Community Engagement Model - Meet the Community Experts
Gustavo Aguirre Jr., Kern County, CA
Gustavo Aguirre Jr has been a environmental justice advocate and citizen science researcher for the last decade in California's Southern San Joaquin Valley Communities. Aguirre Jr is a CA native and has been involved in community organizing since childhood. Growing up in agricultural communities, he has always been influenced by the farm working struggle and has been fighting for justice since his early days boycotting and picket lining experiences with his parents.
Jasmine Elisa Beltran, South East Los Angeles, CA
Leonora Camner, Santa Monica, CA
Ambrose Carroll, Oakland, CA
Ambrose Carroll served on the National Environmental Justice Action Committee of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Alec Castellano, Modesto, CA
Alec Castellano is an Environmental Justice consultant that partners with educational institutions and environmental non-profits on projects that build sustainability in underinvested neighborhoods. Castellano is also a full-time High School teacher and videographer. Castellano is passionate about this work because he knows what it is like to live in an area that is highly impacted by pollution.
Carolina Correa, San Francisco, CA
Caro Correa is the Air Quality and Communications Coordinator at Brightline Defense in San Francisco. Through Correa's work in the Air Quality Collaborative—Bay Area, she provides air quality information and resources to the underserved communities in Oakland, San Francisco, and South San Francisco. Correa is originally from East Los Angeles, where she spent a great amount of her teen years canvassing her community for their needs about lead pollution and the pandemic, to connect them to free public health services. Correa is also a first-generation low-income Brown University alumni and is very passionate about community organizing toward equitable and healthy environments.
Lisa Flores, Fresno, CA
Lisa Flores brings professional transportation and environmental planning experience in CEQA and NEPA from her previous career with the California Department of Transportation. During her state tenure, she was responsible for public engagement compliance, administration of federal transportation grants, and participate public/intergovernmental review of planning documents. Recently, she performed community advocacy work as a former member of the AB 617 Community Steering Committee.
Currently, Flores is the organizer of the two longest running organized dog park play groups in Fresno. In her free time, she enjoys writing poetry, cooking for her neighbors, participating in fiber arts (i.e. quilting, custom designing knitwear) and attending local government meetings. Flores has a BA in Social Science, with one of the first Peace and Conflict Studies minors granted in the Cal-State system, she participated in the first London Semester, and was the Editor of the Chicano campus newspaper, La Vox de Aztlan.
Lisa Flores is a member of the Pascua-Yaqui tribe, a federal recognize tribe located in Arizona.
Richard Falcon, Sacramento, CA
Fifteen years in community organizing. Appointed to the Sacramento Police Review Commission (SCPRC), Chair of the UC Davis Staff Advisory Committee for Equity Diversity and Inclusion (SACEDI), President of the Artists of Color, active member of the Latinx Health Equity task force, active member of the Sacramento Latino Community Round Table, member of the City of Sacramento Task Force for Cultural Equity and the Arts, member of the Latinx Census subcommittee. Community partnership and collaboration with United Latinos, La Familia, Vida de Oro, Latino Center of Art & Culture. Owner of Teatro Nagual; a social justice theatre arts organization focusing on the core values of Cesar Chavez fostering service to others.
Lillian Garcia, Coachella Valley & Imperial Valley, CA
Lillian Garcia was born and raised in the Coachella Valley. She is an Environmental Justice Advocate from the Southern Border of Calexico, Imperial County to the Coachella Valley, Riverside County and has focused on the Salton Sea, New River, Alamo River, Water Quality, Air Quality and Pesticide exposure within our Region, and other injustices.
Catalina Gonzalez, Los Angeles County (Unincorporated East San Gabriel), CA
Catalina Gonzalez has experience leading community engagement, education, policy and advocacy efforts to empower communities in the San Gabriel Valley of California. She currently works as a researcher and policy analyst with the Center for Progressive Reform.
Elena Hernandez, Inglewood, CA
Elena Hernandez is a project manager and staff researcher at UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. She manages the evaluation of the Transformative Climate Communities grant. She has a dual masters in public health in environmental health science and masters in urban planning from UCLA.
Dr. Cassandra Little, Fresno, CA
Dr. Cassandra Little is the CEO of Fresno Metro Black Chamber Commerce and Chamber Foundation. Dr. Little is passionately committed to environmental equity, tirelessly advocating for policies and initiatives that ensure marginalized communities have equal access to clean air, water, and green spaces, and working to dismantle environmental injustices for a more sustainable and just future. With a background in environmental science and social activism, Dr. Little’s life’s work exemplifies a resolute dedication to bridging the gap between environmental sustainability and equitable access for all.
(Doreen) Anetha Lue, Indio, CA
D. Anetha Lue P.E. has worked for industry as an environmental and sustainability professional for many years. More recently she has launched Sustainable SoCal as an advisory service for community members and agencies, to help ensure environmental justice and create sustainable neighborhoods. She hails from Indio, California, where she serves as a Sustainability Commissioner for the city of Indio; and a Community Steering Committee member for CARB’s AB617 environmental justice program in Eastern Coachella Valley.
Emily McCague, Hanford-Visalia Area
Emily McCague has a background in Public Health Education and Promotion. In her role as Assistant Program Director of Emergency Services at Self-Help Enterprises, she develops and implements programs to assist San Joaquin Valley communities affected by climate-related emergencies including drought, groundwater contamination, wildfire, and flood.
Maria Ridoutt Orozco, Bakersfield, CA
Violeta Sandoval, San Francisco, CA
Violeta Sandoval is a professional in community health. She is passionate about teaching and does it in an interactive, enjoyable, and simple way. She promotes food justice, "Recycling" (making the most of food leftovers), stopping food waste at home, healthy eating habits, techniques, and skills in different areas of health and the environment to prevent chronic diseases.
Vanessa Suarez, Tulare, CA
Ciara Thrower, Corona, CA
Ciara Thrower is an engaged community member championing environmental justice work in the Inland Empire. She serves as the Advocacy and Outreach Associate at an environmental health non-profit, Breathe Southern California. Thrower is excited to work in collaboration with CARB to enhance community engagement at all levels of government.
Esperanza Vielma, Stockton, CA
Esperanza Vielma serves as the Executive Director of EJCW. Co-Founder of Cafe Co-Op and Coalition for Environmental Equity and Economics (CEEE). As an Environmental Justice community member along with our all EJ staff and board work exclusively to create equitable access to clean air, water and energy.
Heather Zappia, San Bernardino, CA
Heather Zappia is the Program Coordinator of Human Capital with Uplift San Bernardino at the Making Hope Happen Foundation were they are building a generation of successful adults committed to growing roots in San Bernardino. As a native of San Bernardino, she is excited and honored to give back to her community