Attorney Miho Murai is running in the June 7 election as a write-in candidate for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education, District 2.
Murai announced her candidacy on Feb. 19, stating: “Feb. 19 is an important and historic day for the Japanese American community, the Day of Remembrance. On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt executed Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the unjustifiable internment of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II without due process. We were interned because of how we looked and the unsupported assumption that we were enemies of this nation.
“I have decided to run for school board because I want to be the first Asian Pacific American woman to be elected to this position. APIs have not been represented on the school board for many years and it’s time that we have representation!! I am a renter in Chinatown, bilingual (Spanish/English) educator, longtime activist since the 1990s, immigrant from Japan, and I am an education rights/immigration attorney who is currently the executive director of Community Lawyers, Inc., a nonprofit in Compton.
“If elected, I will PUT CHILDREN FIRST and will focus on equity, justice, inclusion, and transparency in our public education system. These will be my priorities once in office:
“- Fully funded public schools with input from parents, students, and the communities in which they serve.
“- Decrease the number of high school students and middle school students who drop out of school. Middle school students who are failing their classes should not be passed on to high school without effective interventions and we need to be more proactive in the early identification of children with special needs.
“- Ensure that 100% of students graduate with the ability to obtain a stable job and read and write beyond the 8th-grade level.
“- Reduce class size to 1:20 students from kindergarten to 5th grade.
“- Expand early education programs and free tutoring programs.
“- Proactively address the school to prison pipeline. We need to get police officers out of our schools and increase the number of school psychologists and college counselors at every high school. The district adopted the School Climate Bill of Rights in May 2013 and committed to implement restorative justice practices in all schools by 2020. We need to hold the district accountable to its promises.
“- Student-centered, culturally relevant curriculum.
“- Expand bilingual and dual immersion programs and magnet schools across the school district.
“I promise to be accessible, listen to the voice of the community, and passionately advocate for these issues using a multidimensional approach and will stay true to what I promise.
“I am starting my campaign today by reaching out to YOU, to ask for your public endorsement, financial support, and your help to get me elected as the first API woman on the LAUSD school board.”
Murai’s campaign can be reached through Facebook and Twitter.
District 2 includes Downtown, Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights. It is currently represented by Monica Garcia, who is termed out. Four candidates are on the ballot:
– María Brenes, longtime director of the Boyle Heights-based activist group Inner City Struggle, which advocates for better educational and health services on L.A.’s Eastside. Her endorsers include García.
– Rocío Rivas, a parent activist and deputy to current District 5 board member Jackie Goldberg. She has the support of the teachers’ union.
– Miguel Ángel Segura, who helps run a family business in Maywood. He has served as a staff member for the LAUSD school board and as a presidential campaign staff member for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020. He recently served as an aide to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
– Erica Vilardi-Espinosa, a community activist who serves as the education representative and treasurer of the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council.
(Source: Laist Voter Game Plan)
The first Asian Pacific American member of the Board of Education was Warren Furutani, who was first elected in 1987. He later served on the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees and in the State Assembly.