Huntington Park, CA
Address: 6325 Pacific Blvd. Ste 300; Huntington Park, CA 90255
Telephone: 323 826 9771
Fax: 323 588 7079
Conference Room: ext 118
(In alphabetical order by first name)
Youth Organizer – x 102
Director of Research and Policy – x100
Bahram Fazeli is Director of Research and Policy for CBE. For the past 15 years at CBE, he has managed a number of research, policy, and planning projects and has worked closely with CBE community members, organizers and attorneys, providing technical assistance for various campaigns and projects. Bahram has served on many advisory groups including those at the US Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. He has also been guest speaker at various universities and schools and a panelist at numerous conferences. Working with CBE staff and academic partners from different disciplines on collaborative projects, Bahram has authored, coauthored, and contributed to reports, articles, and academic papers covering wide range of topics. He attended UCLA for his undergraduate and graduate training in Environmental Studies and Urban Planning. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, walking by the Pacific Ocean, and reading poetry.
Executive Director – x109
Over the last 20 years of community organizing, Byron Ramos Gudiel, has had the pleasure of struggling and working with activists and organizers throughout the country in service of racial, educational, environmental and economic justice. He has also worked to expand immigrant and worker rights in our communities.
While serving as Director of The Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ), Byron worked with staff, members and allies to improve the educational experience and environment of young people of color in Los Angeles and throughout California. Later, as the Director of Organizing at the Sierra Club, Byron led organizing efforts throughout the country to challenge the extraction, export and burning of fossil fuels, protect and create access to public lands, protect endangered species, and promote clean and renewable energy development. During his time at Sierra Club, he worked with members, staff, and allies to demand that people in low-income communities and communities of color have access to clean and renewable energy industry jobs and careers.
Southern California Program Director – x105
“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.”
Darryl Molina Sarmiento is the Southern California Program Director for CBE. Before she became Program Director, she spent six years as Youth Program Coordinator, and organized youth in the successful campaign to defeat plans to site a polluting power plant in the City of Vernon near downtown Los Angeles. Darryl has served on the board of several environmental justice and youth organizations: the California Fund for Youth Organizing; the Coordinating Council of the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (as Co-Chair for the Youth Leadership Development Campaign); and, for Southern Californians for Youth.
Darryl graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles, where she was a student organizer, with a degree in Asian American Studies, and Political Science and Urban Planning minors. She has been a labor organizer with AFSCME 3299, and has done community organizing work with the Pilipino Workers Center of Los Angeles.
Finance Associate – x 101
Staff Attorney – x117
Gladys Limón is a Staff Attorney at Communities for a Better Environment. Her work involves using integrated, high-impact advocacy strategies, including policy, litigation, and community-based campaigns, to protect the civil and human rights of communities bearing a disproportionate burden of environmental harms, and advocate for healthy, sustainable environmental practices.
Ms. Limón represents community members in all stages of litigation, and in administrative proceedings. Her work currently includes legal challenges to a major refinery’s project that plaintiffs allege will result in the transport of heavy, dirty tar sands crude by rail, as well as a proposal to build a fourth power plant on the City of Oxnard’s beaches. Ms. Limón’s policy work includes statewide efforts to reform the Department of Toxic Substances Control based on the discriminatory impacts of siting and enforcement practices on Latino communities, and developing local and state policies concerning oil refineries and extraction.
Gladys brings to CBE a wealth of complex litigation experience from her former civil rights work, which focused on impact and class-action suits. She previously worked at the civil rights firm Hadsell Stormer & Renick, LLP, and spent several years at MALDEF, where she challenged policies and practices unlawfully discriminating against Latinos and immigrants. As a recipient of the Fried Frank Fellowship, she spent two years as a litigation associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver, and Jacobsen LLP in New York before joining MALDEF. Prior to joining CBE, Gladys spent time working pro bono with EarthRights Int’l in Peru, researching legal strategies to challenge large-scale extraction operations in the Amazon.
Gladys received her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2003 and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Lawrence K. Karlton in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (2003-2005).
Senior Scientist – Cell: 510-658-2591
“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 May joined CBE staff in the late 1980s after years in the electronics industry. It was a perfect match for someone who wanted to use her engineering degree to do environmental work. She and her seven siblings grew up in the Detroit area with a strong sense of social justice and parents who had protested during the Depression and raised their kids as vegetarians—unheard of at the time. Julia is moved by CBE’s long-term continuity as a magnet for great people doing strategic environmental and justice work, science analysis, public interest law, and skilled grassroots organizing. She has worked with CBE and other nonprofits for over two decades.
Julia specializes in technical analysis and policy to clean up oil refineries, power plants, and other industrial pollution, and on expanding clean, alternative energy. She loves working with organizers, community members and youth identifying emissions, impacts and clean-up options. Julia also loves getting her hands dirty in the garden, and has very eclectic musical interests.
Grants Manager- cell: 415-572-7519
“All of my volunteer and professional experience led me in the direction of CBE. I feel honored to be part of such an amazing team at this particular moment in the growth of the EJ movement.”
Melissa has 20 years of experience in development with environmental justice, immigrant services, youth organizing, youth development, women’s health/environmental health, educational, and LGBT organizations in California. She served as Development Director for the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (LYRIC), for Youth Together, and for the English Center. Melissa joined CBE in January 2013.
Melissa also has extensive community experience, including volunteer work as an organizer in the SF Bay Area LGBTQ community. She is a graduate of the Multicultural Alliance, a 2-year professional development program of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She served on the Board of Directors for the Harvey Milk Institute and on the Organizing Committee for the first two Raising Change: A Social Justice Fundraising Conferences (now called Money for Our Movements). For over ten years, she coordinated Women in Development, a peer-advising network of LGBTQ women in the SF Bay Area. Tapping into skills gained when she was an educator in California and Japan, Melissa has trained many fundraisers through courses, workshops and presentations at the Harvey Milk Institute, Horizons Foundation, the Development Executives Roundtable, Fundraising Day and the Raising Change conference.
Youth Program Coordinator – x112
“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.”
Milton Hernandez Nimatuj is Maya-Cakchiquel, born in Guatemala and rooted in Southeast Los Angeles. He was 16 in 2000 when he became involved in environmental justice work with CBE’s youth program (Youth EJ) as part of the successful organizing effort to defeat the proposed power plant, Nueva Azalea, in South Gate, in southeast Los Angeles County. That campaign, along with involvement in conferences, workshops, actions and presentations, developed Milton’s sense of his own empowerment as an activist and organizer.
CBE/Youth EJ allowed Milton to grow as and interact with a variety of people and movements. He became active with Wise Up!, an immigrant youth group that helped pass AB540 (now a California state law), which allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public California colleges. Milton also helped establish Qteam, a queer and transgender youth of color collective that creates change through multi-issue organizing. As youth coordinator at the Southern California Library, he developed curriculum for high school students about south L.A. history, community issues and organizing efforts. Currently, Milton is CBE’s Youth Co-ordinator.
Community Organizer – x107
“I have made a personal commitment to work in and with my community to improve the conditions surrounding contaminated areas so that one day our future leaders (our children and their children) can raise their young in a safe and clean environment.”
Robert Cabrales is a community organizer for Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) in Southern California. Robert was born and raised in the unincorporated Florence District of L.A. County adjacent to South Los Angeles, growing up with poverty and environmental injustice in neighborhoods surrounded by factories and metal scrappers. The experience led Robert to join CBE’s “Youth for Environmental Justice” (Youth EJ). Prior to joining CBE staff in 2002 as the community organizer for South East Los Angeles (SELA), Robert played a key role in defeating the proposed 550 MW Power Plant in South Gate during the 2001 “energy crisis.” He continues to organize in the Southeast LA community, which saw him grow to a leader he is today.
Robert studied music at Pasadena Community College and he and his band Soul Conference play occasionally at such landmark occasions as CBE’s first Southern California Earth Day Celebration and the 10 year anniversary of CBE’s Youth EJ program.
URSELA Coordinator – x120
Development Associate – x113
“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 graduated from San Francisco State University with her BA in Political Science and a Minor in Women Gender Studies; she focused her education in the areas of nonprofit administration and social movements. While living in Oakland, she worked at Peace Action West with the Outreach Team and Membership Department. At CBE Sylvia works to increase the commitment of our members, build CBE’s relationship with our supporters, coordinates special events and develops a fundraising plan of action.
Before Sylvia transitioned into CBE she was organizing canvass and phone bank teams to mobilize voters to the voting booths with Goundworks Campaigns. She was able to talk to voters in her own neighborhood and hear the issues they were most concerned with. Sylvia decided to take a stand and lend her voice to her fellow Wilmington residents- she was elected as a board member on the Wilmington Neighborhood Council in 2012 and is part of the Land Use Planning and Gateway Beautification Committees. As a founding member of the revamp of United Wilmington Youth Foundation and a core organizer for the Wilmington based colectiva Mujeres Unidas, Sylvia organizes grassroots community events and develops grassroots fundraising strategies. When she has spare time she enjoys a nice hike exploring trails, riding her bike, and talking politics.
Financial Director – x110
Yadira was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, she came to California when she was 6 years old. She grew up in a the rural town of Graton, where she began to understand the impacts of social inequalities. For this reason, she began to work with the Graton Day Labor Center. This Center aimed to advance and protect the human, labor and civil rights of day laborers and their families. Yadira believes that every person should have access to basic human rights; and she believes that CBE embraces this belief as well.
Yadira has been an active member in South Central LA, where she currently resides. She has been involved in different capacities; as a board member of a local nonprofit, as a treasurer of her Neighborhood Council, or as a volunteer with special projects. Prior to joining CBE, Yadira was a Senior Finance Associate at Community Partners in Los Angeles. Yadira was also the Director of Administration at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. She graduated from UC Davis with a double major in Economics and International Relations, and she holds a Certificate in Accounting from UCLA Extension.
Address: 116 E Pacific Coast Highway. Ste 200; Wilmington, CA 90744
Telephone: 310 952 9097
Fax: 310 952 4924
Community Organizer – 310-952-9097
“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 fled the civil war in El Salvador in 1980. Trying to cross the border, she and her siblings were deported several times to Mexico and, after being mistreated by INS agents, they were deported back to El Salvador. After they finally made it to the US, Alicia became involved in educating Americans about the human rights abuses by the government of El Salvador and to end the US military aid. Despite her “illegal” status she debated the then INS director, and then US Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams. She appeared in numerous media outlets including 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace. She was co-founder and director of El Rescate, the first social and legal aid program for Central American refugees in Los Angeles.
Alicia transitioned into environmental organizing in the campaign to make Texaco accountable for their pollution in Wilmington CA and in the Ecuador rainforest. Her work at CBE since 1995 has included successfully organizing against “La Montana” as well as several other campaigns and opening the first CBE pilot office in Huntington Park. More recently, she was featured in a column by Steve Lopez of the LA Times as well as in its Spanish Hoy edition for her work on Prop 23. She currently works in the Clean Up Green Up campaign to address the cumulative impact of multiple sources of pollution in Wilmington, CA. Alicia got a BA in interdisciplinary studies from Cal State Dominguez Hills. She has three children.
Youth Organizer – 310-952-9097
Address: 1904 Franklin Street, Ste 600 Oakland, CA 94612
Telephone: 510 302 0430
Fax: 510 302 0437
Conference Room: ext 25
(In alphabetical order by first name)
Richmond Community Organizer – Cell: 510-282-5363
Andrés Soto is a Richmond, California raised advocate for social justice who for more than 30 years has engaged in struggles for civil rights, educational rights, immigrants rights and environmental justice. Andrés has also been on the front lines of the battles for gun control, youth violence prevention, elimination of police brutality and creating the Progressive Movement in Richmond, California. He is a founding member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. 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.”
Richmond office address:
1021 MacDonald Avenue, Richmond, CA 94801
Senior Scientist – x19
Greg has extensive environmental science and policy experience, and expertise in the fields of industrial investigation, pollution prevention engineering, energy system planning and exposure assessment. In his 30 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 including CBE reports and formal peer reviewed work. He serves as an expert for CBE and other community-based groups and nonprofits on pollution prevention and sustainable energy projects in the oil and electricity sectors. Greg is committed to community participation in environmental science.
Associate Director – x17
“CBE has been instrumental in my education and radicalization since growing up in South Gate. It was empowering for me to see my community plagued by poverty and pollution take on the corporations that saw me as expendable or my sister’s asthma as the cost of doing business.”
To be part of building our movement Jasmin traveled from LA to San Francisco, Washington DC. to Sydney, Australia to train mothers, doctors, and youth on community organizing, and movement building to build a people powered climate movement. As CBE continues to build relationships in Oakland and San Francisco her connection to the grassroots can guarantee an organizing model that builds on the diversity of tactics already employed by frontline communities around the world.
Before coming to CBE Jasmin was Lead Organizer for the LA Beyond Coal Campaign where she worked in coalition with Repower LA, So Cal Climate Action 350 and Food and Water Watch to take build clean energy solutions and stop the extraction economy.
East Oakland Community Organizer – x24
Born in Michoacán, Mexico, at age 11 Jose migrated to the United States to reunite with his family. His early bond with nature nurtured a strong commitment for environmental equity, leading him to acquire a degree in Environmental Science from UC Berkeley.
Jose trained and mobilized Oxnard, his hometown, to advance environmental awareness through CAUSE, a local organization. His efforts helped: establish public interest into restoring local wetlands, add a toxic waste site into the EPA’s superfund list, mobilize and educate community members to seize the construction of a power plant. He also organized communities to block a mining company from establishing liquefied natural gas tankers.
Jose’s leadership allowed him to organize Berkeley’s communities to open a charter school and to pass a comprehensive towing policy for unlicensed immigrants. During his tenure as a Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA) organizer he established leaders to address issues pertaining to: educational achievement gap, community safety, homelessness, housing, and immigrant integration.
As an organizer for CBE, Jose is invested in identifying and empowering leaders to build upon their leadership, expertise, and each other to reduce environmental impacts. His faith values prompt him into organizing while influencing policymaking to help communities reclaim respect and value.
Nehanda Imara is an Oakland, resident, dedicated activist, organizer, educator and adjunct teacher for African American and Environmental Studies at Merritt College. Nehanda created the first Environmental Racism/Justice course at the Peralta Community College District. Read more about Nehanda’s accomplishments in the Examiner.com article: “Nehanda Imara, Oakland’s mother of environmental justice.”
She is a member of the Board of Directors of Leadership Excellence, a non-profit African American youth organization in Oakland and member of the East Oakland Building Healthy Community initiative. Nehanda also serves as Co-coordinator of Merritt’s “Black Consciousness Raising Tours of Africa and the African Diaspora.
Nehanda has traveled to over 10 African countries as well as the Caribbean and Central America. As a freelance writer, she has contributed book reviews and written for the San Jose Metro, “Nkrumaist Review” (journal of Africa and Pan African topics) and various online media.
As an organizer for CBE, her outreach and recruitment work has built a strong core membership and broad support base of youth, students, residents and community partners in the Oakland area. She organized the first CBE ‘Love Yo Mama Earth Day’ in 2007 in collaboration with community partners in deep East Oakland, a community suffering deeply from the present global ecological crisis, bringing information and resources to youth and residents that typically lack access.
As an activist-educator, Nehanda’s philosophy is to “put activism” into everything. Whether leading youth/student groups to Ghana or working on communities gardens in East Oakland, Nehanda is inspired by these local and global exchanges.
Staff Attorney – x16
“Growing up in a rural and conservative town in England shaped my desire to fight for social justice. The law provides me with a means to do so; I am proud to be a part of the Environmental Justice movement and a member of CBE.”
Roger Lin is a Staff Attorney at Communities for a Better Environment. He provides legal advocacy to achieve environmental health and justice by preventing and reducing pollution and promoting green, healthy and sustainable communities and environments. He has previously worked with the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, the United States Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division, and most recently advocated for the rights of low-income and disabled residents of Alameda County at the Homeless Action Center. Roger graduated from Stanford University in 2001 and from Golden Gate University School of Law in 2006, with a Specialization in Public Interest/Environmental Law. When not in the office, Roger is usually playing soccer, boxing or hanging out with his family.
Legal Director – x18
“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. Fifteen years later, I still believe this is the way to bring about a just, sustainable world.”
Shana Lazerow is the Chief of Litigation at Communities for a Better Environment. She is committed to providing the legal assistance needed to bring about CBE’s vision of empowered communities and an environmentally just society. Shana brings the legal perspective to CBE’s campaign teams, develops and pursues lawsuits using federal and state environmental statutes, and coordinates the organization’s litigation docket. She also engages in regional and statewide policy issues including transition to clean energy.
Shana graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993, and from University of California, Los Angeles School of Law in 1997. Prior to joining CBE, she was the program director for San Francisco Baykeeper and a staff attorney at Waterkeepers Northern California, where she ran a small legal clinic to train public interest lawyers. In her dozen years of legal practice, Shana has also made brief forays into academia, and cherishes the prospect of helping the next generation of activists and lawyers develop strategies to bring about social change.