Crystal goes hard for those who are unhoused. When you read her incredible story, you'll find out why.
Housing is a human right. And sadly, sometimes those who are unhoused are the first to
have their other rights violated.
Enter Crystal Sanchez and her team at the Sacramento Homeless Union, a local chapter of the National Union of the Homeless. The Sacramento Homeless Union is on the front lines of the fight for housing justice in our county and beyond. We caught up with Crystal to learn about her approach and what keeps her going in what often seems like a never-ending battle.
SJPC: What does "social justice" mean to you?
"Social justice to me means life or death. The only way to achieve true social justice for those who are oppressed is to be free from shackles of systemic racism in this Society. The freedom to live, the freedom to fight, the freedom to exist." -Crystal Sanchez, Sacramento Homeless Union
SJPC: Why are you involved in social justice?
Crystal: "I have worked in the medical field for 17 years. I have an associate's degree in applied science for criminal justice and I'm working towards my bachelor's. I'm involved in social justice because for my entire life I've been part of this broken system. As a child of incarcerated and drug-addicted parents. As a foster group home Youth and a ward of the Court. As somebody who was unhoused from being dumped out due to my age. As a domestic violence Survivor. As a warrior of the cards that have been dealt to me. We are all in a sense involved in social justice. When you see 11,000 people sleeping on the streets of Sacramento County and you know that 700 of them are children and many of them are seniors and Veterans and everyday people who just can't afford to survive due to broken policies, you can't help but want to see some sort of a change. When we see like 63,000 units lacking of affordable housing and an average rent of $1,425 for a studio and storefronts, closing we see the need for social justice."
SJPC: How do you self-care to keep fighting for social justice?
Crystal: "Self care is very important and advocates burn out because they don't take the time for themselves. It took me some time to learn this. I enjoy things like long drives to decompress. I generally go fishing or find a place that is silent and relaxing￼. Or spend time with family!"