PACE Cohort

Introducing PACE Leaders

Selected from a competitive application pool, the inaugural cohort for the Partners Advancing Climate Equity (PACE) pilot program represents community leaders who have an exceptionally deep commitment to their communities.

Meet the multigenerational, multi-regional, diverse and committed PACE cohort:

Amy J. Wong

Amy J. Wong is a Program Specialist at Active San Gabriel Valley, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a more sustainable, equitable and livable San Gabriel Valley. Passionate about environmental justice, she also serves as a Planning Commissioner for her hometown, the City of El Monte. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Molecular Biology.

Anita M. Lopez

Anita M. López is a program design and evaluation consultant for the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs serving San Diego City youth. She is a Southeast San Diego native with third-generation Chicana roots and 25 years in community organizing. She creates solutions with social justice, health, equity, and economic priorities to improve outcomes in culturally rich and resilient communities.

Christian Torres

Christian Torres is the Special Projects Manager with Comite Civico Del Valle finding opportunities to address community concerns through the organization’s mission. Recently Christian also co-founded the IV Equity & Justice Coalition with other like-minded community members. In both roles he uses his science background to better his communities.

Christy Garcia

Christy Garcia, Project Specialist for the National Indian Justice Center, specializes in community-research, project management, development, implementation, evaluation, and technical assistance. Christy received a Master’s in Sociological Practice from Cal State San Marcos and a Bachelor’s in Ethnic Studies with a Minor in Psychology from the University of San Diego.

Fatima Malik

Fatima T. Malik is a public health professional dedicated to advancing equity and justice in disadvantaged communities. Her passion includes long-term neighborhood planning efforts to increase the social, economic, and environmental well-being of vulnerable populations. As the Del Paso Heights Growers’ Alliance lead organizer she creates poverty intervention strategies.

Felecia “Fe Love’ Lenee Williams

Co-founder of Compassionate ARTS in Action and Youth Program Director at Posts for Peace and Justice, Fe Love Lenee Williams is the project manager for #WhenBlackandBrownGoGreen. The campaign was launched to educate and encourage BIPOC folks in frontline communities to become leaders in climate and environmental justice.

Felipe Escobar

Felipe Escobar is the Organizing Director at Pacoima Beautiful. In this role, Felipe works to elevate residents’ lived experiences in frontline communities most impacted by climate change to ensure that they are the nearest to power and can inform and drive policies that will impact the community.

ileana Ortega Brunetti

ileana is the Community Outreach Director at Watsonville Wetlands Watch. She has extensive experience leading non-profit engagement efforts with Latino communities in environmental conservation, education, health, and economic justice issues. She holds degrees in communications, environmental policy, and business administration.

Irene Calimlim

Irene Calimlim helped found the Health Justice department and Greenlining the Hood campaign with Fathers & Families of San Joaquin. Currently, she helps advance urban greening, environmental justice & building youth leaders, and working in coalition with other local partners on Transformative Climate Communities and AB617.

Jessica (Jessa) Calderon

Jessa Calderon is the Coordinator of Indigenous Oceans and Waters Protector Programs for Sacred Places Institute. Jessa is of the Tongva and Chumash Nations which are original peoples in Southern California. They are a paddler on the ocean with Chumash relatives, which holds a deep and sacred meaning to their heart. Jessa’s journey is to protect the ocean and all bodies of life including other water sources, plants, and people.

Karina Andalon

Karina Andalon is a six-year volunteer with Alianza’s Youth Organizing Council (YO-C). With her community engagement journey she has advocated for environmental justice in unincorporated communities in the Eastern Coachella Valley.

Marquita “Keta” Price

Marquita “Keta” Price aka The Hood Planner is a third generation East Oakland native currently serving as the Director of Urban and Regional Planning for the East Oakland Collective. Keta also serves as the Anchor Director of the People Power Solar Cooperative to bring more energy democracy to East Oakland.

Lil Milagro Henriquez

Lil Milagro Henriquez is the founder and Executive Director of Mycelium Youth Network, an organization dedicated to preparing and empowering young people of color for climate change. She’s a veteran of social justice organizing with 18+ years of experience working on a myriad of issues, including access to higher education, food sovereignty, environmental racism, union democracy and labor organizing.

Marissa Fierro

Marissa Fierro works on climate research for the California Indian Environmental Alliance (CIEA), to advance Tribal resource protection priorities and develop key partnerships needed to advance those priorities. Marissa has a B.S. in Geography and Planning and over 15 years’ leadership experience working with Indigenous Peoples of California.

Martha Armas-Kelly

Martha Armas-Kelly is a Program Coordinator at the Environmental Justice Project of Catholic Charities in Modesto. Her passion lies in exploring environmental issues by empowering and educating community residents to advocate for systemic change. She holds a BA in Sociology and Criminal Justice from California State University Stanislaus.

Nancy Faulstich

Nancy Faulstich serves as the first Director of Regeneración, a climate action organization in the Pájaro Valley. She founded Regeneración in 2016 together with a small group of Pajaro Valley residents. She approaches her work with Regeneración as an ally focused on elevating the leadership of people of color and young adults.

Raymond Gutteriez

Raymond Gutteriez is the Eco-Cultural Ecologist for the Wuksachi Indian Tribe. As a Wuksachi citizen, Raymond works toward language and cultural revitalization through land restoration and cultural burning in the Southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley. He is also involved in the #Landback movement for Indigenous rights.

Red Cloud Manuel

Red Cloud Manuel is a climate, housing, and clean water equity community organizer. With the Central Valley Empowerment Alliance, he co-founded Il’lik Cxo’hum “water is Life” to educate, preserve and protect Mother Earth. He has led a delegation to defend Standing Rock and protest the Dakota oil pipeline access as well as coordinated local efforts on housing and the reservation’s community market.

Sarina Vega

Sarina Vega is the Environmental Programs Associate at Casa Familiar in the border community of San Ysidro, CA. Her roles as a researcher and community-based organizer/advocate intersects with issues of public health, environmental justice, transportation, data analysis and community-based knowledge systems. She is currently pursuing a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at UCSD.

Teresa “Tere”Almaguer

Tere Almaguer is PODER’s Environmental Justice Organizer and has served in this role for over 19 years. Tere is working with the Urban Campesinx Program to steward Hummingbird Farm and create a space for community to reconnect with land, grow healthy food, practice herbal healing traditions, provide job training, and create community governance structures.

Veatrice Jews

Veatrice Jews is the Health Chair of the Inland Empire Concerned African Churches (IECAAC) and retired Administrative Director of a Clinical and Anatomical Pathology Laboratory. She offers programs and services that promote wellness, both physical and mental and build relationships with organizations to provide resources.

Victoria Vasquez

Victoria Vasquez is a Community Organizer with the Sacramento Tree Foundation’s NeighborWoods initiative. Her goal is to engage the community and assist in planting 5,000 trees to improve air quality, mitigate the heat island effect and teach community members to advocate for environmental justice through the equity of tree canopy.

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