What it’s like to be a woman running for office for the first time
I’m formerly undocumented. I’m a naturalized citizen. I’m 36 years old. I’m a woman of color. I’m a journalist. I’m a product of public schools. I worked my way through college. I had a radio show and I’ve dedicated my career to the fight for social justice.
Tales from the campaign trail
My name is Wendy Carrillo and I’m running for Congress in the special election to replace Xavier in Los Angeles. The election is on April 4 and is one of the first federal elections since Donald Trump “won” in November.
A few months ago, I had the privilege to speak at the Women’s March in Washington. In that spirit of inclusion and in honor of Women’s History month, I want to highlight the fact that there are over a dozen exceptional women also running in my district, many of whom are women of color. They come from all walks of life: activists, rabble-rousers, community organizers, non-profit leaders and even an aerospace engineer. But most of all, they inspire me and push me to be better candidate.
Frankly, if the Democratic Party had this kind of bench across the nation, we’d have more women in Congress. But I know that there’s actually very little information about what it’s like to be a woman and run for office, so I’m going to start a diary in the hope that it will inspire more women to run.
Let me tell you a bit more about the race. I mentioned that Election Day is April 4 and there are a lot of great candidates. Right now, there’s a clear front-runner, and it’s not me. As a first time candidate, I knew going in that I wouldn’t get all the endorsements or out raise those with deeper pockets. I’m also a non-traditional candidate.
I’m inspired by women like my mother and grandmother, who are some of the bravest women I know. My grandmother often says, “ay que volar joven.” Loosely translated it means “fly when you’re young.” That spirit led me to Standing Rock, where I had the privilege of learning from the fearless, women-led movement of the Standing Rock resistance, some of whom sacrificed everything to protect their right to clean water.
And so I asked myself, if not me, who? If not now, when?
So I’m running. And there are good days, and bad. But whenever I’m feeling tired or overwhelmed on the trail, I think of the women who inspire me including the many women in this race.
Coretta Scott King once said,
“Women. If the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.”
So I’m going to keep running this uphill battle to represent the district that raised me.