Here's a Questionnaire Maya filled out for The Bellingham Herald for their newspaper's election coverage.
This should give folks and good sense of Maya's credentials, extensive work, and experience!
1. Your name as you want The Herald to use it in print, and the town or area of the county where you live. If Bellingham, please list the neighborhood that you are in.
Maya Morales, pronouns she/they
Has lived in Bellingham's lettered streets since 2018.
2. Your education, including degree and institution. For example, "graduated from Bellingham High School," or "earned a BA in journalism from Michigan State University." Include pertinent licensing, such as "Washington State Emergency Medical Technician."
- Certified: Wildland firefighter, part of US Forest Service Trail Crew onboarding (1996, Mt Baker - North Cascades National Park, Glacier Ranger District)
- Earned undergraduate degree from University of California at Santa Cruz (2004)
Double majored: Women's Studies - Concentration on Race, Class & Ethnicity and Fine Art
- Earned a Master's Degree in Teaching From SIT Graduate School, focus on TESOL (2012)
3. Your job, including the name of the company, its location, and your title or what you do. For example, "I am self-employed, running a plumbing business" or "I am customer-service manager for the ABC Corp. in Bellingham."
Currently I am a professional organizer, community advocate, freelance graphic artist, founder of WA People's Privacy, and now a first-time candidate!
4. Government or NGO experience or elected office. For example, "I have served on the Bellingham Planning Commission since 2019." If you work or volunteer for a non-governmental organization, please describe it briefly, including its name and what you do.
- Served on summer trail crew with the Student Conservation Association in Colorado's Holy Cross Wilderness. 1994 (NGO/GOV)
- Worked Seasonal US Forest Service Trail Crew in Mt Baker - North Cascades National Park, Glacier Ranger District 1996 (GOV)
(In undergrad 97-98, worked to get California residency and be declared independent from parent in 1999-2000))
- Served as office coordinator and youth empowerment leader at the Home Project, which began as an after school youth empowerment and civic leadership project in Alameda, CA and became a school and other spinoff leadership projects through the East bay. 2000 (NGO)
- While finishing my degrees at UCSC: Worked as part-time foster youth support counselor with two Latina teen girls who experienced family sexual abuse. Santa Cruz & San Jose, CA Paid position, 2002 (NGO with GOV interaction)
- Many small volunteer gigs with NGOs during my undergrad - too many to list. Also worked trade and odd jobs to pay for school.
- Volunteer-staffed several of the first-ever SF Bay Area "Green Festivals," These were massive events to showcase sustainable eating, living, building, and futures. Between 2004-2009 (NGO)
- Served as a 6-month art & education intern at the International Museum of Women in San Francisco, curating a curriculum based on its Women of the World art-book, and organizing and coordinating the delivery of arts and education workshops at schools, NGOs and after school programs on topics such as Women and War, Women and Peace, Women in education, Women as leaders, Women in the arts. All artists featured were women of color, and workshops were held in learning circles with an active art-making component to engage kids' from low-wealth backgrounds in art & empowerment. (2005? might have been 2004, need to double check!) I recruited my own Woman of Color co-intern from UCSF ethnic studies department, because the museum was only getting applications from wealthy white undergrads. Unpaid internship while working multiple part-time jobs to pay bills. (NGO)
- Served as Co-Director of GirlFest Bay Area, a local week-long festival with extensive education workshops, live music and arts-making/arts events with the mission of ending violence against women and girls, brought via an intersectional Women of Color framework regarding violence prevention. NGO partners we recruited as coalition partners for education and workshops included San Francisco's Commission on the Status of Women (GOV), UCSF Health (GOV/NGO), and many other smaller orgs. In addition to festival events, offered both workshops and keynote at statewide conference (CA Coalition Against Sexual Assault), and workshops at UC Davis. Co-Directed from late 2007-2009, Volunteered at GirlFest Oakland and Girl Fest Hawai'i prior to becoming co-director (All of this was unpaid volunteer service work while working mutliple paid jobs.)
- Created a 30-page conference program and booklet for a herstoric National Lesbian Health Summit held in San Francisco, 2009.
A major graphics and coordination effort. UCSF & Community Orgs. Volunteer effort (GOV/NGO)
- Served as Administrator for Equal Rights Advocates (NGO women's rights & employment law firm est. in1974) from 2007 - 2010
Some things I did there:
- HR & recruitment
- benefits administration
- volunteers and office staff
- a major office move
- our network, servers & software
- A few of my contributions
- Served as one of two staff Representatives on our 2009 Strategic Planning Committee
- Assisted with document prep for the historic Dukes vs Wal-mart case hearing in the 9th Circuit of appeals. It later went on the SCOTUS
- Lifted others: Pushed for and secured the hiring of more BIPOC legal staff and Women of Color law clerks, hired ERA's first Gay Bilingual Latino immigrant as my replacement when quickly promoted from Exec Assistant to Administrator, and hired a poor white Trans man as our office manager.
(Lived abroad from 2010 - 2015, pursued my MA TESOL while actively teaching/working.)
- Prior to moving to Bellingham, I lived in southern Vermont for two years, where I:
- Was Coordinator of our community Time Bank (NGO), which included filing the NGO's taxes, fundraising & banking, tracking donors, events, and tending to our custom time exchange software & stored data, onboarding new individual members and businesses/NGO members existing membership. Accomplishment: negotiated new public edible garden as a time trade for our office rental with our landlord.
- Contracted as a professional non-profit consultant & event organizer with our local workforce development board, which included the Dept. of Labor, the local Community College, the Community Action Network, and our local Community Development Credit Corporation, (GOV/NGO), and
- Provided grant administration wrap-up assistance to the local Community Development Credit Corporation to get all documentation in order on a major 2-year federal disaster relief grant program to businesses and farmers for hurricane flood damage recovery, and
- Taught foreign university exchange students at Springfield College in MA. (GOV/NGO)
- Did some GOTV phone-banking for Bernie's VT race, because Bernie! (ELECTORAL)
- After moving to Bellingham and Covid lockdowns and vaccination waits:
- Served as a core organizer with People First Bellingham Initiatives 1 - 4 from May 2021 through September 2022. We brought a slate of people's initiatives to the ballot to protect workers, renters and limit the impact of policing on targeted communities and individuals banning the use of face recognition and predictive policing software by the city. The two initiatives voters did not pass have been brought back to the ballot this year in a more moderate "winnable" form by Community First Whatcom. The two initiatives we passed have had an impact in limiting the policing of our BIPOC and targeted communities (initiative 2) and preventing the city from taking actions against workers trying to organize (initiative 3). These were HUGE victories. The full list of my massive amount of work on that campaign for over a year can be found on my campaign site electemayamorales.vote in the "meet maya" tab (ELECTORAL / NGO)
- Served on Whatcom Democrats Issues & Advocacy Committee 2021-2022, proposed sweeping resolution to address poverty and inequity in early 2022, which included a local REET, and a task force/working group to explore basic income, and additional local post-pandemic rental assistance. (NGO/ Legislative/policy advocacy)
- I founded WA People's Privacy in February 2022 (NGO/ Legislative/policy advocacy)
- 2022 WA Leg Session - helped defeat the bad WA Privacy Act - a tech-industry written bill, which would have been very dangerous for abortion and gender-affirming care-seekers had it passed. This was its fourth defeat. (NGO/ Legislative/policy advocacy)
- 2022 rest of the year post WALeg session, i did federal advocacy on data privacy and tech justice bills and issues.
- Joined up with national and Seattle organizers to successfully #StopShotspotter in Seattle and call for real investments in community safety, including licensed mental health counselors in Seattle schools. (NGO/ Legislative/policy advocacy)
- 2023 WA leg session - successfully advocated for the passage of a STRONG first-of-its-kind-in-the-nation health data privacy law, the WA My Health My Data Act into law, as well as pushing advocacy on the entire slate of bills to protect abortion and gender-affirming care in WA State. (NGO/ Legislative/policy advocacy)
- I have served on ACLU WA's Tech Equity Coalition since Jan. of 2022. (NGO)
- One of a small core group of organizers who developed and presented Whatcom Human Rights Task Force-led Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Conference. This was at least a four-month process. end of 2022 culminating on King's Bday in 2023 (NGO - local community).
- 2023 WA Leg session, professional organizer with the WA Low Income Housing Alliance (paid contract work for session), advocated for Rent Stabilization, REET, Renter protections, Mobile Home protections, the Nothing About us Without Us Act, and helped push extremely hard via organizing other people, and myself giving both written and verbal testimony in State Capital and Operating budget hearings to secure historic budget investments in the Housing Trust Fund and backfill the deficit in funding from document recording fees to provide housing and essential needs funding. (NGO)
- May 19: Filed to run for office! (GOV)
5. The top three issues regarding the office you're seeking and the people who you hope to serve.
I hope to serve all of Bellingham while centering those with the greatest immediate need. I don't think it's either/or. I know we can create a Bellingham where we ALL belong. This is about making good, sound, well-researched, fact-based planning and policy choices.
- Affordable, equitably planned, housing.
- Community Safety
- Meeting people's unmet needs
All three of these issues involve addressing the many intersecting issues we face today in ways that center justice and equity. So that's: housing, economic, climate, labor, health, immigrant, racial, transit, gender, food and education justice.
6. Explain in three to five sentences how you would solve one of those issues.
1. Affordable, equitably planned, housing.
In order to ensure we prioritize affordable housing, I will push for building equity goals into all planning and code adjustments; bring forward proposals for affordability goals, enforcement of existing laws, negotiations for rent stability with large multi-unit developments, push to explore innovative publicly owned land trust options for housing that help low-wealth people build equity, propose (or further, depending on where things are at when I take office) solutions to meet immediate needs of people who need rent adjustments and/or supportive housing. Obviously, there's no one-stop easy solution here. In WA Leg 2023, our State Lawmakers failed to do the most BASIC of helpful things for renters: pass a REET and stabilize rents. This means local leaders are being tasked with a ton of work to figure this out. I will work for municipal, county. state AND federal solutions, because we don't exist in a vacuum.