For Al Jabbar, Anaheim unlocked the doors of opportunity for him and his family to prosper. An immigrant and education leader, Al has spent the past two decades working to ensure every Orange County family has the same chances to succeed. Al Jabbar is a proven leader who collaborates with others to solve problems. He will put those skills to help ensure our residents have the resources they need to thrive as our Anaheim City Councilmember.
Finding Opportunity in Anaheim
Al Jabbar, the son of an educator and attorney, was born and raised in Sri Lanka. As a young student, he got involved with service organizations where he helped build homes and connect with youth in the Mountain villages. He encountered children his age who were working with their parents in mines instead of going to school. The experience opened his eyes to societal inequities and shaped his desire to change these circumstances.
When Al was a teenager, his mother wanted him to pursue a college education in the United States. She received her green card, which allowed Al and his father to join her start their new life in America. When they arrived in Orange County, Al enrolled at Cypress College.
Al balanced school while working multiple jobs to support his family. He waited tables during the overnight shift at Denny’s near Disneyland and picked up hours at a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken. After work, Al took three buses to make his 8:00 am class. After class, Al used his voice to address equity and academic support as a Cypress College student government leader and Student Trustee to the North Orange County Community College Board.
Al Jabbar earned his Associate’s Degree and transferred to California State University, Fullerton, where he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. After working in mortgage services and real estate, he returned to school and earned his Master of Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach. He chose to dedicate his career to public service by working for the County of Orange Probation Department and the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Helping Anaheim Students Achieve
Al recognized the power of neighbors coming together to solve problems. He became active in the several Anaheim Community Groups, where he helped organize neighbors to demand parking solutions, community benefits from new developments, and safer routes to elementary schools. A testament to his community leadership, Al was appointed Anaheim Union High School District Trustee in 2013 – a position he was subsequently elected to twice. He is the first Sri Lankan-American to hold public office in the United States.
Al’s efforts as a Trustee have helped opened the doors of opportunity for countless Anaheim students. Understanding that immigrant families face barriers to accessing educational resources, Al helped start the Parent Leadership Academy. The academy equipped hundreds of Anaheim Union High School District parents with the knowledge and leadership skills they need to advocate for their kids. Al played an instrumental role in creating the “Anaheim Educational Pledge." This comprehensive student support system puts students on a pathway to college or a technical career from the day they enter Kindergarten. The pledge has helped Anaheim’s students gain priority admission to UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton, as well as one year of free tuition and books at Cypress or Fullerton College. Al also prioritized school safety and security by utilizing bond money to create state-of-the-art facilities, a one-point entry at all campuses, and a digital map of the entire school system to ensure preparedness for emergencies.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Al brought stakeholders together to ensure students had what they needed for virtual learning. He worked with nonprofits to set up food distribution to feed Anaheim families and helped organize vaccination sites to help meet the community’s greatest needs.
Proven Track Record of Service
Al Jabbar dedicates his time and talents to serving our community. He currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff to Supervisor Doug Chaffee, where Al has directed more county resources to help Anaheim address health care and transportation needs. He also served Anaheim as a Cultural & Heritage Commissioner for seven years, helping promote the arts and several cultural events within the city.
An active member in the progressive movement, Al served as a board member of the Orange County Employees Association and the Orange County Young Democrats. As the former president of the Sri Lanka Muslim Association of California, he was instrumental in providing aid to Tsunami victims and other relief.
Al and his wife, Sameeha, reside in Anaheim with their three children. Their two eldest attend Anaheim Public Schools.