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Sat May 6, 2017, 05:03 AM

Kevin de Leon Went From College Dropout to California's Senate President

Like so many Americans, Kevin de León experienced in waves the dawning realization that Donald Trump was going to be the next president of the United States. First confusion, then shock, then dread, fear and vulnerability. Shortly before midnight on Nov. 8, the bleary-eyed president of the California Senate began writing his first press release of the Trump era: "Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land ..."

To a certain extent, de León has always felt like a stranger in a foreign land. He grew up in a poor neighborhood, Logan Heights, near Chicano Park in San Diego. He never really knew his father, a cook of Chinese decent, and was raised by his mother, Carmen Osorio, a housekeeper from Guatemala. She moved the family, including de León and his two older half-sisters, back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana. One of his half-sisters died last year, after years of struggling with meth addiction and homelessness.

De León was the first and only person in his family to graduate from high school and attend college. He started out at the University of California Santa Barbara, but it was a challenge. He had moxie but no organizational skills, no practice at taking notes or studying for a test. He didn't last long.

He couldn't go back home and tell his mother of his failure. Instead, he went to work for One Stop Immigration Center, a nonprofit in Los Angeles that helps undocumented immigrants fill out paperwork and teaches them English, history and organizing.

Read more: http://www.laweekly.com/news/kevin-de-leon-went-from-college-dropout-to-californias-senate-president-8175519

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