Young Latino Lion Kevin De Leon
De Leon was the first person in his family to graduate high school and go to college.
Running California Senatorial candidate Kevin de Leon lost the election against Senator Dianne Feinstein November 6. De Leon shared his election watch party along with other candidates at the Exchange LA in downtown Los Angeles. Hundreds of people gathered to cheer the young candidate with spirit and compassion in their hearts. “He’s an inspiration. He really drives the community and he makes you really want to do more for the people in the community,” said Christian Sierra, De Leon supporter.
Some of his supporters wore sweaters and t-shirts imprinted with his name in gold. Mexican folklore dance troupe Gruopo Folklorico de Loyal Marymount University (LMU), took to the stage twirling and swirling to the rhythm of Spanish guitar. The women in the dance group wore the traditional vibrant Mexican dress Huipil with flowers pinned in their hair. De Leon’s influence has been strong especially to some members in the Latino community. “His stance on what’s going in the border and his upbringing and his compassion and his empathy towards people that are looking for asylum, that are in the shadows right now and don’t have legal status in the United States... that is something we need,” said Jorge Zelaya, another De Leon supporter.
De Leon was raised poor in the barrios of Logan Heights in San Diego, California. His father, Andre De Leon, who was Chinese but was born in Guatemala, worked as a cook when he met his mother, Carmen Osorio. Osorio arrived to the United States illegally and worked as a housekeeper. She raised her three children alone. De Leon did not to get know his father. In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, when discussing his father, De Leon mentions that he met him once but did not ask his mother any questions about him.
De Leon was the first person in his family to graduate high school and go to college. He attended the University of California Santa Barbara and graduated from Pitzer College at the Claremont Colleges with honor. He taught English as a second language and United States Citizenship, and became a community organizer advocating for public schools. He fought for additional funding toward “high priority schools” in low income neighborhoods and health insurance for children. When entered the political arena he became California State Senate representing District 24. Since then he’s advocated for medicare-for-all, clean energy future, gun control, free public education and immigration.
On stage De Leon stood tall surrounded by his supporters and campaign team as the night arrived and the stage lights beamed on him. He addressed the crowd and said, “To all the hard working Californians who are the backbone… who feel that this economic system is stacked against them to all of the women, to all of the students, to all of the LGTBQ community and all of our black and brown... middle eastern communities, this is our movement.” He walked off stage and personally spoke to a group of young voters about the future of America, the change that one could bring in voting, and to never lose hope and to always keep on fighting for a better future.