Her mission: “Be the woman I wish I met at 14.”
Shay Franco-Clausen carries this with her daily. Her journey has included trauma, foster care and domestic violence in relationships. She wants to be a mentor who can tell young girls going through these things that it will be ok. Because she knows in the end it can be.
Alongside her wife, Yolanda, Shay has started a 501c3 non-profit PLAYCE (People Living as Your Community Examples). From their home office they work with youth to build future leaders. PLAYCE has evolved from what was PlayNice Productions, a basketball leadership program offering a free basketball camp that teaches the importance of acceptance, tolerance, mindfulness and “No Bullying” through the fundamentals of basketball as well as creating youth leaders.
Since Prop 8 (Eliminating the rights of same-sex couples to marry) was on the ballot in 2008, Shay began to immerse herself in learning how policy & elected bodies work. She couldn’t believe that some in the LGBTQ voted for this proposition becuase politics and campaigns can be so confusing. She decided to learn the ropes and throw her hat in the political arena. “I survived this system that oppresses people of color and someone like me needs to be at the table.” This year Shay ran for San Jose City Council District 9. She was striving to be the the first ever queer and woman of color elected in the county. Shay mentioned how rare it is for her to see someone that looks like her in politics and she wants to help set an example for youth of color and LGBTQ youth. She is very involved in the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority who works to preserve open space. They make sure decisions in the community are made with an environmental lense. Her focus is to show youth how to advocate for environmental rights. She paid stipends to youth interns and organizes family volunteer opportunities in the community.
Thank you Shay for your commitment to our youth, the LGBTQ community and the voices not typically heard.
Information about Shay and youth/family volunteer opportunities in the South Bay can be found on her website www.shayforsanjose.com.
Written by: Chayla Gibson (Sol Sister)