East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice info@eycej.org 323.263.2113

7th Annual Fighting For Life Celebration

7th Annual Fighting For Life Celebration

After much dialogue and transparency with our members we have the exciting announcement that we will be having a Virtual Celebration in honor of these community leaders. Belen Vargas has championed our inclusion in difficult conversations when many had excluded us and our advocacy. Glen Dake has been a proud supporter and partner on projects like the Sleepy Lagoon design. Susanne Browne has advocated with and for us in our work in Long Beach, our work in housing, and uplifted marginalized communities using her legal expertise.

Location: Virtual Celebration
Time: Reception and Awards 6pm to 8pm
VIP: 8pm to 9pm Reception with special guest
Date: August 27th, 2020

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If you want more information on sponsorship and ad opportunities contact Alessandro Negrete anegrete@eycej.org or (323)825-1165

Purchase tickets here

Our Honorees

Belen Vargas is Associate Vice President for Operations and Chief Mission Officer at Cal State LA, her alma mater.  In this role, Belen leads and manages community partnerships and initiatives that fall within the President’s Office.  Prior to joining Cal State LA, Belen was with the Weingart Foundation for almost twenty years.  She was hired as the Foundation’s first program associate and quickly rose through the ranks of management and leadership.  In 2017, she assumed the role of senior vice president, where she oversaw the strategic development, implementation, and assessment of the foundation’s programs, strategic partnerships and initiatives aimed at advancing equity and justice in Southern California.   Prior to joining the foundation in 2000, Belen worked in the Los Angeles nonprofit sector focusing on a range of issues aimed at providing greater resources and access to individuals and communities that have been historically underrepresented and underserved. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Cal State LA and holds a juris doctor degree from the USC Gould School of Law. Vargas serves on the Southern California Grantmaker’s Board and the New Village Girls Academy Board of Directors.

Glen Dake is a landscape architect at DakeLuna Consultants and leader in building Southern California community-designed landscapes.  His design work includes the Keck Ocean Atmosphere Science Center at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a number of stormwater collection facilities in the San Fernando Valley parks and a commemoration for the historic Sleepy Lagoon.  He helped to found the LA Community Garden Council in 1998, and he led a team to acquire land for and build a series of community gardens in Echo Park, East Hollywood, East LA, Vermont Square and Watts. 

Between 2001 and 2005 he served on then-Los Angeles Council Member Eric Garcetti’s staff to lead his work for the City of LA’s Proposition O, for the Renewable Portfolio Standard, and developed thirteen new parks.  He completed a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture 1987 from Cornell University, Ithaca NY.  He serves on the boards of the California League of Conservation Voters, the Miguel Contreras Foundation and the LA Community Garden Council. Between 2014 and 2019 he served on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and chaired the Finance and Insurance Committee. 

Susanne Browne is a Senior Attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA).  Susanne has worked at LAFLA for nearly 25 years. Susanne’s community lawyer practice at LAFLA is focused on equitable development, preserving and increasing the supply of affordable housing, tenants’ rights, community economic development, environmental justice and language access.  Susanne has dedicated the bulk of her career to working with community organizing groups to fight for justice for disadvantaged communities and help build community power.  

Susanne received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1991 and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Southern California’s Law School in 1995.  Upon graduation from law school, Susanne clerked for the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  After her judicial clerkship, Susanne completed a Public Interest Fellowship at Hall & Associates where she worked on environmental justice, affordable housing and consumer litigation.  Susanne joined LAFLA’s Long Beach Office in 1997.