Amy Vilela knows exactly how real the struggle can be in America.
FIGHTING FOR CHANGE
Throughout her life, she’s experienced the pain our broken systems cause in so many ways. She was born in rural Maryland and raised in poverty by a single-mother. Later, as a single-mother herself, raising two biracial children in a prejudiced society, Amy and her family relied on food stamps and WIC to get by. She knows what it’s like to be evicted and to choose between putting food on the table or paying the bills. Through all that, however, Amy has remained a fighter.
Amy took classes at night while working multiple jobs during the day in order to get through college—the first in her family to earn a degree. She entered the professional world as an accountant working for nonprofits and businesses, and quickly rose the ranks to become a Chief Financial Officer.
By the time she had married her husband David, an immigrant from Brazil and a Major in the U.S. Air Force, Amy thought she had it all. That illusion was quickly shattered, and she was reminded of what she had learned so directly growing up: that we are all only as safe as the most vulnerable among us.
You may have heard the story about Amy’s daughter, Shalynne, who died at the hands of our nation’s profit-driven healthcare system after she was denied care because she couldn’t provide adequate proof of insurance to the local emergency room. It was a life-changing moment for Amy, who has since found purpose in fighting for justice.
Amy’s advocacy for single-payer healthcare and other key progressive policies made popular by Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid led her to run for Congress in 2018.
Since then, Amy has continued to give everything she has to the political revolution. She’s traveled the country—encouraging other progressive women to get involved in the political process and run for office, as well as for Sen. Sanders’ 2020 bid as a national surrogate and Nevada state co-chair. Amy has also applied her professional experience to provide accounting and campaign compliance services to other progressive candidates through her Nevada-based consulting firm.
All the while, Amy has continued to organize on the ground locally in Las Vegas. This past year in particular, as the effects of the pandemic have been so acutely felt across Amy’s community—especially among the immigrant and working class communities who are the backbone of this global city—she’s helped to organize mutual aid to provide for nearly a thousand Vegas families in need.
Amy is running for Congress because—from Covid to climate change—the political status quo is not doing enough to provide for those with the least. It’s time for political leadership who will fight like lives depend on it, because they do. Amy knows that. She’s running because we deserve more.