Naz Balkam is a first-generation Ethiopian-American studying Political Science. She grew up under two working-class immigrants in Oakland, where she was exposed to the hardships faced by immigrants, Black families, and low-income households. She has seen the ways in which local governments have both failed and succeeded at meeting the needs of their underrepresented community members, and she hopes to resolve these issues through a career in public service. She is most passionate about resolving issues regarding immigration, education equity, community engagement, and affordable housing.
She has worked with non-profits throughout the Bay Area, and she has recently interned in Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Office, where she was given the opportunity to conduct research on the history of systemic racism in Oakland and help organize the City's response to the COVID-19 crisis. She currently works at Berkeley Law and conducts intake for a non-profit in Oakland, where she helps mitigate imminent housing crises for the Bay Area's working-class residents and their families. This summer, Naz hopes to intern for a local government office that is interested in establishing methods necessary to improve relations towards historically marginalized communities and eventually pave the way for a more accessible form of government.