Interview by Janice Tang
Carol Kim is a Research Associate at WestEd. After graduating from UCLA in 1998, she taught at an inner city school and later worked in HIV prevention. Carol enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. She and her family have been lived in San Diego for more than 8 years.
1) Carol, this year, you are running for City Council for District 6. Can you please tell us why you decided to get involved in the San Diego community, particularly through this avenue?
There were several reasons that I decided to run for the San Diego City Council. Most importantly, I care deeply about the residents of District 6 and I really want to see our communities and neighborhoods grow and thrive. There are both tremendous challenges and opportunities facing the City of San Diego right now, and in many ways, we’re at a critical crossroad in the City’s history. Are we going to be a city that approaches its work of serving the public holistically, sustainably and collaboratively? Or, will we be a city that continues to tackle issues piecemeal, reactively, and without a broader, long-term vision for our communities? I want to make sure that we’re doing the former, and not the latter – as well as ensuring that working and middle class families have a strong advocate at City Hall.
Beyond the more operational reasons to run for City Council, however, are the aspirational ones that are in many ways just as important. I noticed that many of my neighbors feel disempowered and shut out from local government, which is evident in our low rates of voter turnout. I want to find ways to engage people in our local government and to provide meaningful opportunities for participation. We also have the potential to build capacity in our communities for greater and more diverse representation and inclusion. I want our young people – particularly our girls and our minority youth – to believe that they have can pursue public service and political office themselves. I hope to demonstrate that we can do this work together as a community.
2) Can you tell us some unique aspects about District 6?
District 6 is composed of four main, unique communities: Mira Mesa, Miramar, Kearny Mesa and Clairemont Mesa. This district has been shaped out of former military territories. Mira Mesa was previously used by the US Army as a test area during World War II. Today, Mira Mesa is a community with an ethnically diverse Asian American population. Kearny Mesa is home to Convoy Street, one of the most well known streets for Asian restaurants, grocery stores and shops. Real estate is booming and young professionals are moving into Clairemont and I hope to encourage these young families to have a stake in the future of their neighborhood.
3) You have been a member of NAPAWF-SD for over a year. Can you tell us why it is important to stay connected and involved with NAPAWF-SD?
We need organizations like the NAPAWF-SD to engage and inspire Asian American females to be civically engaged in order to promote change in their communities. I am a proud member of this organization because I know the work we do now will affect generations to come.
4) What advice would you give folks who would like to pursue the same career as you?
First, I’d tell anyone who wants to work in the non-profit or public sector to be passionate and persistent. When I was doing work in HIV prevention, it was during a time when there was less awareness about the disease. I learned that when you speak from the heart, people tend to listen. This is why I am running for City Council – I am passionate and dedicated to making the district a better place for me, for my children and for future generations. The best piece of advice I received from a former mentor is, “Don’t let anyone temper your passion for doing what is just and true. In the end, your dedication will give way to the fruits of your labor.” This piece of advice has served me particularly well both personally and professionally.
5) What is your vision for the San Diego community?
San Diego is a city with great promise. We have a booming microbrewery industry, a thriving biotechnology sector and more. My vision for San Diego is a place where all of the students receive a good education, where we can enjoy the parks and libraries and a place where businesses feel welcome.
Want to share a fellow NAPAWF member’s story and passion here?
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