I wish my mother were still alive to see me today, to join in this work.

We all cover a lot of ground over the course of our lives, and when we stop to reflect, it can be astonishing. I know my mother would be delighted, even amused, to see how my days shake out as our campaign rockets toward election day.

I’m so grateful to be the first Democrat in 33 years to challenge the current Speaker of the House for San Francisco’s seat in Congress.

When I was younger, I never even imagined being here—standing up and running for office.

My family moved from London to a small town in rural Missouri when I was only 2 years old. When I was in middle school, we moved from Rosebud—with a population of under 400 people, not a single stop light—to the suburbs of St. Louis. Until then, my connection to the world beyond our town had been through books. Being part of our faith community on the north side of St. Louis introduced me to wealth & income inequality, but I was light years away from sophisticated.

When I was 21, I was happy to simply have a roof over my head.

In 1991, my family lost our home to foreclosure. I was 17. For two years, I struggled with housing insecurity, bouncing from couch to couch. That fall, I started college at the University of Chicago—but had to leave before the end of the academic year because I couldn’t afford it.

That was a rough time. I learned a lot about myself and the world we share.

I landed work at a bank and took community college courses at night. I worked to pay my way through school, graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University, and then moved west to study at Stanford Law.

As I learned and grew, I worked with others to organize direct action—resisting Bush’s wars and attacks on civil liberties. I advocated in courts to protect and expand civil rights and to get money out of politics. The next battle I joined was against the surveillance state—a decade of defending democracy—before entering the race to represent San Francisco in Congress.

I do not come to this struggle from privilege, political or otherwise. I am an immigrant who doesn’t own property, who isn’t from a wealthy family. Our team is confronting one of the most wealthy Members of Congress, who’s had more than 30 years to build an opposition party, to fight for our values.

Your support means so much to our entire team. We cannot do this without you. While we’ve raised over $1 million to challenge the leader of the corporate Democrats, we’re still outgunned by a ratio of 15:1. And with Pelosi spending a million dollars every month on Facebook advertising alone, we have our work cut out for us.

Thank you for being part of this historic campaign. We—and I—could not do it without you.

In solidarity,