Huntington Park, CA
Address: 6325 Pacific Blvd. Ste 300; Huntington Park, CA 90255
Telephone: (323) 826-9771
Fax Line: (323) 588-7079
Conference Room: ext. 118
(In alphabetical order by first name)
Director of Research and Policy – ext. 100
For the past 18 years at CBE, Bahram has managed a number of research, policy, and planning projects and has worked closely with CBE community members, organizers and attorneys to provide technical assistance for various campaigns. Bahram has served on different advisory groups including those at the US EPA and various California regulatory agencies, and he has been recognized for his contributions to environmental health and justice policies including an award from the American Planning Association for his work on the precedent-setting Clean Up Green Up Ordinance in the City of Los Angeles. Working with CBE staff, members and academic partners on collaborative and participatory action research projects, Bahram has authored, coauthored, and contributed to reports, articles, and academic papers covering diverse topics in environmental policy. He attended UCLA for his undergraduate and graduate training in Environmental Studies and Urban Planning. In his free time, he coaches soccer, bikes, walks, cooks, reads poetry, and spends time with family and friends.
Executive Director – ext. 105
“As a daughter of Pilipino immigrants, I saw my parents were afraid to teach their children their own dialect. As I learned my history, I understood the struggles in the Philippines and in the US as rooted in the same oppressive system that puts humanity in ecological crisis. We must work for the survival of the future of the earth and our people.”
Now, in her 12th year with CBE, Darryl embodies CBE’s leadership ladder, having first encountered CBE at the age of 18, when she took one of our Toxic Tours. Later, in 2005, she formally joined CBE as Southern California’s Youth Program Coordinator. 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 against toxic polluters such as Exide Technologies. 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 with a B.A. in Asian American Studies. After graduating, she worked for the AFL-CIO Labor Union and Pilipino Workers Center of Los Angeles. She previously served on the board of The California Fund for Youth Organizing.
Youth Program Coordinator – ext. 107
A queer feminist from Southeast LA, Dilia’s passion for environmental justice sprouts from witnessing her family work various jobs in the city of Vernon and growing up adjacent to the industrial part of Walnut Park. Prior to CBE, Dilia organized with Bienestar Human Services and CSULB’s Center for Latino Community Health, fighting for health equity and queer and gender justice. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Literature and History with a concentration in Latin@ Studies from Williams College. Dilia is a proud gemini-cancer cusp.
Grassroots Fundraising Organizer – ext. 112
Dinah graduated from UCLA, studied anthropology and labor and workplace studies, and it was here that her roots as an organizer began to take form. Her belief in social justice and the right to a dignified life for all people led her to continue her work as an organizer. Before joining CBE, her work was primarily focused in the Labor Movement, where she had the opportunity to work with various institutions and organizations like the UCLA Labor Center, the CLEAN Carwash Campaign, the Garment Worker Center, and SEIU-United Service Workers West. What she loves about organizing is the amazing power that people have to transform their lives and their communities through collective action.
Communications Associate – ext. 109
Gissela was a child when CBE’s campaign against La Montaña in South East Los Angeles first began. Her mother, Mercedes, worked as a Community Outreach Worker for CBE at the time. Gissela grew up seeing what the power of community could accomplish. She was part of CBE’S Youth Action Club at Huntington Park High School during her junior and senior year. During her time with Youth Action, Gissela participated in the efforts to stop the construction of a Power Plant that was proposed in the neighboring city of Vernon, CA. This was eventually a victory for CBE. In December of 2016, she completed her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Queer Studies. Gissela was president of the Sociology Student Association at Cal State Long Beach for two years. She was also an intern for the Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization and took part in work around comprehensive immigration reform. She has a strong passion for social and environmental justice issues and is excited to be part of the CBE community again.
Director of Finance & Operations – ext. 110
Senior Staff Attorney
Jennifer Ganata joined Communities for a Better Environment in September 2018. Previously she worked at Communities for a Better Environment from 2007 to 2012 as a youth organizer and a legal fellow. She transitioned from doing environmental justice work to housing by starting her housing career at Eviction Defense Network. Before returning to CBE, Jennifer was a senior staff attorney at Inner City Law Center where she did eviction defense and land use.
Jennifer has a deep interest in connecting her passion for environmental justice and housing in order to defend frontline communities’ right to housing and a better environment. She believes that organizing is key to helping move our communities away from investing in an extractive economy.
Jennifer has a BA in Ethnic Studies and a minor in Urban Studies and Planning from University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Jennifer received a JD from City University of New York (CUNY), where she was trained through the Adult Defender Clinical program and an LL.M from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a focus on Critical Race Studies. She is a member of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles.
“My parents taught us we must pay attention to our world and financial system–that we should work for justice for everybody and a healthy environment. My dad was an engineer who encouraged me in science. My mom was a feisty woman who believed women, regular folks can change the world.”
Julia has a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. In her 25+ years at CBE, she has evaluated and advised about industrial pollution sources, industrial chemical phaseout opportunities, and Best Available Control Technical options. Julia evaluates technical reports and publications, turning this information into more accessible material for the community.
Associate Attorney – ext. 117
As a CBE attorney, Katherine is proud to work with the Wilmington Team to fight for healthy communities. She focuses her legal work on environmental issues in the oil and gas industry, as well as a range of other air and water pollution issues. With a background of 5 years as a community organizer, Katherine strongly believes in the fundamental, critical importance of building people power through organizing, ensuring that communities of color and low income communities have a powerful voice. Katherine holds a B.A. from Haverford College and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law, where she was a member of the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. After graduating in 2014, she worked in public interest law for four years before joining CBE in 2018.
Youth Organizer – ext. 102
Born and raised in Lynwood near the Compton Fashion Center, throughout her youth Kayleigh witnessed the ways environmental racism impacts the Black and Brown community. Her passion for environmental justice stems from her own trajectory of living less than a mile from both the 105 and 710 freeways, and from growing up in a food desert. Her passion intersects with food justice, and she hopes to implement that intersection into her own work. She transferred to UCLA from Santa Monica College and now holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chicanx/a/o Studies and LGBT Studies. She organized in efforts to prevent privatization of General Ed classes at Santa Monica College, and organized with fellow QTIAPOC students at UCLA.
Southern California Program Director – ext. 112
“Youth for Environmental Justice gave me the tools and space to challenge and create in my own community, but most importantly, it proved to me that ‘Youth are the leaders of today not just tomorrow.’ I am excited to have the opportunity to work as the Youth Organizer in Wilmington because I strive to offer a similar if not better space than the one that welcomed me 12 years ago.”
Queer Cakchiquel born in Guatemala and raised in Southeast Los Angeles, Milton was 16 years old when he became involved in environmental justice work with CBE’s youth program (Youth EJ), organizing to defeat the proposed power plant, Nueva Azalea, in South Gate. He was active in helping pass AB540, now a California state law, which allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public California colleges. Milton was selected for this position after serving six years as CBE’s Youth Program Coordinator.
Sam Sunshine is an educator who has worked in community health for over 15 years. She joined CBE in 2018 as a Grants Manager, with the hopes that our vision for environmental and social justice remains funded and sustainable. Sam is excited about being a bomb mom and a lifelong student, building fierce loving community, abolishing the PIC, learning pre- and post-apocalyptic skill sets, and studying western bio politics so that she can help to dismantle its colonial occupation of our bodies.
Development Director – ext. 115
Stephanie has worked for over 20 years with under-represented communities as an organizer, community planner, coalition builder and policy advocate, mostly in the realm of community development, affordable housing and environmental justice. She launched her community activism as a volunteer organizer deeply involved with residents who secured a major policy win when the City of Los Angeles provided seed funding for a new non-profit to build parks in park-poor neighborhoods. For the past 10 years, she has worked exclusively in coalitions. Most of this work was as staff and then director of the Green LA Coalition, formed to advance a progressive environmental policy agenda for Los Angeles. She earned a Masters degree in City Planning from Boston University and a B.A. in Economics from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. She is growing her family through fostering and adoption and is a parent of two boys.
Civic Engagement Coordinator – ext. 113
“My name means “of the forest” when I learned this- it was as if I became complete. My love for the outdoors and nature came full circle. I made a promise to do what I can do to protect Mother Earth.”
Sylvia brings deep community connection to her role at CBE, as she was raised and currently resides in Wilmington and served as CBE’s Development Associate for 3 years. Before joining CBE, Sylvia was a fundraiser at Peace Action West. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from San Francisco State University. She has worked on several electoral campaigns and is a member of the Wilmington Neighborhood Council.
South East LA Communty Organizer
My name is Xugo Lujan Jr. I am a two spirit/queer organizer born and raised in East LA. My dedication to environmental justice stems from my own familys’ forced migration story due to localized NAFTA impacts in Torreon Coahuila which subsequently destroyed mi familias home to make way for an expanding US supplying textile company. With my family now in East LA and throughout South East LA, I wish to honor my family’s struggle by fighting against environmentally racist projects impacting our collective health and well being.
My experience organizing began in my highschool years with the 2006 Immigrant Rights East LA Walkouts and fighting for implementation of k-12 LGBTQIA Curriculum with Gay Straight Alliance. In my four years at UC Santa Cruz, I organized in support of campus worker rights as well as student of color access and retention within higher education. I will be starting a MPH Program with Cal State LA which I hope will provide additional tools in our movement.
As an organizer, I always strive to create community led spaces centered in solidarity and elevation of collective knowledge, voice, and survival practices as tools for building community power. I believe that love is the foundation of any social justice movement and I strive to always ground my efforts in building longstanding and deep relationships honoring our-stories of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Beyond fighting industries or racist policies, community organizing is a healing tool in remembering our individual and collective power.
Address: 113 E. Anaheim Street, Wilmington, CA 90744
Telephone: (323) 826-9771
Fax Line: (310) 952-4924
(In alphabetical order by first name)
Wilmington Community Organizer – ext. 106
“To help people evolve from being passive and inactive into concerned individuals who feel the responsibility to participate in the fight for environmental justice rewards my spirit, and it helps me to continue the long and hard struggle to fight for our planet.”
Alicia was the lead organizer in CBE’s campaign against La Montaña, a gigantic pile of cement rubble from the 1994 Northridge earthquake that was stored on an empty lot in residential Southeast LA County for 20 years, where it sickened neighbors with air pollution including cement dust. Alicia previously worked as an organizer at the LA Alliance for a New Economy, leading their Adams/La Brea Accountable Re-Development campaign and building support in Wilmington, CA for their Port truck drivers’ campaign. Alicia has a strong passion and commitment for environmental and economic justice issues.
Wilmington Youth Organizer – ext. 108
Raised in Wilmington, Ashley first became involved with CBE during her junior year of high school. As a member of CBE’s youth program (Youth EJ), she worked on the Clean Up Green Up campaign. She was then selected to be a CBE Youth EJ organizing intern. Ashley is very passionate about Clean Up Green Up because it is the first program of its kind in Los Angeles.
Climate Adaptation Resiliency Enhancement (CARE) Coordinator – ext. 103
Laura began at CBE as Richmond Youth Organizer and developed the Richmond branch of CBE’s Youth EJ Program, where our youth members are fighting environmental injustices and moving towards a Just Transition. Laura brings deep organizing experience to her new role as the CARE Coordinator. She graduated from the University of California- Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Art. Some of her previous experience includes volunteering and canvassing for Planned Parenthood, mentoring and tutoring young immigrants in Watsonville, CA, improving transportation for students and workers at UCSC, and coordinating a social media campaign with Physicians for Social Responsibility that highlights the health impacts caused by climate change. Laura also serves on the Richmond Progressive Alliance’s Steering Committee, where she focuses on youth engagement and environmental justice.
Telephone: (510) 302-0430
Fax Line: (510) 302-0437
(In alphabetical order by first name)
East Oakland Organizer – ext. 21
“Before CBE, I used to think that environmental justice was just for tree huggers. After taking a toxic tour in my East Oakland community, I quickly realized that a fight for the environment was a fight for people. Fighting for mother Earth was also a fight for her most vulnerable children- poor black, brown and indigenous communities of color”.
Angela is a Bay Area and frontline community native. Before joining CBE, Angela was a community correspondent with Oakland Voices, a community journalism project with The Oakland Tribune where she wrote about issues in East Oakland from the perspective of a community member. Angela first became active within the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014, where she began to realize the power of people who are united for a purpose. She has since transitioned to environmental justice because she feels it not only encompasses the fight for black communities and black equity but it advocates for other oppressed people and our collective home.
Northern California Program Director – ext. 10
Ernesto began his time at CBE as an East Oakland member, then joined the staff as CBE’s Climate Adaptation Resiliency Enhancement (CARE) Coordinator in April 2016, and was recently selected for his current position. After graduating from UC Davis in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, he wanted to use what he had learned to help improve his community. Because of his experience with organizing as a member then staff member of CBE and his education, Ernesto is able to serve versatile roles, shifting from community organizing and communications to research and institutional organizing. He is committed to ensuring that the community’s voice is heard and that the planning process is more accessible to residents. One of his final projects as a CBE member was creating a curriculum for community visioning of the development of the Coliseum Specific Plan area.
East Oakland Community Organizer – ext. 24
“When we walk like (we are rushing), we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
Esther is an Oakland native, a parent of three, and a health and justice advocate who says it’s time for positive change in her city! She is a Licensed Pharmacy Technician with an A.S. degree in Pharmacy Technology. Once injured from work and aware of the issues connecting the health of people and the environment, she began volunteering with local organizations in her neighborhood. After taking a CBE Toxic Tour 6 years ago, Esther became a CBE member and learned to educate and organize her community. She joined the staff in 2016 as CBE’s East Oakland Community Organizer. Esther has served on boards and partnered with other organizations including the HOPE Collaborative, Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm project, and many other coalitions to improve the health and living of East Oakland residents. We must,“Stop Pollution and Just Transition” for real change. Thich Nhat Hanh is one of her favorite inspirations and one of Esther’s many favorite quotes would be, “My actions are my only true belongings” -TNH
Legal Director – ext. 18
“I went to law school because I knew the system was broken. It was there that I first met community members fighting for environmental justice in Southeast LA, working to move a toxic waste transfer facility, working to move La Montana, working to make a livable world. I immediately saw that community empowerment was the way to bring about change, and that environmental laws could play a crucial role. More than two decades later, I still believe this is the way to bring about a just, sustainable world.”
Shana has worked as a public interest lawyer and advocate since 1999. Her focus has been on enforcing environmental laws and advocating before administrative agencies to secure meaningful environmental protection statewide. Shana holds an A.B. from University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law. In addition to her advocacy, Shana has taught at Stanford Law School.
Tyler is a new attorney who pursued a career in law in order to fight for a more just world for all. His past work on wetland habitat conservation in the Imperial Valley inspired his passion for environmental justice as he saw the stark difference between a protected environment and the disastrous consequences of pollution on already over-burdened communities of color. In law school, he furthered his study of environmental law by interning with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental Enforcement Section and the California Public Utilities Commission and helped severely disadvantaged clients through internships at the Working Peoples’ Law Center and USC’s Post-Conviction Justice Project. He also volunteered with the Los Angeles chapter of the National Lawyers Guild to protect the First Amendment rights of demonstrators as a legal observer. He graduated with a B.A. in History and Political Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and earned a J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
Address: 120 Broadway, Suite 2 | Richmond, CA 94804
Telephone: (510) 302-0430
Fax Line: (510) 302-0437
Conference Room: ext. 20
(In alphabetical order by first name)
Richmond Community Organizer – ext. 15
Andrés is a lifelong resident of the Richmond area and has spent his adult life as an advocate for progressive change on the local, state and national levels. He is a seasoned organizer and a co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. He also sits on the boards of several non-profits, and he is currently a Planning Commissioner in the City of Richmond.
Andrés is also a working musician in the Bay Area and has played his Saxophones around the world. Andrés is also a proud father of two sons and is enjoying grandfatherhood with his four grandchildren.”
Staff Researcher– ext. 17
Dan Sakaguchi has been a longtime admirer of CBE and is gracious to have recently been brought on board. Although still new with CBE, he is excited to learn and grow as an ally in the environmental and social justice movements. In the past, Dan has provided technical support with organizations advocating for local energy efficiency policy, affordable housing for workers, and transportation equity in the Bay Area. Dan holds a B.S. in physics and an M.S. in Earth Systems, with a focus on environmental policy.
Human Resources Manager – ext. 25
Emily brought to CBE a decade of experience in finance-related positions in healthcare reform and reproductive rights nonprofits in Portland, Oregon, where she grew up and graduated from Lewis & Clark College. She has been involved with Portland LGBTQ and community arts organizations in a volunteer capacity.
Senior Scientist – ext. 19
Greg has expertise in the fields of industrial investigation, pollution prevention engineering, energy system planning, and exposure assessment. In his 25+ years with CBE, he has led research in campaigns on water quality, air quality and food chain contamination; participated in pollution prevention audits of more than 100 industrial facilities; and authored or co-authored 20 major scientific publications.
Richmond Youth Organizer – ext. 14
Zolboo Namkhaidorj is an environmental justice organizer who first got involved with Communities for a Better Environment in 2017 as an active member at the East Oakland office. She immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 8 from Mongolia and grew up in the Bay Area. She has three years of experience engaging in grassroots advocacy at a national environmental nonprofit, where she realized her passion for environmentalism and drive to make a change in the world. Zolboo is passionate about empowering youth of color to realize their power and potential, and is excited to combine that with her love for environmental justice.