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

Youth In Action! (YA!) takes a visit to USC

On Monday,Youth In Action (YA!) members from Bell Gardens High School participated in a USC student panel and campus tour.

The day began with a presentation provided by Professor Ed Avol from the Keck School of Medicine of USC and Carla Truax, Outreach Coordinator from USC Community Outreach & Education Core. Their presentation provided information on academic and community collaboration on air pollution issues.



Following was a student panel of primarily PhD students from American Studies & Ethnicity, sharing their educational trajectories as first-generation, working-class students of color with our Youth in Action (YA!) members. From completing A-G requirements, moving away from home, studying abroad, to applying to PhD programs, students were able to break down the pathway for our members. “They talked about their backgrounds, they are low-income like us. They can make it, we can make it too, they inspire me to go to college” -Jorgel Chavez EYCEJ Youth Member.

Sharing personal challenges and strategies, the panelists were open to share the ups and down’s of their path throughout college, a challenging road for many first generation, low-income students of color. “I like how the speakers were honest with us in sharing their process of getting to where they are now” – Armando Avila, EYCEJ Youth Member.


After the panel, we met with Iris Verduzco, 2nd year undergraduate at USC, who provided our members with a campus tour, leading us to our first stop at the USC Program for Environmental Regional Equity (PERE). We met with Jacqueline (Agnello) Wong and Madeline Wander, whom shared with us the ways research institutions and community-based organizations have contributed to success in data analysis, community organizing and policy.



Our last stop on the campus tour was the USC Spatial Sciences Institute, where students met with Professor Warshawsky and Professor Ruddell. They shared a geographic information system called Story Maps, interactive maps combined with text and other content to tell a story about the world. Story Maps include web maps, map services, text and multimedia content. A great tool to use in our environmental justice movement, to narrate stories about our realities living in the the goods movement corridor to the rest of the world. To create your own Story Map visit:  http://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/


We would like to thank our Youth In Action members for participating, the American Studies & Ethnicity Department, Professor Avol from the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Public Health Program at USC, Carla Truax Outreach Coordinator from USC Community Outreach & Education Core, Wendy Gutschow Program Coordinator at Division of Environmental Health Keck School of Medicine, USC Program for Environmental Regional Equity (PERE), Professor Warshawsky & Professor Ruddell from the USC Spatial Sciences Institute and PhD candidate in American Studies and Ethnicity Flori Boj Lopez.