The Early Years
Drew knows first-hand what it is like for students, families and working class individuals who are struggling in Santa Cruz; he knows how vital it is for them to be able to count on secure housing, childcare, and workable options for education and healthcare. He knows that vulnerable individuals do not thrive here if they try to make it alone; they need community and collective support.
A native to Santa Cruz and the son of a single mother who was fortunate enough to be pursuing her degree in Feminist Studies at Cabrillo College and UCSC, Drew grew up as one of the few African Americans in Santa Cruz. With his mom in school, Drew was an early participant in the Cabrillo College campus childcare services, and was in one of the first classes to be offered through the alternative Monarch Elementary School. These experiences help to inspire his belief in advocacy that encourages families and institutions to transition away from outdated and ineffective methods of education, while helping programs expand to support families from all income brackets.
As a cancer survivor, Drew understands the value of health care. Diagnosed in 2006 with testicular cancer, he learned first-hand the difficulties of navigating local health care systems. He knows how important health insurance and health care are. Drew knows that as a city we can do a better job at creating policies and organizations to bring these solutions within our reach.
Drew has also learned the hard way what other young people of color experience in a community that has yet to create public ways of acknowledging our true history and realities of exclusion and discrimination. Drew graduated in 2003 as the first African-American Senior Class President at Harbor High School, but it wasn’t until he studied Sociology at Cabrillo College that he gained the language and perspective to be able to name his experiences with local oppression. This insight has given him the tools and motivation to help Santa Cruz move toward its goals of diversity and nonviolence, while a lifetime of immersion in white society has allowed him to develop the skills needed to make him to be an excellent bridge-builder.
His life path has taught him how to cultivate a climate of connection, responsiveness, and care, and he wants to bring that to our City government.
Drew is a professional practitioner of nonviolence and is employed by the Resource Center for Nonviolence as their Lead Trainer for Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation, Lead Coordinator for their Project Regeneration Youth Engagement Program, Lead Coordinator for the Alliance to Dismantle White Supremacy and the Volunteer Coordinator. This opportunity has given him the chance to learn and train directly from nonviolence legends such as Dr. Bernard Lafayette and Reverend James Lawson.
Drew is also an environmental activist and knows what it’s like to run a small business; he is the founder and director of a grassroots, donation-supported NGO Project:Pollinate that brings ordinary people together to make positive change through research, advocacy and pollinator preservation in order to build community and strengthen our human connection.
After working with the United Nations Association of Santa Cruz County since 2014, Drew was elected to the position of President of the Santa Cruz Chapter in 2016. Taking over for the legendary Pat Arnold, Drew is now responsible for leading the charge on domestic and international human rights awareness and education for Santa Cruz County.
PREVENTING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
In 2017 Drew was appointed to sit as a Commissioner on the Santa Cruz City Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women. On the Commission Drew works with other community members to end sexual assault, sexual harassment, and domestic violence in the City of Santa Cruz through prevention, programs, and public policy. Drew is dedicated to making the ending of violence against women one of the highest priority in the City of Santa Cruz.
Background and Experience
- 2012 Rosemary Grainger Peace Activism Award
- 2013 Saved the Dental Hygiene Clinic by raising $100,000
- 2014 Founded Project Pollinate
- 2015 Guest Lecturer – Museum of Art and History: Race and Community
- 2015 Community Game Changer – Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County
- 2016 Speaker – Practical Activism UCSC: The Historic Construction of Race
- 2017 Elected – President of the United Nations Association of Santa Cruz County
- 2017 Elected – California State Democratic Party Delegate to Assembly District 29
- 2017 Workshop Lead – Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey: Kingian Nonviolence
- 2017 Elected – Santa Cruz City Commission to End Violence Against Women
- 2017 In Progress – Successful ban of city use of pesticides containing Glyphosate