In the Spotlight

In the Spotlight

Welcome to In the Spotlight.

This monthly feature spotlights the people who make San José an incredible place to call home. From unsung heroes to former city leaders and politicians who’ve disappeared from the public eye, we catch up with San Joseans who are doing amazing things — and we share the awe inspiring stories behind their struggles and successes.

We are telling the unique, ever-changing, diverse story of San José. One person at a time.

Who should we feature next? To nominate someone for our next In the Spotlight profile, email [email protected].

Gay Crawford champions the fight against cancer in Silicon Valley

Gay Crawford is Silicon Valley’s most renowned cancer advocate. As a cancer survivor herself, Crawford knows how isolating one can feel when diagnosed with cancer. Before she began her cancer advocacy, Crawford was a journalist. She learned the basics of the trade working for newspapers around the East Bay, but Crawford felt she hadn’t found...

Mason Fong breaks barriers as a South Bay councilman

At 27 years old, Councilmember Mason Fong is believed to be the youngest person elected to the Sunnyvale City Council. His captivation with politics started at a young age as his parents fostered the importance of civic engagement, taking him to rallies like the ones held against the Iraq War. The grandson of Chinese immigrants, Fong’s political voice...

Chuck Reed plans to continue statewide pension reform

Former Mayor Chuck Reed is leaving California, but he vows to continue to fight for statewide pension reform. Reed, 71, says he’ll continue working on reeling in the exploding costs of public pensions, the signature issue that won him national notoriety as San Jose’s 64th mayor. He’ll also take on cases for the Silicon Valley law firm where...

Peter Ortiz brings personal experience to education role

He went from a life of gangs and poverty to working at prominent companies like eBay and winning election to Silicon Valley’s most powerful education board. Santa Clara County Board of Education Member Peter Ortiz knows the struggles of many students in his district because he’s lived through them himself. Ortiz, 29, grew up off of...

Ann Ravel witnessed wage disparity working in fruit orchards

Working in a fruit orchard cannery in San Jose as a school girl gave Former Federal Election Commission chair Ann Ravel a startling glimpse at income inequality, gender and racial disparities. White men were treated and paid better than white women, Latinos and Latina workers, she said. “I was a member of the union for the workers...

Jessica Paz-Cedillos broke through poverty to lead MHP arts school

Jessica Paz-Cedillos owes it all to her community. Paz-Cedillos in March becomes the new executive director for the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. Paz-Cedillos brings with her an extensive background in community organizing and an impressive history of fundraising. But she says she wouldn’t be in the position she’s in...

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