Allyssa Victory (born Villanueva) was raised in North Oakland and has since lived in every district of Oakland. Growing up in Oakland, Allyssa overcame many of the hardships facing residents today, including homelessness and food insecurity, which makes her uniquely qualified to lead our city through our current crises with urgency. Allyssa attended Smiles Day School where her mother worked as a teacher then attended public schools for the rest of k-12. Her family bought their first home in north Oakland’s Bushrod park neighborhood after being evicted from Berkeley. Allyssa was raised with her younger sister by her mother, grandparents, and uncles while her father and two younger siblings lived in deep east Oakland. In middle school, Allyssa starting volunteering at clothing and food distribution drives with her family at True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in West Oakland. Allyssa continued her service journey with her first paid job as a student organizer with Oakland’s Youth Together providing ethnic studies and policy education to her high school peers. Despite Allyssa’s family working multiple jobs at the time, they were evicted from their home preceding the onslaught of foreclosures in Oakland’s working class communities. Due to housing insecurity, Allyssa lived around the Bay Area while finishing high school.
Allyssa accepted admission to the University of California – San Diego (UCSD) and became the first person in her family to attend a 4-year university. Allyssa worked to support herself and her education including as Co-Director of the UCSD Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Services and as a College Advisor for UCSD Upward Bound. The youth empowerment and civil rights training that Allyssa received in Oakland motivated her to continue organizing as a first-generation college student including teaching a college course in her first year. Allyssa remained housing insecure – dependent on campus housing and staying on floors and couches when returning home to Oakland – and supporting herself with summer jobs at FairyLand and Laney College. Nonetheless, Allyssa remained committed to her academic journey as well as organizing for expanded resources for underrepresented students. Allyssa holds a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and a minor in Black Studies from UCSD where she graduated with Honors and led the Black Student Union’s founding of the campus Black Resource Center and implementation of the campus-wide diversity graduation requirement.
After college, Allyssa was determined to return home to Oakland to continue serving with her community. Allyssa moved to Oakland Chinatown while teaching STEM at Roots Academy in east Oakland through Girls Inc. of Alameda County. Allyssa then attended University of California San Francisco (formerly Hastings) College of the Law. Allyssa committed to public service leadership and civil rights law. She served on campus as Co-Chair of the Black Law Students Association and of the Employment and Labor Law Students Association. She published a law review note on prosecutorial discretion and organized legal symposiums on community empowerment in law enforcement oversight and on mental health standards for prosecution. Off campus, Allyssa advised the cities of San Francisco and Oakland on public banking, worked on the City’s minimum wage implementation in the Labor and Employment Division of the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, and externed at the Oakland federal courthouse of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California. Allyssa received numerous awards and recognitions for her public service including from Charles Houston Bar Association and the East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association. Allyssa holds a J.D. with a Government Law Concentration from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and is a proud alum of the Legal Education Opportunity Program, which has afforded decades of diverse, trailblazing attorneys with a legal education, including our nation’s first Black woman Vice President Kamala Harris.
Allyssa began her legal career as the nationally-selected Public Interest Diversity Fellow for the California Employment Lawyers Association. She worked to diversify the legal profession with the Association’s Diversity Outreach Committee and by providing mentorship and Bar exam tutoring for non-traditional students. As an attorney, Allyssa represented every day workers and residents in the areas of labor, employment discrimination and wage theft, civil rights in housing, and criminal justice law. Allyssa also has policy and municipal law expertise to advise local governments regionally, including the City of Oakland, on topics including public banking, workers’ rights, and public safety. Allyssa previously oversaw direct service programs in Oakland through the statewide Afrikan Black Coalition and managed its headquarters in east Oakland. Allyssa has also been an Instructor at San Quentin State Prison with the Prison University Project. Allyssa is a member of youth, faith, and worker coalitions to advance racial, criminal, and economic justice throughout the Bay Area.
Allyssa currently works as a Criminal Justice Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and is Counsel to Communications Workers of America, Local 9415. She is a union member and elected bargaining committee member with IFPTE Science and Engineers Local 20. Allyssa maintains her commitment to serving the most vulnerable through her daily work as well as through her immeasurable volunteerism and community organizing. Allyssa is an alumna of Emerge California‘s 2020 candidate training cohort. In 2021, Allyssa was elected by the public as an ADEM Delegate to the CA Democratic Party to represent Assembly District 18 which includes Oakland, Alameda, and Emeryville. Allyssa currently resides in the Laurel District with her husband and their dogs.
Allyssa has been fighting for an Oakland where all Oaklanders are housed, healthy, safe, and restored and will continue her fight as Oakland’s 51st Mayor and as the first Black woman Mayor elected in the city’s history.