A 35-year Oakland resident, Mayor Jean Quan has dedicated her life to making government work for people and organizing communities for social change.
Jean's family came to be a part of a new Oakland Chinatown after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Raised by a non-English-speaking single mother, Jean worked in the family restaurant, found haven in public libraries, and received a scholarship to attend UC Berkeley, where she met her husband, Floyd.
From her early days as a student activist at UC Berkeley founding Asian American studies, Jean believed in making institutions work for communities facing inequality and helped developed community projects across Oakland that, over 40 years later, still continue serving youth and immigrants today.
As one of the first Chinese-speaking union organizers in California, Jean led the first Justice for Janitors campaigns in the 1980s and worked with immigrant workers to let them know their labor rights.
A public servant of Oakland for 23 years, Jean was elected to the Oakland School Board in 1990 after mobilizing parents to save OUSD's music and arts programs, and was elected to serve on the Oakland City Council in 2002, where she worked closely with residents to revitalize neighborhoods and local business districts.
Elected in 2010 as the city's 49th mayor, Jean has championed Oakland's profile to the world, bringing investment to move long-stalled economic development projects, working to bring thousands of local jobs for residents, and dramatically re-organizing the Oakland Police Department to reduce crime through geographic accountability and data-driven strategies.
Working with the City Administrator and City Council to pass three balanced budgets with reserves, Jean led the city successfully through the economic crisis, while making City Hall more effective in its delivery of services to residents, including utilizing 21st century technology to increase participation, transparency and accountability.
As a member of the US Conference of Mayors, chairing their International Affairs Committee, and a member of the National League of Cities, Jean is a national leader in collaboratively developing best practices for solving urban issues across the nation.
Jean and Floyd raised their children in Oakland, William and Lailan, who attended OUSD public schools, graduated from Ivy League colleges, and came back to the Bay Area to continue the family tradition of public service and community empowerment.