The hard fight for climate justice is not fought alone. We’re made up of a community of passionate activists, coming together from all walks of life.
Voices of a Movement is a new series created by The Office of Sustainability to share diverse and powerful voices with the world. Our mission is to provide strong eco-leaders a platform and to share their resources and initiatives with the Temple Community.
National Latinx Heritage Month was celebrated this September 15 – October 15. In honor of the movement, we wanted to recognize the incredible contributions Latinx people have made to the environmental justice movement here in the United States.
The struggle for climate justice owes so much to the work of our heroic Latinx changemakers.
Activist #1: Elizabeth Yeampierre
Elizabeth Yeampierre leads Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community based organisation – UPROSE. She is the first latina chair of EPA’s National Environmental Advisory Council and is a national leader on climate justice. She is an advocate for sustainable development, environmental justice and community led climate adaptation and community resiliency as an internationally recognized Puerto Rican attorney.
“I’m really grass roots, and community matters more than anything.”
“Justice doesn’t happen nine to five. You have to be there when the community needs it. This is not a job, this is a life.”
Learn more about Yeampierre’s early life, community engagement, and some of her biggest challenges in this article and interview from the Brooklyn Reporter. Take a look at her involvement and experience with UPROSE to see the passion and drive that guides her involvement with the climate fight.
Activist #2: Adrianna Quintero
Quintero is a leading voice in the front to diversify the environmental movement. She is Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Energy Foundation and is a nationally recognized expert on sustainability, equity and diversity.
Her career began as an attorney litigating cases on pesticides, toxics, drinking water and air quality at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). In 2007, Quintero founded and served as Executive Director of Voces Verdes, an organization calling for action on clean energy and climate.
“Any chance I get, I talk to anybody and everybody about how important it is and take action to tell my leaders how I feel and how important this is for me and for my family.”
Her activist works on delivering justice to the Latinx community and all people disproportionately affected by climate change. Learn more about this work from her biography with the Energy Foundation.
More Resources for Quintero
Activist #3: Lydia Avila
Lydia Avila is a first gen Mexican-American and her journey for climate justice began when she was a university student herself! She attended UCLA where she was an activist with student-initiated and run social justice & service organizations. She went on to work as Executive Director of Power Shift Network which mobilizes youths to advocate for a clean energy future.
Avila then spent three years working with the Sierra Club, leading two major “Beyond Coal” campaigns. The initiative focused on replacing coal with clean energy and organized grassroots activists to advocate for the removal of all US coal plants with the goal of restoring coal mining communities.
Avila is now Program Officer for the Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund where she helps develop and execute even more grassroots campaigns. She encourages marginalized voices to be heard within the climate movement, fighting structural inequities along the way.
“Young people are all about creating a healthy economy, healthy communities, and justice. When done correctly, 100% renewable energy gets us there. We can create jobs, reduce asthma rates and bring economic justice to communities who have suffered at the hands of the fossil fuel industry for decades.”
These incredible Latinx women are fighting to create a greener, more just future, with so many more working alongside them. Their passion and dedication to the movement was truly inspiring to explore throughout the month.
This is important to continue. Let’s show support for our Latinx and indigenous climate advocates not only from the month of September 15th through October 15th, but educate ourselves and celebrate them every single day of every month.
Voices of a Movement is our newest ongoing series educating students and community members about some of our leader climate leaders. Next up, as we prepare for the upcoming election, we will be starting our next mini series focused on Student Activists and their work towards voting climate!
Take a look at Temple Votes, a program committed to providing comprehensive voter registration, education, and mobilization efforts at Temple University. It is a non-partisan initiative led by a committee of students, faculty, administrators, and voter education organizations.
Hey Eco Owl! Remain informed and stay connected:
Join our OwlConnect to remain informed and updated on all upcoming events with the Sustainability community at Temple. Check out our new EcoReps program while you’re there to gain hands on experience with greening our campus!
Take a look at our other new series, Stories of Sustainability.
Follow along with us on our socials to stay engaged and view our next Voices of a Movement: Student Activists series!