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

East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice

Madeline Gardea Scholarship Now Open!

(Applications are closed but we are accepting donations to the fund here for the next round of students)

The loved ones of the late Madeline Gardea, community leader, and original EYCEJ member, established a scholarship fund through East Yard following her passing in 2017. All proceeds will go towards the Madeline Gardea Social and Environmental Justice Scholarship, which supports students who live along the I-710 corridor, including Long Beach, Southeast LA, East LA, and more.

Please read the beautiful tribute below by Jason Gardea Stinnett (community leader and Madeline’s son) and donate to the fund.

“Madeline Gardea had a lifelong commitment to social and environmental justice and was always ready to fight on behalf of the vulnerable and those in need. With her passing on January 2, 2017, our family felt this would be a fitting tribute to carry on her memory and the work that mattered most to her. A high school dropout, Madeline graduated from beauty school in the ’60s to become a State board certified Cosmetologist. She eventually went back to get her high school diploma, after which she attended community college to further her career. Ultimately, she became a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s cosmetology program, which started at Roosevelt High School and eventually was moved to the East Los Angeles Occupational Center. Madeline was also a strong supporter of organized labor. A former member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers when she worked at Gould Electronics in Downey, California, when she began teaching, she became a dedicated member of the teacher’s union, the United Teachers of Los Angeles. As a shop steward for many years, she fought to ensure an appropriate learning environment, not only for her fellow teachers but for the students they served, many of whom experienced the socioeconomic challenges so familiar to the East Side.
She was a warrior outside of work as well. An original member of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, an organization she served for well over a decade, she was a tireless advocate for the people of Commerce and Southeast Los Angeles.

While living on Astor Avenue in the City of Commerce, just four houses down from Bandini Park, she was a one-woman army constantly at war with the railroads to lessen the impact of polluting, idling trains, which negatively impacted her health and contributed to the respiratory illness that took her and many others from us far too soon. Her commitment to the advancement of social causes went back even further. Starting in the 60s and in the decades that followed, she often marched with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers to advance the plight of exploited immigrant workers. Her children and grandchildren vividly recall the “Uvas No!” boycott bumper sticker on her car and the absence of grapes in her kitchen.
A fighter always, her courage was matched only by her compassion. In this, her lesson was to understand that amidst laws, policies, and prejudice, it was crucial to always remember the people and how these social constructs affected their lives. She believed the world could be better and that we could be better.
It is our hope that this scholarship will help us achieve that dream. We would deeply appreciate your tax-deductible contribution.”


Thank you for supporting us !

Thank you for attending our 10th Annual Fighting for Life Celebration. With your support, we have reached our goal of $100,000 for the launch of our capital campaign! Every dollar will go into the purchase of a warehouse for a community resilience center and action hub. This is monumental for our communities, as we invest in models of care and self-determination and divest from models that have long impacted our neighborhoods.

We want to give roses to the venue BLVD Mrkt for opening up their beautiful space for our gathering and the team at SolRad for making the delicious food with so much intention. Another shout out to the Palmer Jazz Project for setting the vibe just right, and WhatThePhotoBooth for capturing special moments together. We hope you can come back and continue to support their businesses. Our event would not be possible without our honorees- Tina Orduno Calderon and Michele Prichard, who have been pivotal to this movement. We thank you all.

There are still many opportunities to support our work, as these are ongoing efforts. You can click here to continue supporting our capital campaign to acquire a warehouse that will be a center of resiliency, building power and relationships on Tongva territories to organize locally, nationally, and abroad. If you would like to continue to support our fundraising efforts please contact Jan Victor at janvictor.eycej@gmail.com

With immense gratitude and full hearts, we look forward to the journey ahead to fight alongside our communities, allies, and for the next generations. 

La Lucha Sigue,

The EYCEJ Team