ABOUT ME

Hi, I'm Raina!

WHERE I COME FROM

I am a Mexican American with Louisiana Creole heritage, born and raised in Inglewood, California!

In 1995, during my sophomore year of high school, I joined a Violence Prevention Program called Peace Colors and was an at-risk youth.

Despite my adversities, my involvement with Peace Colors overruled and encouraged me to began attending school regularly. Through Peace Colors, I received a mentor named Gloria Virgin. She became not only my advisor and confidant, but took intensive measures to assure that I would graduate.

Thanks to Peace Colors, Inglewood Fire Fighter Gloria Virgin, Mentor Khalid Shah, Mentor Yvette McNally, and my parents I graduated in 1997 from Morningside High School in Inglewood, California.

 

A THRIVING CAREER

In 1998 I began working for Peace Colors Organization as a Youth Advocate. As a result of my dedication to my people, the people of Inglewood, I was eventually promoted to Youth Coordinator.

There are youth who still remember my past and when they ask me “What made you change?” I credit my transformation to GOD, my family, mentors, and Peace Colors who believed in me.

 

In 1999 I became a gang interventionist for Stop the Violence Increase The Peace Foundation. That same year I became a Youth Advisor for the Million Mom March in which I advocated for sensible gun laws.

 

In 2000 I appeared in a documentary called “A Place at the Table” from Tell the Truth Pictures. I was even featured on the front cover of the August/September 2000 Issue of Scholastic Magazine! The title was "Violence Is Not the Way” and included a full article on my life.

 

In November 2003 Latina Magazine did an article on me called “The Peacemaker". I have appeared in the New York and LA Times Newspaper as well as television regarding the subject of "Peace".

I have worked hard to provide services to the communities I have worked in, from families to gang members. I've had successful events like "Youth and Law Enforcement Day" in Inglewood, California. Which is where gang members and law enforcement played softball. "Peace & Unity Basketball Game" in Pico Union, where two gangs came together to play basketball for Peace. Definitely not least, The "Health & Safety Community Resource Fair" for the community in the Pico Union where the residents from that community receive resources, free food, and giveaways. I have won numerous awards for my efforts in the community.

Not only am I very street smart, but I have another powerful tool in my belt; Education. 

 

In 2002 I graduated from Los Angeles Southwest College with my Associate Degree.

 

In 2007 I received my certificate as a certified Gang Interventionist from Cal State Los Angeles College.

In 2008 I was hired as a Program Manager for City of Los Angeles Gang Reduction Youth Development Department for Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

 

In 2011 I received my Bachelors Degree in Sociology from Cal State Dominguez.

Currently, I am an entrepreneur. Not to mention CEO and Founder of The Phoenix Rising Coalition, nonprofit. I am also a Life Agent who leads a crusade with the goal to educate low income and the middle class families about the importance of life insurance, retirement, college funds, savings, and leaving a legacy behind.

 

In my 23 years of giving back to the community I still have major goals to accomplish; like being elected the next Mayor of Inglewood in 2022! 

 Raina's Thoughts and Concerns

01. Small Business is Our Community's Business

Small businesses have been the backbone of Inglewood for decades and an integral part of the community from Market Street to Imperial Blvd. Small businesses support youth programs, feed the hungry, and provide jobs to our neighbors. We recycle Inglewood dollars, Black, Latino, and Asian dollars. Inglewood needs to support small business, not push it out. Without small businesses we lose our community, so small business is our business. We need initiatives with grants and other funding to help the sector survive, banners are nice, but it is funding that help the people stay afloat.

02. Responsible, Responsive City Government

City Hall should be listening to you, the people. Meeting the needs of the constituents is my first order of business. 

For years, we have seen our homes, blocks, and neighborhoods given away to corporate billionaire interests. City Hall has made promises it has failed to keep and we the people pay the costs for these missteps. We have been asked to fund billionaires, their transit projects, and are now even being asked to pay fees for having a home in Inglewood.

Where does it end?

03. Living Wage

We see prosperity in Inglewood on a daily basis, luxury cars, townhomes, and people lined up for concert tickets that costs hundreds of dollars, but we also see that the minimum wage is still the minimum of $15 per hour. All this money coming into the city is not translating into a living wage for its households. 

Inglewood's household income hovers at $55K per year and a city "staff" member made over $300K! Housing rents and prices are skyrocketing while billionaires are increasing their profits daily. 

We have to provide well-paid jobs to our residents, we need to ensure contractors are hiring our residents and we are not being overlooked on paydays in this city.

04. Housing Security

The unhoused population is growing across our county and state. Within Inglewood we are seeing the numbers rise highest among smaller cities in the county. Homelessness isn't limited to the people we see on the streets, we are facing housing insecurity as evidenced by the overcrowding of homes and apartments as families and friends struggle to meet the rising housing costs and keep a roof over the heads of those close to them. The motels that line our corridors are filled with people who are working poor, displaced by a city that has not been responsive to the needs of its people.

We are seeing family homes taken for "code enforcement" violations, by eminent domain and other schemes stripping Black and Brown people of generational wealth. Our city needs to protect its residents, both owners and renters, and help keep them housed in our communities. 

05. Improved Public Services

Billion dollar businesses are flooding into the city, but our infrastructure is in disrepair. While our officials focus on being a star on the map, scratch the surface, and the foundation is crumbling. Like a star, the glimmer is only on the outside.

Our local schools are managed by LA County, in need of improvement. Our libraries and other city buildings need updating and improvements. The city of Hawthorne received millions of our tax dollars to provide police services to The Forum and Stadiums, money that could have been kept locally with the right plans and leadership.