Oakland mayoral candidate, community activist, and San Quentin volunteer Allyssa Victory is running to be the new Mayor of Oakland in the upcoming November election. If she wins, she would replace the current Mayor, Libby Schaaf, who is terming out.
If elected, Victory would make history as the first Black woman to be Mayor of Oakland — the city’s 51st mayor.
Victory wasn’t born in Oakland but says her heart bleeds Oakland, where she was raised and lives now. Growing up in the city, she is familiar with the hardships that come with it, including homelessness. She overcame her own adversities through education and studying law, becoming the first in her family to go to college, and developed a passion for helping others along the way.
Growing up, she attended public schools in Oakland’s Bushrod neighborhood where her family bought their first home after being evicted in Berkeley. Victory says she and her younger sister were raised by their mother and extended family while her other siblings lived with her father deep in East Oakland.
Since her youth, Victory has been no stranger to hard work. She pursued a higher education while continuing to support her community. She earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in Ethnic Studies and a minor in Black Studies from the University of California at San Diego.
Victory went on to earn an impressive list of accomplishments and achievements including earning a law degree with a Government Law concentration from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
Victory currently works as a criminal justice attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California and as legal counsel to Communications Workers of America, Local 9415. She also frequents San Quentin on Fridays to facilitate a group named PREVAIL.
“The purpose of PREVAIL is to educate the youth on why it is important to understand history,” said Philippe Kelly, an incarcerated co-facilitator of the group. “Gaining insight for where self-hate came from. The class shows us ways to love ourselves as a people to prevent us from killing ourselves and others.”
Victory’s background provides insight into some of the issues that she intends to combat if she is elected mayor of Oakland, which include housing, public safety, and economic justice.
Solutions to these problems are urgently needed. The homeless crisis in Oakland is at an all-time high. In a campaign email, Victory said she has been fighting for an Oakland where all people are housed, healthy, safe and restored.
Oakland also faces challenges with its economy and employment. Notably, the city has recently lost two of its three major sports franchises — the Raiders, who are now in Las Vegas, and the Golden State Warriors, who are now in San Francisco. The city’s third sports team, the Oakland Athletics, are being approached by Las Vegas casino billionaires in an effort to lure the team to Las Vegas.
Until the election is decided, life for Victory will continue to include coming into the prison and working with the men in blue, helping them with their transformations.
“Working with Allysa has taught me what it’s truly like to show up as a professional — dedicated, open, with a willingness to empower participants to challenge their beliefs and perceptions. And to also become mentors to pass along the knowledge they have obtained to others,” Philippe Kelly said.
At the end of her campaign email, Victory ended with a quote from the first Black woman to run for president of the United States, Shirley Chisholm: “I’m looking to no man walking this earth for approval of what I’m doing.”