Activists for Women, School Board Members Join Growing Endorsers for Public Defender Sajid Khan in Run for Santa Clara District Attorney

By Katherine Coviello and Tommy Nguyen

SAN JOSE, CA- Sajid Khan, a Bay Area Public Defender who is running for the Office of District Attorney in Santa Clara this year, has received a bevy of new endorsements, including the Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN), and school board members Derek Grasty, Peter Ortiz and Karen Martinez.

Founded in the 1990’s, DAWN supports progressive, pro-choice Democrats through providing resources, including running forums, offering financial support, lobbying, and through coalitions.

This Democratic Organization entirely consists of female volunteers who advocate for policies or actions that they believe will protect women both locally and internationally.

“I am honored to receive DAWN’s endorsement. As Santa Clara County District Attorney, I will strive to cultivate a culture of inclusion, care and compassion in our community,” responded Kahn.

The son of immigrants, Khan was inspired by civil rights leaders growing up. Now, his platform is based on commitments to investing in alternatives to incarceration as a crime prevention tool, dismantling the school to prison pipeline, and opposing police misconduct.

“I vow to work alongside leading groups like DAWN to promote the rights, representation and safety of women, non-binary people, and the trans community in Santa Clara County and to ensure dignified treatment in all spaces including our courtrooms, healthcare facilities, and jails.” Khan stated.

Khan continued, “Additionally, as we face a national attack on reproductive freedoms, I vow to fight for continued access to meaningful reproductive care, to hold accountable those that infringe on those rights, and to never prosecute a person for seeking or a medical provider for offering safe abortion care.”

School board members Derek Grasty, Peter Ortiz, and Karen Martinez also endorsed Khan because of his commitment to education.

Sajid Khan believes that the health of the community starts with improvement within the education system, noting that “too many people end up in the criminal legal system because of lack of resources devoted to our schools.”

He said he looks forward to working alongside the three educational advocates to “dismantle the school to prison pipeline,” ensuring that all children will be strongly encouraged to thrive for success with all the given opportunities.

Mount Pleasant Elementary School Board member Grasty began his teaching career in the mid-1980s in Detroit, Lynwood, and Palo Alto, and was quickly promoted to vice-principal and then principal at the school where he worked at

Ortiz previously served on the Mt. Pleasant School Board, before becoming the youngest elected member of the Santa Clara County Board of Education in 2018. His great passion for youth intervention has pushed him to spend his entire career appraising the needs of the under-resourced youth communities.

As a mother of seven children, school board member Martinez expresses commitment to being a long-time parent leader and a community activist, connecting deeply with her community and devoting herself to educational equity and access. Karen was a member of the Alum Rock Union Board of Trustees from 2012 to 2016.

Other Khan endorsers include community leaders like councilmembers Sergio Jiminez and Ellen Kamei, as well as organizations such as the Santa Clara County La Raza Lawyers Association, San Jose City Councilmember Sergio Jimenez, former Congressman Mike Honda, Assemblymember Alex Lee, Silicon Valley Young Democrats, and South Bay Progressive Alliance.

About The Author

Katherine Coviello is a fourth year communication and design double major at UC Davis and will graduate in June 2022. Katherine aspires to have a career in law and advocate for social justice issues.

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