Victoria Kraus '05
I’m learning—through trial and error—that as an alumni of SUA, a citizen in my community, and a member of the human race, I have to take responsibility wherever I go, wherever I am, whether it’s because I want to see change in my community for the better, or if it means supporting my community leaders to the best of my ability.
With over 10 years working in service-oriented jobs (cafes, restaurants, farmers markets), I struggled to make ends meet and to access decent public healthcare services. After seeing my experience mirrored among fellow coworkers and comrades in this industry time and again, I became frustrated with the local government infrastructure, as it didn’t serve the welfare of the majority of my city’s population, the working class.
Beyond my personal experience, several other things drew me to volunteer in my community, including my frustration with my own complacency, a desire to take responsibility for myself and advocate for those who can’t, and the timing of the neighborhood council election in spring 2019.
My platform during my campaign was to bring more heightened attention to the daily struggles and experiences of the working class—renters who live paycheck to paycheck, who fear being evicted from their homes for not being able to make the rent; small business owners who struggle to pay high rents for commercial spaces and providing jobs; and improving public transportation in order to help reduce single-passenger vehicle use and thus vehicular traffic.
I went on to win a seat in the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council, and we recently launched Los Feliz Helps in response to the COVID-19 health crisis and its impact on our community members. We organized a phone banking effort to check in on our senior neighbors and assess what assistance they may need.
We established a volunteer program for community members to safely volunteer by passing out flyers in the neighborhood, participating in a phone bank, or supporting with grocery deliveries. We also put together abundant resources accessible online for residents, small business owners, landlords, families with children, daily updates on the current health crisis, and more.
I always associated the idea of the “founding spirit” as being a pioneer, paving the way. But I’m learning—through trial and error—that as an alumni of SUA, a citizen in my community, and a member of the human race, I have to take responsibility wherever I go, wherever I am, whether it’s because I want to see change in my community for the better, or if it means supporting my community leaders to the best of my ability.