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

Board of Directors

At the heart of our organization is the Board of Directors, made up of members from the local communities of East Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, and Long Beach. The Board of Directors is not just the face of the organization; they also identify local issues, guide the direction and help to meet the mission and vision of the organization.

EYCEJ Board of Directors

Yesenia Fernandez– President

Yesenia Fernandez was born in East Los Angeles and raised by a community of hardworking people–her single mother in Rosemead, her mother’s family in the City of Commerce, and her father’s family in East Los Angeles and Michoacan, Mexico. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Cal State Dominguez Hills. She previously served as an urban school district leader in Lynwood where she evaluated principals and developed systems to improve equity and access to higher education. In addition, she spent fifteen years at Bell Gardens High School as an English teacher, administrator, and student advocate. She was a first-generation college student and earned a Bachelor’s in English, a Masters in Educational Leadership from Cal State Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Education at Claremont Graduate University. She studies how systemic racism in the public school system perpetuates segregation and precludes students of color from higher education. She is dedicated to working with school leaders and policymakers to ensure equity and justice in urban schools and our communities. She has been a member of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ) since 2007 after her students, who became involved with EYCEJ, inspired her to learn about the environmental racism with which our community is forced to live. She continues to be an EYCEJ member as it is focused on protecting and healing our communities. She can be reached at:  yfernandez@csudh.edu

Javier Garay– Secretary

Javier Garay was born and raised in Bell Gardens. Beginning his activism during his junior year of high school as a youth member, Javier began developing knowledge of the organization and work through dedicated volunteering. Javier’s work with the organization has assisted in identifying his passion for clean air, quality of life, and community. Outside of the organization, he is currently a student at the University of California, Irvine studying for a B.A. in Environmental Engineering. He enjoys coffee, joking around, and having fun experiences.

Suzette Aguirre -Suzette was raised in Huntington Park. Growing up with asthma next to the industrious city of Vernon, Suzette became involved with Communities for a Better Environment in high school and has since been involved with environmental justice work. She has worked alongside community members in EYCEJ’s La Cosecha Colectiva program and was in the first and second cohorts of the Marina Pando Social Justice Research Collaborative. She graduated from CSU Long Beach with a B.S. in Dietetics and Food Administration and is currently a Master of Public Health student at UCLA in the Community Health Sciences department. Suzette is dedicated to tackling health inequities by building up low-income communities of color. 

Kimberly Amaya (She/Her/They) was raised in Long Beach, California. She has been passionate about protecting the environment since joining the Green Team in middle school and protecting her community since joining East Yard during high school. She helped co-found YA! (Youth in Action) at her high school after learning about the environmental racism her community suffers from. After graduating high school, she participated in the Marina Pando Social Justice Research Collaborative on a project focused on refineries. She researched how the refineries worked, the top pollutants that were emitted from the refineries near her neighborhood, and the harmful effects of the pollutants. She has also participated in the planning committee for the West Long Beach Bike Toxic Tour that informs community members not only about the various polluting facilities harming the community but also how the community has been thriving with grassroots organizing and community-based solutions. She is currently studying at CSULB for a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. She hopes to work in the renewable energy sector for a future with sustainable development.

Iris Verduzco – Member