Climate Justice Alliance
Our Steering Committee
The Steering Committee provides political leadership and assures that the alliance stays on strategic course toward climate justice.
Steering Committee Co-Chair
Elizabeth C. Yeampierre is a nationally recognized Puerto Rican attorney and environmental justice leader of African and Indigenous ancestry born and raised in New York City. She is Executive Director of UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization. Her award winning vision for an inter-generational, multi-cultural and community-led organization is the driving force behind UPROSE. She is a long-time advocate and trailblazer for community organizing around just, sustainable development, environmental justice and community-led climate adaptation and community resiliency in Sunset Park. Prior to assuming the Executive Director position at UPROSE, Ms. Yeampierre was the Director of Legal Education and Training at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Director of Legal Services for the American Indian Law Alliance and Dean of Puerto Rican Student Affairs at Yale University. She holds a BA from Fordham University and a law degree from Northeastern University. Elizabeth is the first Latina Chair of the US EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.
Executive Director, UPROSE
Steering Committee Co-Chair
Mateo was born and grew up in La Paz, Bolivia. Since moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, he has worked in the labor, environmental justice and international solidarity movements. He has spent the last decade integrating concepts of popular education into his movement work. Mateo is one of the co-founders of the Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project. Prior to joining MG, Mateo designed and facilitated political education trainings and conducted staff development workshops for grassroots and community organizations interested in growing their organizing, advocacy, and leadership capacities. He served as the director of Urban Habitat’s Leadership Institute and served as the Northwest Coordinator of the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute. Mateo is the son of Barbara, partner of Amanda, and fortunate father of Maya and Nilo. He is also a member of the Latin rock band Los Nadies.
Co-Director, Movement Generation
Equity Fellow, Kheprw Institute
Aghilah is an Equity Fellow and grant writer with the Kheprw Institute. As a graduate of Indiana University in International Studies, she is passionate about social justice and equity, especially within the global context. Working with Kheprw, she has facilitated community discussions, written grants to support the organization’s work, and now is working with other youth within the Climate Justice Alliance to establish a Youth Collective that brings in the perspective of youth within the broader climate justice movement.
Darryl Molina Sarmiento
Executive Director, Communities for a Better Environment
Darryl Molina Sarmiento is the Executive Director for Communities for a Better Environment, a 40-year-old environmental justice organization that builds local power through community organizing, research, and legal support in Wilmington, South East Los Angeles, East Oakland, and Richmond, California. Darryl embodies CBE’s leadership ladder, having first encountered CBE at the age of 18, when she took a CBE Toxic Tour. In 2005, she formally joined CBE as the Youth Program Coordinator where she organized youth to defeat the Vernon Power Plant. In 2011, Darryl transitioned into the role of CBE’s Southern California Program Director and was at the helm of successful community-based campaigns against the fossil fuel industry and toxic polluters. Darryl was instrumental in leading the passage of Clean Up Green Up, a City of Los Angeles ordinance that is one of the first Environmental Justice Green Zone Policies in the nation. She has worked on the passage of statewide energy and climate policy and has worked to advance local clean energy and transportation goals. Darryl graduated from UCLA and has done labor organizing with AFSCME Local 3299 and community organizing with the Pilipino Workers Center of Los Angeles. She previously served on the boards of Southern Californians for Youth, The California Fund for Youth Organizing and the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice.
Environmental Justice Chair, Indiana NAACP
Denise’s main passion everyday is working toward a vision that eliminates environmental injustice, increases clean energy, healthy, thriving, climate resistant and sustainable communities. She holds a BS in management, MBA in healthcare management and a health informatics designation from Indiana University School of Informatics. Denise successfully organized over 85 attendees from across the Midwest to the United States Environmental Protection Agency at Region V. In February 2016, Indianapolis Power Light stopped burning coal. She organized the Just Energy Campaign, and called for a retirement date by 2016, and won. The advocacy of the Just Energy Campaign was instrumental and crucial in the defeat of House Bill 1320, there are no fees charged to distributed generation of energy in Indiana. This victory rose to national coverage within LA Times and Bloomberg News. Denise has personally accepted three awards in recognition for this body of work.
Another Gulf Is Possible
Jayeesha Dutta is a tri-coastal, nearly trilingual Bengali-American multi/interdisciplinary artist, activist, and strategist. She is a co-founding core member, space activator, and people convener for Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative, galvanizing the voices and experiences of brown (indigenous, latinx and desi) women from across the Gulf South to the Global South working towards a just transition for our people and the planet. She is a co-founder emeritus of 826 New Orleans board of directors. Jayeesha is an avid traveler, home chef, live music lover, and adores being near (or in) any body of water. She was born in Mobile, raised in New York, aged in Oakland and is deeply grateful to call New Orleans home.
National Organizer, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Jaron Browne is the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) National Organizer for Global Well Being programs, building out GGJ’s Just Transition, climate justice and anti-militarism campaigns, including support for CJA’s Our Power Campaign, and other national and international climate justice and new economy campaigns. Jaron coordinated the It Takes Roots delegations to the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris, COP22 in Marrakesh, COP24 in Katowice, and was a co-author of the report We Are Mother Earth’s Red Line, analyzing the impact of Paris Climate Agreement. In 2016, Jaron worked with GGJ member organizations to coordinate a series of Just Transition Assemblies in Detroit, Vermont, Seattle and Rhode Island. Before joining GGJ, Jaron was an organizer with POWER and Causa Justa::Just Cause for nearly 13 years, building the power of working class Black and Latino families in the Bay Area. Jaron was trained as an organizer with the Bus Riders Union in Los Angeles at the Labor/Community Strategy Center in 2001. Jaron has also been active in the movement to end mass incarceration, as well as LGBT social movements in the US. Jaron is located in Oakland, CA.
Jesús Vázquez is an activist, organizer and lawyer who is part of the Sustainable Agriculture and Agroecology Movement of Puerto Rico. Jesús works with public policy and advocacy around environmental justice and food sovereignty issues. He also coordinates different activities to support the network of local sustainable farms in the different regions of Puerto Rico. Jesús gives priority to organizing tasks to strengthen the local movement for food justice. He is a member of the National Coordination Team of Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico.
Black Dirt Farm Collective
Kirtrina M. Baxter is a dedicated mother, drummer, urban farmer, food justice activist and community organizer for the Garden Justice Legal Initiative–a program of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. She works with gardeners around the city, assisting them in gaining access to land and other resources. In this capacity, she also organizes Soil Generation, a diverse body of urban agriculture advocates and environmental and food justice activists who work within a racial and economic justice framework to help inform policy and provide community education and support to gardeners in the city. Before moving back to Philadelphia in 2012, Kirtrina co-founded the Ithaca Youth Farm Project, and the Congo Square Market in Ithaca, NY. In addition to her work at the Law Center, Ms. Baxter is the farm manager and a board member at Urban Creators; a board member of Mill Creek Farm; and a member of the Black Dirt Farm Collective, The Seedkeepers Collective, and the National Black Food and Justice Alliance. As an afroecologist, she has a passion for preserving and creating cultural agrarian traditions through art, cooking and nutrition, growing food, seedkeeping, and collective organizing. Though certified in permaculture, Kirtrina identifies with afroecology as a more politically informed way to practice her land work. In 2008, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Holistic Healing and her M.A in Cultural Studies from Union Institute and University.
Deputy Organizing Director for Just Transition, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
Lisa Abbott is a member of KFTC’s organizing team, and serves as Deputy Organizing Director for Just Transition. She joined KFTC’s staff in 1992 and served as organizing director from 2002 to 2015. In her current role she coordinates KFTC’s work on Just Transition, sustainable energy, and climate change. She also serves on the board of the New World Foundation and is a Philanthropic Trustee of the Solutions Project. She was instrumental in the formation of the Student Environmental Action Coalition in the late 1980’s. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Maryland at College Park and a BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
Ironbound Community Corporation
Maria is the Leadership Developer for Ironbound Community Corporation in the Environmental Justice and Community Development Department. Maria has over 10 years of experience as a facilitator, specializing in conflict resolution, racial and gender justice, and community building. She is a founding member of the Roots Project, Inc., an organization that leads trainings in social justice, building connections and healing communities.
Executive Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Miya has an extensive background in community organizing, campaign strategy, leadership development and training, organizational development, and fundraising, and a long history of working in the environmental justice movement. In her twenties she was the executive director of the largest student environmental network in the US, the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) and worked broadly in international environment and development networks organizing for environmental and economic justice. Miya was a participant in the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991, and was on the drafting committee of the original Principles of Environmental Justice, a defining document for the environmental justice movement. Miya first joined the APEN staff in the mid-90’s as a youth organizer, and has served as lead organizer, development director and spearheaded APEN’s strategic planning. APEN has been fighting – and winning – environmental justice struggles for the past 18 years and remains one of the most unique organizations in the country explicitly developing the leadership and power of low-income Asian American immigrant and refugee communities. APEN has been a trailblazer in bringing the voices of APA communities to the forefront of environmental health and social justice fights in the Bay Area, winning real policy solutions for the community across a gamut of issues including occupational safety of high-tech workers, affordable housing, transportation and land-use, and challenging multinational corporations to mitigate pollution that is devastating the health and well-being of countless low-income communities of color.
Executive Director, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice
Sharon E. Lewis is the Executive Director of the CT Coalition for Environmental Justice which promotes environmental justice through community advocacy and engagement. She was exposed to advocacy at an early age. Sharon worked for corporate America in the reinsurance and insurance industry for seventeen years where she traveled extensively, representing the insurance interests with regard to major catastrophes such as hurricanes, tornados and other natural disasters. It was her dealings with the Love Canal situation that gave rise to her feelings for the lack of environmental justice in low income and communities of color. Currently, she serves on the Board of the Rivers Alliance, as well as several environmental and health committees convened by the State of Connecticut.
Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network
Tom is Diné and Dakota and lives in Minnesota. Since the late 1980’s, Tom has been involved with environmental related issues and programs working within tribal governments in developing Indigenous-based environmental protection infrastructures. Tom works with Indigenous peoples worldwide. Tom is known as one of the environmental justice movement grassroots leaders in North America addressing toxics and health, mining, energy, climate, water, globalization, sustainable development and Indigenous rights issues. Tom is one of the founders of the Durban Group for Climate Justice; co-founder of Climate Justice NOW!; co-founder of the U.S. based Environmental Justice Climate Change Initiative and a member of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change that operates as the Indigenous caucus within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Tom is a policy adviser to Indigenous communities on environmental protection and more recently on climate policy focusing on mitigation, adaptation and concerns of false solutions.
Meet the CJA staff!
Angela can be contacted through Heather, executive assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Adrar has committed her life to advancing the role of the grassroots sector; she provides agile leadership and structure to address and adapt to the changing and complex priorities of local communities while influencing national and international agendas. She has served as a leading member organizations from the local to the international, including: La Via Campesina North America (LVC-NA), US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA), the Building Equity and Alignment for Impact (BEA), US Friends of Movement of Dam Affected Peoples (MAB) and others. She introduced and advocated for internal frameworks that enabled feedback loops for national/international decision-making and local representation as well as for gender and racial equity that embraces a diversity of contributions, while fostering trust and reciprocity for collective work. For the past 3 years, she served as the Weaver Co-Chair of the steering committee body of the BEI, where she coordinated the work of extraordinary grassroots leaders and developed authentic relationships with Green groups and philanthropic institutions to eliminate barriers and shift $10 million to the grassroots organizing sector.
Working with LVC-NA members such as the Farmworkers Association of Florida (FWAF), she helped to launched a campaign on People’s Agroecology in the US, as a Just Transition method of farming for farmworkers locked into the toxic industrial agricultural labor market. This work initiated in 2013, has sparked the development of regional agroecology encounters and formation processes around the U.S. that include grassroots farmworker organizations, international partners, and critical national coalitions and organizations within the food, agriculture and climate movement.
She is personally growing the movement with her two young kids and partner. She has a deep respect for Mother Earth and is an avid seedkeeper. She holds a Master’s Degree of Organizational Management and a BA in International Relations from San Francisco State University. With her strong communications and social media expertise, she consulted for 13 years with non-profit and government agencies providing strategy planning, financial forecasting, and communications. While serving as the Programs and Communications Director of the Rural Coalitions, she managed relations with a diverse board, staff, and membership in remote locations and brought the power of the grassroots to Capitol Hill.
Climate Justice Policy Coordinator
Cynthia represents CJA in Washington, keeping a watchful eye on climate and energy-related bills generated at Congress and around the country, while strategically working to promote CJA’s climate and environmental justice positions in policy circles and with a wider public. She is also coordinator of the CJA’s Energy Democracy working group, supporting CJA members in approaching the complex relationship between climate and energy and implementing solutions that work for their communities. Cynthia has been close to CJA since 2014, when she designed and coordinated CJA’s People’s Climate Justice Summit and Tribunal—a two day international forum held during the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, providing a strong international people’s voice during the UN world leaders meeting. Cynthia served for seven years as Environmental Justice Organizer for the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) in the East Ward of Newark, New Jersey, organizing with her neighbors to fight egregious pollution and developing campaigns and projects for lasting change. She holds an M.A. in Sociology of Law from the Instituto Internacional de Sociología Jurídica in Spain. Cynthia is active in promoting Latin American folkloric arts—drumming, singing, and dancing with several groups in the New York/New Jersey area.
Member Engagement Coordinator
Chloe Henson recruits, onboards, and supports CJA’s amazing member groups, help develop engagement strategies as well as logistic support for member events and Just Recovery work.
Chloe is formerly CJA’s digital organizer, graduated from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and is currently based in Seattle. She became involved in climate justice organizing during a one-year exchange to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she joined the fossil fuel divestment campaign. Chloe started working with CJA in the summer of 2015 as a Fossil Free Fellow and has since stayed on staff. Chloe enjoys hiking, cooking, and playing with her dog Hiro.
Special Projects and Logistics Coordinator
New York City, NY
Heather Thiry works on rapid response campaign and event coordination, provides support to the Executive Director, and helps with overall systems and data management for CJA. She worked for several years as administrative support for Building Equity and Alignment for Impact, and has a BFA in Acting and Psychology from NYU. Heather is also an actor and teaching artist, and has created her own work and performed regionally and in NYC.
Digital Media Coordinator
Hendrik is part of CJA’s communications team and coordinates the digital media work. Born in Germany, Hendrik started his political activism as part of the antifascist movement against the resurgence of nationalism and racist violence following the reunification of Germany in 1990. In order to avoid the military draft in his home country, he moved to the United States and started to work in the Latin America solidarity and Global Justice movements and became the National Organizer for School of the Americas Watch. Hendrik started to freelance with the Climate Justice Alliance during the It Takes Roots Ruckus Direct Action and Resiliency Camp in the summer of 2018. In February 2019, he joined CJA as a member of the staff.
Philanthropic Partnerships Director
Holly is the liaison between funders and the Climate Justice Alliance, with lead responsibility on elevating Just Transition solutions led by frontline communities, via proposals and reports to philanthropy. She supports CJA member groups’ relationship building with funders, and engages in dialogue and action with grassroots organizations, movement support networks, and philanthropy to shift resources to the grassroots organizing sector. Holly has 25+ years’ experience working for grassroots organizations and other non-profits. For 19 years, she worked as the Grants Coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida, and for 6+ years, provided program support to the farmworker-led agroecology and cooperative development work there. She has provided leadership within the Southern Region of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance; served on the Membership Committee of the Domestic Fair Trade Association; participated in collective leadership of La Via Campesina North America; served on the Board of Directors of the Southern Reparations Loan Fund; and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network.
Prior to her long service in farmworker communities, she worked for the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice and co-led the Walk for the Earth, from the Everglades to Tallahassee. She also worked in development for Enzian Theater, an independent arthouse cinema. Currently, she volunteers with an emerging Indigenous-led ecovillage, and has supported many Indigenous rights campaigns. A native Floridian, Holly has recently transitioned with her two children, Nick & Evie, and their dog, Ziggy, to Central Alabama.
Radical Operations Associate
Karina Gonzalez is a Purepecha woman raised in LA’s San Fernando Valley. She found her passion for environmental justice experiencing the first-hand effects of environmental racism in Los Angeles and her family’s hometown in Michoacan, Mexico. She studied Environmental Studies at the University of Arizona and Forestry at Northern Arizona University. Karina has worked for Greenpeace USA, Black Mesa Water Coalition, SustainUS, and Friends of the Earth. She was a recipient of the 2016 Brower Youth Award, the leading national environmental award for youth. Additionally, her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, PBS, and other news sources.
Marion is responsible for supporting the Executive Director in the the overall program, administrative, and operational management of CJA to successfully implement our Four Year Strategy and beyond. She previously was a fundraising, events, and communications consultant for social and environmental justice organizations including Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project, All One Ocean, Bay Area Black Worker Center, Black Organizing Project, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Thousand Currents, Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), The Honeybee Conservancy, and Global Gratitude Alliance. Prior to consulting, Marion was the Development & Communications Director at Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, an Oakland-based foundation, and spent four years at the Sierra Nevada Alliance, a conservation non-profit based in South Lake Tahoe, CA, where she worked her way up from AmeriCorps member educating Sierra residents about climate change to leading the Regional Climate Change Program as the Interim Program Director. She is originally from Irvine, CA and holds a Masters in Environmental History and Policy from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. In her spare time, she likes to travel, read, garden indoors, play with her nephew, and serve on the Thousand Currents’ Young Professionals Group Leadership Committee.
Southeast Region Just Transition Organizer
Monica Atkins is currently the Southeast Regional Just Transition Organizer for the Climate Justice Alliance. Atkins has organized social, cultural events and actions including Art, Poetry, and Justice Slam, Freedom Summer March, and March on Mississippi Workers March with artists and activists, such as Common and Danny Glover. Monica has worked for several labor organizations including United Auto Workers, American Federation of Teachers, and Communication Workers of America.
Monica is a Chicago native and graduate of Jackson State University where she completed a Bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis in Journalism. A poet, activist, and member of Cooperation Jackson in Jackson, MS, Monica’s passion for the arts has led her to organizing workers and communities through cultural organizing and base-building for the past 10+ years.
Senior Communications Advisor
Olivia is the Senior Communications Advisor for the Climate Justice Alliance. She became involved with the global climate justice movement while assisting in the organization of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia in 2010. For the past two decades she has worked in advocacy and communications to support progressive social movements and causes within the United States and abroad. Before joining CJA in 2018, she served as Director of Advocacy for the National Head Start Association. Prior to that, she led the Venezuela Information Office in Washington, D.C. and later served as an advisor to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for almost a decade.
Brooklyn, New York
Rae Breaux is a National Co-Coordinator for CJA, supporting the work of the Our Power Communities. Rae has over a decade of experience as an organizer, campaigner, trainer and movement photographer. Her focus has been on developing intersectional, cross-movement strategies around race, class, gender, and the systemic drivers of the climate crisis. Rae also has a strong background in creative direct action, ranging from technical actions to coordinating sustained mass mobilizations. She is also a movement photographer, using the power of images to create narratives and tell the stories of people and planet. Originally from Los Angeles, Rae now lives in Brooklyn NY with her toddler and partner. She loves gardening, being an Auntie, playing music, and sleeping outside.
Senowa is a campaigns associate at the Climate Justice Alliance. She is a racial, climate, and labor justice activist/organizer. She has worked closely with Black Lives Matter Vermont; the Vermont Workers’ Center (VWC); and her former labor union, United Electrical Workers. Through the VWC she participated in 3 different It Takes Roots delegations, from the COP 21 in Paris in 2015 to the Disrupt J20 Protests in Washington, DC in 2017. She has a degree in Natural Resources Planning from the University of Vermont, and a Masters’ Degree in International Sustainable Development from the University of Manchester in the UK. Senowa’s favorite color is purple, she likes to dance poorly to early 2000’s pop music and she currently resides in Baltimore, MD. If you have questions about CJA operations and/or events logistics, you can contact her at email@example.com or 401.209.7143.
Reinvest Project Director
Los Angeles, CA
yuki [AT] climatejusticealliance.org
Yuki Kidokoro is CJA’s Reinvest Project Director. After graduate studies in Urban Planning at UCLA, Yuki spent 15 years at Communities for a Better Environment as a Youth Organizer, Lead Organizer and Southern California Program Director. At CBE, Yuki developed the youth program and was active in many successful grassroots campaigns. Some of these victories include stopping two fossil fuel power plant projects in Southeast LA, delaying the expansion of the I-710 diesel truck corridor to allow for public process, and winning health protective policies at the city, regional and state levels. Yuki helped carry out CBE’s movement building work with the California EJ Alliance and with the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance at the state and national levels. Raised in Southern California, Yuki helped create a 45 unit affordable housing cooperative at the Los Angeles Eco-Village in Koreatown where she lives with her partner and 2 cats. She currently serves on the Board of the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust and is trained in conflict mediation and group facilitation. Yuki enjoys biking, gardening, board games and thinking about community governance structures.
Just Transition Project Steward
Los Angeles, CA
Guadalupe “Lupe” Romero Elicea is the Project Steward for CJA’s Just Transition Revolving Loan Fund & Incubator. Originally born in Mexico City and raised in Michoacan, Lupe migrated to the United States South-Bay Area at the age of 17.
Lupe became politically active after their enrollment in De Anza community college thanks to the group, Students for Justice. Additionally Lupe joined the Chincanx student organization, MEChA, where they were the Northern California National representative. These two groups led to opportunities to become involved with international solidarity movements, LGBTQ activism, immigrant rights struggles, and union organizing.
Lupe also has a background in Cooperativism as a Silk Screen printer. They were a worker-owner of Spectrum Apparel printing, and co-founder of its Political arm Printers United which dedicated to user silk screen printing for art, revolutionary propaganda and social movement support.
In their free time, Lupe enjoys spending time with their family, playing with their cat named Rascal, and listening to Metal in all its variations.