Velasquez is a long-time organizer and community advocate for students and parents of OUSD. He is the co-founder of the non-profit organization Oakland Public Education Network (OPEN), alongside OUSD board member Mike Hutchinson. As a national advocate for public education, he knows that what’s happening in Oakland is not unique to this Town. He believes public education needs to meet students where they are instead of expecting the same cookie-cutter approach to work for all students. As a parent of three OUSD students, he believes it’s a pivotal moment in Oakland right now where we can take control of the school board away from privatizers and get it back into the hands of parents and those who are invested in our public schools.