Sofia Pereira wants to bring a new generation of leadership to the Arcata City Council and to continue Arcata’s legacy of collaboration and innovation.
Sofia has served the community in numerous capacities since moving to Arcata in 2005 to attend Humboldt State University. Sofia’s vision is for Arcata to become the first Zero Waste City in Humboldt County; to strengthen connections between the city and community partners like Humboldt State University; and to increase the city’s use of technology to improve resident engagement and to make vital information easily accessible.
A native Californian, Sofia grew up in Santa Clara’s Portuguese community as the product of a hardworking family with firm roots in entrepreneurship. Her mother, a Greek immigrant, and her father were small business owners. Her maternal grandfather owned a watch and jewelry business in Greece, while her paternal grandfather owned Pereira’s Clothing Store in downtown Santa Clara. Through this real-life experience, Sofia gained an appreciation for the important role running a business played for her family and other families like hers in her community.
Sofia first organized her peers while attending Elk Grove High School. She and other young people protested the Elk Grove City Council plans to approve developments that would have a harmful effect on the community’s water quality, creeks and wildlife habitats. In Elk Grove, she received training as a conflict mediator, organized events to decrease bullying and improve the campus climate and served as a peer counselor.
Sofia moved to Arcata to attend Humboldt State University (HSU), originally to pursue a career as a family court mediator. Her own experience in the family court system inspired her to become an advocate for children. Sofia continued her role as a leader and organizer at HSU serving as a Community Advocate for an on-campus Eco-Living Community. She would go on to spend the summer of 2007 as a field manager raising funds for non-profits including the Sierra Club and Environment California. Sofia was selected by Greenpeace to receive training in advocacy, campaign strategies and lobbying in Washington, D.C. During her visit, she met with Congressman Mike Thompson to advocate for climate change legislation. It was from these experiences that Sofia realized that she wanted to affect change through public policy.
Sofia’s leadership on campus also included serving as an orientation counselor where she assisted students registering for classes during California’s significant cuts to the state university systems. She organized a campus phone blitz where hundreds of calls were made to state representatives urging their support to restore funding for higher education. This experience inspired her to run for Associated Students (AS) President. Sofia entered the race as a write-in and successfully won in a field of four candidates. During her term as AS President, Sofia stood up to administration when the student voice was at risk of being on the chopping block.
Soon after completing her studies at HSU with a bachelor of arts degree in Communication and a minor in social advocacy, Sofia joined Verizon Wireless where she saw firsthand the power of technology and how it can connect people and information. She would continue to serve as a tireless volunteer for various causes and organizations, including the Arcata Committee on Democracy and Corporations and the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission. She founded the North Coast Young Democrats in 2012. Sofia also served on the Six Rivers Planned Parenthood board of directors from 2010 to 2014 and as its Secretary-Treasurer in 2012-13.
Sofia most recently served as the president of Lost Coast Rotaract, a service club for young professionals sponsored by the Rotary Club of Eureka. Under her leadership, Lost Coast Rotaract raised thousands of dollars for organizations such as CASA of Humboldt and Food for People's Backpacks for Kids program.
Prior to her current position as the legislative analyst for the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, Sofia served as the field representative for Assemblymember Wes Chesbro in Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity counties. As a liaison to the community, she worked with constituents, elected officials, community leaders and organizations on pressing community issues ranging from transportation to natural resources.
Sofia is a member of the Class of 2014 of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale, a non-partisan, issue-neutral leadership program, whose mission is to increase the number and influence of women in elected and appointed office in the United States and around the globe.