatha Bacelar 27-year-old San Francisco resident running for U.S. Congress

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I am a 27-year-old Brazilian-American immigrant and San Francisco resident running for U.S. Congress in California District 12. San Francisco has some of the youngest, most diverse, and technologically advanced residents of any district in the U.S. The technology dreamt up here ripples out to the entire world, and will continue to do so as another four billion people connect online in the next decade. AI, automation, and social media will continue to impact every aspect of our lives. We urgently need representatives with a sophisticated understanding of human-centered technology, and yet, only ten percent of our representatives in Congress today have a science or technology background. As a graduate of the product design engineering program at Stanford University, I’m running for Congress to change this. If there is one word to describe my campaign, that word would be proximity. As an immigrant raised by a single mom and the public education system, I have always been proximate to Dreamers, who I knew as neighbors, friends and schoolmates. Half of my family is from Brazil, home to the Amazon Rainforest, “the lungs of the world.” I feel a deeply personal connection to the urgency of the climate crisis. And Brazil’s fraught history of democracy is a warning on the importance of protecting and strengthening our democratic institutions. Agatha Bacelar My work as a documentary storyteller has taken me around the country and the world, and I’ve had the privilege of getting proximate to the stories of communities underserved by our democracy: indigenous peoples, the incarcerated and paroled, asylum seekers and the undocumented. After seeing up close the human impact of policies in place today, running for Congress has become a moral imperative. I am a millennial which means I’m part of a generation set to inherit many crises: catastrophic climate change, perpetual war, record levels of inequality, school shootings, student debt, and public trust in government. Although millennials form the largest voting block in CA-12, it is a group with historically low voter turnout. This is not a sign of apathy so much as a recognition that the voices of ordinary citizens are being drowned out in the wash of dark and corporate money. I’m running for Congress to get big money out of politics; our grassroots campaign will not take corporate PAC money. With family here in the city and as a resident of the Mission District, I am proximate daily to the two faces of San Francisco–the great civic shame of homelessness in the midst of enormous wealth. This long standing problem spotlights a political status quo that is not serving all citizens. For a democracy that serves the 100%, we’re going to need new design thinking, and representatives who will listen to the people over the apparatus of power. Our city, our world is in deep need of change. That change is attainable, but we’re running out of time. Be a part of the democratic awakening and proud tradition of San Francisco’s history of revolutionary change. Let’s reclaim the legacy of protest against the status quo, continue the legacy of technological innovation and environmental activism, and create a new legacy of getting big money out of politics and expanding democratic participation to include everyone. Let's design a better future for a better quality of life for everyone in this diverse city!

Denise Williams