United States

Ysabel Jurado aims to become Los Angeles’ first Fil-Am city council member

Jannelle So Productions

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Ysabel Jurado aims to become Los Angeles’ first Fil-Am city council member
If elected, eviction defense attorney Jurado wants to use discretionary funds to create community resource hubs

This story is published in partnership with SoJannelleTV, a magazine show about Filipinos in North America

Despite having a neighborhood known as “Historic Filipinotown,” the city of Los Angeles has never had a Filipino serve on its 15-member city council. Ysabel Jurado is hoping to change that.

Jurado, a tenants rights attorney and first time political candidate, is running to become council member in LA’s District 14, which encompasses Downtown Los Angeles and Northeast Los Angeles. And so far, the results are promising. 

In the non-partisan primary election which took place on March 5, Jurado finished first with 25% of the vote, narrowly edging embattled incumbent Kevin de Leon, who has faced calls to resign from as high up as US President Joe Biden after a recording of himself and other city council members making racist remarks was leaked. The two will head to a run-off election on November 5.

“I’m sick and tired of these career politicians using City Hall for their personal interests and corruption and scandals and pocketbooks. I am from and for this community,” Jurado told Filipino-American media pioneer Jannelle So-Perkins for an interview with So Jannelle TV, a Filipino-American lifestyle magazine show which airs US-wide on cable channels The Filipino Channel (TFC) and ANC; as well as on local Southern CA digital channel KNET 25.1; and is also available on social media platforms.

“I just want to be a public servant that rolls up her sleeves and cleans up the street and makes headlines for things like ‘New affordable housing development built’ or ‘Homeless deaths on the decline.’”

Ysabel Jurado aims to become Los Angeles’ first Fil-Am city council member

Jurado understands firsthand how important public policy is to those struggling to achieve their American Dream. Born to Filipino parents who were undocumented immigrants, she recalls her parents starting out in a basement apartment that had no flooring, in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles.

After becoming a single mother during her first year of college, which coincided with the Great Recession in 2008-2009, Jurado decided to become a helping hand to others facing harsh economic realities. She and her daughter live at her father’s home in the Highland Park section of Los Angeles. She says this is because she couldn’t afford to buy her own home near her father. 

Jurado became an eviction defense attorney – the only Tagalog-speaking one during the height of the pandemic. She sees her work helping displaced neighbors and combatting wage theft as experiences that inform her campaign.

“Eviction defense work is at the tail end of failed policies,” said Jurado. “To be a council member is to create a baseline that lifts up the quality of life of Angelinos, of our kababayans, and other working class folks here in LA.”

Jurado’s priorities, if elected, include using discretionary funds to create community resource hubs where unhoused residents can receive meals, get a good night’s sleep and a shower, plus meet with specialists to obtain permanent housing and doctors who can address their health concerns. She also wants to dedicate resources to “right to counsel” efforts for people facing eviction, noting that 90% of landlords go to court with a lawyer while that figure is just 10% for tenants. Jurado also wants to remove police officers from traffic stops, which she says will free up funds so the city can focus on bigger priorities.

Jurado entered the political process as a long-shot outsider. After her strong showing in the primary election, she hopes to silence skeptics for good.

“There are so many people in this process that have told me no. There are so many people throughout my life who told me I wasn’t going to amount to anything because of where I came from,” said Jurado.

“The Jurados are a very stubborn bunch, but that stubbornness is a refusal to accept a no and keep going anyways. That’s the resilience we need because that’s how we’re gonna change our systems. So that the next time this happens, whether it’s me, whether it’s you or somebody watching, it won’t be something special.” – Jannelle So Productions | Rappler.com

Rappler is partnering with Jannelle So Productions Inc (JSP), founded by Filipino-American pioneer and Los Angeles-based journalist Jannelle So, to publish video and written stories from SoJannelleTV about the journeys, successes, and challenges of Filipinos living in America.

Check out So Jannelle TV daily for stories that make you pause, reflect, and appreciate who we are and what we are as a people. 

Sundays, 4:30pm PT / 7:30pm ET on The Filipino Channel (TFC)
Mondays, 6:00pm on KNET Channel 25.1 Southern California
Replay on Saturdays, 7:30pm PT / 10:30pm ET on ANC North America
Any time on YouTube.com/SoJannelleTV

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