While in California, Mira volunteered at the “Anarchist Bookstore”. Through friend connections, Mira found a house on Ashbury Street, a few blocks from the famous corner of Haight-Ashbury. During this time, there was a massive political movement in San Francisco surrounding the gay population. Compared to how Mira grew up, with little political conversation allowed, this was a huge shift from Mira’s norms. Many of Mira’s roommates were artists who were trying to make it big in music or in dance. Mira’s first paid job in California was at an engineering firm, doing small tasks like organizing mail. This didn’t last long, so Mira did other odd jobs like working at a Vegan bakery. Mira traveled around the city on a bicycle and often found herself working very strange hours. Mira even brags about making a fantastic cappuccino.
Mira began working in the non-profit sector when she took on a job with the San Francisco Asian Women Shelters. Her work there connected her with Gabriele, which was an organization that worked against the dictatorship in the Philippines. Mira befriended many women of color in California because these women were available, unlike the ‘mostly white folks’ found in Des Moines, Iowa during this time. Mira was working sometimes up to four jobs at a time in San Francisco, including her volunteering.
Mira began seeing someone around the year 1990, and with him she moved to Oakland, California which was very different from her life in San Francisco. In Oakland, Mira worked for a Civil Rights Law firm while attending a community college called Laney College. College never excited Mira because she said she could make good enough money without a degree. Mira attributes her work at the Law firm to how she saw people treated when she was growing up. The issues of objectification of women and community activism really stood out to her. Befriending people of color in the Bay Area opened Mira’s eyes to the Civil Rights struggle that took place in the United States, and she made many connections to how these events affected Asian Americans. Mira notes a ‘major alliance with the black community’ because of the information she learned. To Mira, the personal is political, meaning that the people she surrounds herself with should reflect her social politics.