Mike was born in a union household. Out of college, he began work as a public school teacher, serving in the Teach for America corps and teaching 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade in under-resourced public schools. Later, he co-founded two nonprofit education organizations, serving as executive director of Oakland Leaf in California and providing free after-school and summer programs to thousands of children and youth. Mike returned to school to obtain a law degree. His legal career began as a civil rights attorney, representing individuals affected by discrimination and retaliation, and challenging local and state policies that targeted vulnerable minority groups.
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