Advocate, Educator, Organizer, Activist

With over 20 years of teaching experience, Ph.D. and JD degrees from UC Berkeley, and 30+ years of community leadership and advocacy, Nicky has made a vital difference on the Peralta Board.

Advocate

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Nicky González Yuen was elected to the Peralta Community College Board of Trustees in 2004. In his two terms, he has served as the Board Vice President, chaired the board’s Facilities and Land Use Committee overseeing more than $200,000,000 in bond expenditures and facilities growth and spearheading the District’s Environmental Sustainability policies. He has also served as a member of the Board’s Student Services and Student Equity Committee and he has chaired the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability since it’s inception in 2005.

Educator

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Nicky has been an instructor at De Anza Community College in Cupertino since 1989 where he just finished a stint as the Chair of the Political Science Department. It’s hard to estimate how many thousands of students Nicky has taught over his career. His main work as a teacher focuses on introducing students to an engaged and populist politics. He teaches not only Introduction to U.S. Government, but also Environmental Politics, Race and Politics, Social Movements and Organizing, Political Theory, Grassroots Leadership Development and Women’s Studies. Please visit his class website for more on Nicky’s classes: www.nypolisci.org.

Organizer

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Nicky is deeply engaged in East Bay progressive electoral politics. He serves on the Boards of both the Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus of Alameda County and the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club. Both of these Democratic clubs are committed to combining electoral activism with effective issue organizing to build a populist and progressive movement. As a member of or alternate to the California State Democratic Party Central Committee, he has been a delegate to the state party’s annual convention since 2007. He has a long history of organizing for educational access, environmental justice, peace, civil rights and student empowerment.

35 Years of Leadership, Advocacy, and Activism

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In addition to his paid work, for over 30 years Nicky has contributed to the communities in which he has lived. He has worked on a range of projects: from campus anti-apartheid work as a young adult, to the peace movement, to civil rights advocacy, to student and faculty leadership development, voter registration and mobilization, & environmental justice.
  • Oakland Apollo Alliance (2005 to the present)
  • Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club (Coordinating Committee, 2003 to present)
  • Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus of Alameda County (2005 to Present)
  • East Bay Votes! (Planning Committee, 2004)
  • Get Out the Student Vote (Executive Director, Berkeley/Oakland, 2004)
  • City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission (2003)
  • De Anza College Diversity Leadership Training Project (founding director and lead trainer, 1991 to present)
  • De Anza College Students for Justice Club (faculty advisor, 2003-2004)
  • De Anza College Community and Action for Gender Liberation Club (faculty advisor, 2004)
  • De Anza College Asian Pacific American Staff Association (Executive Committee, 2001 to present)
  • De Anza College Diversity Council (member, 1993-1997)
  • De Anza College Staff Development Committee (member, 1993-1997)
  • De Anza College Visiting Speakers Series (member, 1993-2003)
  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, UC Berkeley, (Chair and Board member, 1986-1990)
  • Boalt Hall Coalition for a Diversified Faculty (two term chair, co-founder and board member, 1985-1990)
  • Democratic Socialists of America- San Francisco Chapter (Steering Committee, Anti-militarism Committee, 1981-1985)
  • Livermore Action Group (Spokes Council, 1984-1985)
  • San Francisco Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign- (Steering Committee, 1982-1984)
  • JP Stevens worker boycott support (Carleton College, 1979-1981)
  • Anti-Apartheid campus organizing (Carleton College, 1977-1981)
  • APA Labor Alliance

Work Experience

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  • Political Science Instructor, De Anza College, Cupertino, CA (1989- present) – full time instructor in the political science department where Nicky teaches introductory classes in U.S. Politics and Government, Grassroots Organizing, Race, Gender, and Liberation and Political Theory. He views his primary job as training students for political empowerment through critical thinking and exposure to a critical assessment of the U.S. political system. Nicky also provides many opportunities for students to engage in grassroots political action. For almost all of his students, most of whom are working while in school (many full-time), his class is their only exposure to a critical view of U.S. politics. For more details go to Nicky’s De Anza College teaching website.
  • Congressional Fellow, Office of Senator Paul Wellstone (D- MN), Washington, DC (2001) – In the spring of 2001 while on sabbatical from De Anza College Nicky was a Congressional Fellow in United States Senator Paul Wellstone’s Washington, DC Office. Nicky worked chiefly with the education staffers in mitigating the damage of what subsequently became the mis-named “No Child Left Behind Act.” He was also active advocating for increased financial aid for college students from poor and working class families.

Other relevant work experience also includes:

  • Fair Housing Center of Marin County (fair housing counselor-1987-1988)
  • The Asian Law Caucus (summer clerk-1986)
  • National Center for Youth Law (NCYL), San Francisco, CA (Editor and Administrative Assistant, 1982-1985)
  • The Youth Project (field representative-1981-1982)
  • The People’s Law Office, Chicago, IL (legal assistant-1980-1981)

Education

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  • Ph.D., Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley (1996). Doctoral dissertation, entitled Lives of Resistance, Communities of Support, focused on factors that contribute to political activists’ long-term engagement with high-risk and high-cost activism.
  • JD, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley (1992)
  • BA, Summa Cum Laude, Political Science, Carleton College, Northfield, MN (1981): (academic advisor: Paul D. Wellstone). Departmental distinction. Senior research at Carleton dealt with the topic of the influence of the feminist movement on the development of the New Left.

Family

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Nicky’s parents were both immigrants from the West Indies. Born in 1959, Nicky’s early years were spent in New Orleans, Louisiana. At age 8, his family moved to California where he has lived most of his life. Nicky is married to Jude Yuen, his partner of more than 30 years. Jude is a psychologist who works in a county community mental health clinic in our neighboring Contra Costa County. Nicky and Jude have two children in their twenties, Dana and Corey. Dana is a student at  Berkeley City College. Corey is a recent graduate from Eugene Lang College in New York where he still lives and plays in the rock band “Mainland.” Nicky and Jude have lived in Berkeley and Oakland for 30+ years and currently reside in a small co-housing community on Russell Street in Berkeley.