Jacqui Cebrian, a candidate for the Sequoia Union High School District school board Trustee Area E, has announced that she is dropping out in order to support candidate Shawneece Stevenson instead.
In an email on Sept. 11, Cebrian explained her reasoning for dropping out of the race, saying that she believed Stevenson, as a Black woman, would better represent the area, which includes Menlo Park neighborhoods east of Highway 101 as well as East Palo Alto.
"It is my belief that Shawneece Stevenson is the right choice to represent Area E for this moment in time," she said. "I think she brings a different experience to the position than I do, and I believe there need to be more voices of color on our elected boards. After all of the learning I've done on the topic of anti-racism since I first read Jason Reynolds' and Ibram X. Kendi's book 'Stamped: A Remix; Racism, Anti-Racism and You,' I knew I could not ask my friends and family for money to support a campaign that, if successful, would result in the opposite of what I thought was right," she said.
Cebrian said that she had met with Stevenson three times before making her decision, and her website now includes a statement supporting her along with a link to Stevenson's website.
Only two candidates had filed for the one open seat in Trustee Area E, leaving Stevenson as the only candidate in the race. Cebrian's name will still appear on the ballot, as the San Mateo County Elections Office's deadline for candidates to withdraw has passed.
Stevenson is a first-time candidate in the district who has lived in East Palo Alto for 22 years, according to her website. "As a proud parent of three Ravenswood School District graduates, two of whom currently attend Menlo-Atherton, I am passionate about quality education for all students," she said on her website. "I believe in equity and supporting diverse learners, especially those with learning differences and special needs."
Sequoia Union High School District operates the local comprehensive high schools Menlo-Atherton and Woodside, as well as TIDE Academy. In the upcoming election, residents will vote based on the district they reside in.
In her statement, Cebrian acknowledged her supporters and asked for them to support Stevenson. "I appreciate so much the support of my family, friends, colleagues, and community members," she said. "I'm so proud to be a resident of Belle Haven and I'm sorry to let them down by leaving the race, but as I promised I would do as a trustee, I weighed all the information and made what I think is the best choice."