Marina Pando Social Justice Collaborative: 5th Year Cohort
We are grateful for the contributions of community and other efforts to ensure we have another year of Marina Pando Social Justice Research Collaborative. This year we are happy to onboard research assistants to support in the efforts of this years co horts. From health clusters in Southeast LA, Housing disparities, and oil and gas effects in Long Beach, our researchers are excited to present their work.
Floridalma Boj-Lopez, Phd
Floridalma Boj Lopez has been a member of East Yard for five years. She has also received her PhD from USC and her individual research focuses on the Mayan community in Los Angeles. Her experience as a scholar and community member led her to develop the Marina Pando Social Justice Research Collaborative with a specific emphasis on growing the ability of community organizations to conduct research that supports their campaigns and movements.
Estephanie Garcia is a first-gen Mexican-American that was born and raised in Bell Gardens, CA. She became passionate about EY’s work when she joined Youth In Action! during high school. Throughout her membership, she felt both furious and empowered when EY taught her about the the systematic obstacles that plagued her community sparked her interest in social justice. Currently, Estephanie is a Sophomore attending USC where she is majoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She also plans to add a major in order to pursue law after college. During her free time, Estephanie enjoys reading and painting at local parks.
Cristhian Tapia is a Long Beach resident and first generation student at UCI. As a Political Science major, he plans to bring back the knowledge he gains to his community organizing work. Having been a part of the EJ movement since high school, he hopes to create a space at UCI where he can continue his activism while away from his community.
Diego Mayen was born and raised in Long Beach and is now a resident of Carson. He is currently a second year at Long Beach city college not really knowing what kind of degree and career route he wants to take. Diego has been involved with EYCEJ since 2015 starting with organizing youth and now being part of planing committees and being an east yard representative in The Moving Forward Network. He enjoys playing badminton and spending time with loved ones.
Hello! My name is Vicente Ceja, I am a proud resident of Boyle Heights and a recent graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelors degree in Geography and Geographic Information Systems and Technology. I am currently an active member of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice. My passions include working with demographic and statistical data in order to create analytical models via ArcGIS, particularly focusing on both large and small urban/rural areas facing problems such as public health, social injustice, and public policy. On my free time, I love to cook, go to the gym and produce music!
Ana Aldaco was born and raised in the City of Bell. She started at Cerritos Community College where she earned her AA in Geography. Later, transferred to UC Santa Barbara and earned her BA in Geography in March, 2019. While being at UC Santa Barbara, she was head of the planning committee for the geography club and organized events for her campus community, which developed her interested in community organizing. She was also part of the Peer Mentor Program at UC Santa Barbara where she was a mentor to help transfer students adjust to a four-year institution and served as a critical advising and support role for students. She always had an appreciation for the environment since she was younger and started to escalate as she got older when she took her first geography course at Cerritos. While attending UC Santa Barbara, she had access to better air quality, smelled clean air, the freeways and railroads were more than a mile away, and lived nowhere near an industrial site. This made her perspective on her community, completely change, and realize she wanted to have a voice to represent low-income communities to fight for environmental justice. She is now a researcher for the Marina Pando Social Justice Research Collaborative, focusing on housing instability in the Southeast Los Angeles region. Within the year of being a member at EYCEJ, Ana has showed leadership in her community, dedication, and passion in environmental justice work, and wishes to one day pursue a career where she gets to work with low-income communities of color for environmental justice.
Fernando Rios has been a resident of Bell Gardens for 16 years. He was born in Hidalgo, Mexico and was brought to the U.S. at the age of 3. Fernando is currently a student at UC Santa Barbara and just finished his first year. He is majoring in Physics with the chance of a double major in Mathematics. He chose to study physics to understand how the physical world works and all the laws we follow every day, but don’t know it. As a kid he would like to learn new things and would go online and look up questions that interested him such as how does the sun give light, what is light, why don’t the planets fall into the sun? In his spare time, he still likes to learn new things that interest him. Right now, he is getting back into coding after a year of not being able to code because of college. After college, Fernando hopes to enter a Ph.D. program that would allow him to work for companies such as SpaceX and JPL. His biggest dream is having a technology company of his own.
Omaris “mars” Sadhan
Omari “Mars” Sadhan is an EYCEJ member, recent graduate from Cabrillo High School, and prospective music major at CSU San Bernardino. Omari began work with EYCEJ in September of 2018 after learning about the organization through fellow member Melissa and has been an active youth member since. Omari’s goal is to help create a world that’s healthy and safe enough to support his own future children and the next generation of heroes.
Shayla is an incoming freshmen at the University of Southern New Hampshire. She has been a member for East Yard for about two and a half years. She plans to pursue her BA in Psychology, Mental Health. She became a member of EYCEJ because she has a passion for the environment and wants to make a difference.
Andrew Valencia is starting his senior year of high school at James A. Garfield High School. He was introduced to East Yard through the Youth in Action club at his school during his junior year and has been going to meetings about his community ever since. He hopes to change the way his community is being affected and make it a healthier place to live in.
Raul Leon is a Freshman in College, he is attending Cerritos College majoring in Environmental Science. He is planning on transferring to UCLA and then attending Law School for Environmental Law. He has been part of EYCEJ for 2 years and has participated in multiple projects such as ROAR and LA river project. He is excited to help make our community a breathable place.