Oakland's New Mayor, Sheng Thao
On Jan. 9, 2023, Sheng Thao became the 51st mayor of Oakland and the first Hmong American to lead a major city in United States history. She was born and raised in Stockton, to parents who immigrated from Laos to escape genocide. In her early 20s, Thao escaped an abusive relationship and experienced housing insecurity while raising her son as a single mother. After receiving an associate degree from Merritt College and a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley, Thao began her career in politics. She served as a member of the Oakland City Council from 2018 until January 2023, when she was elected mayor.
One Fair Wage President Saru Jayaraman
Across the nation, food service workers are pushing for more rights, protections and pay. Late last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an Assembly bill that could see wages for California fast-food employees rise to as much as $22/hour. That bill is now set to appear on the 2024 ballot, following a voter referendum effort to block the law. As other states consider raising the minimum wage for restaurant workers while allowing them to keep their tips, we talk to Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage and director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley.