Two to four students from the Summer Institute are recruited to become New Voices Are Rising Fellows during the school year, giving them the opportunity to pursue environmental justice work in greater depth. The students use the skills they learned and the leadership potential they developed, applying it to community capacity-building and outreach projects with New Voices and program partners focused on reducing toxic exposure, addressing climate change, and increasing competency in low-income communities and communities of color to meaningfully engage in environmental decision-making.
Justin is a homeschooled student who joined the New Voices Fellows to learn more about environmental justice with emphasis on air quality. Justice hopes to continue the work he started while in the New Voices 2018 Summer Academy working on the “No Coal in Oakland” campaign. Justice also hopes to learn more about opportunities after graduation in the environmental justice field, helping him to pursue a career in community leadership adding that he joined New Voices because he has, “a deep concern about the environmental justice issues in Oakland and I want to be more involved.”
Nariah is currently a student at Emiliano Zapata Street Academy in Oakland. Nariah joined the New Voices Fellows to work on environmental racism and hopes to continue working on improving air quality in Oakland. “I want to do something while I’m young and in my high school years,” said Nariah, who was one of the New Voices students who spoke at the California Air Resources Board public hearing in Sacramento back in September. Nariah hopes to have more opportunities to speak out for environmental justice issues either in board meetings or in her community.
Michelle currently attends the Oakland Military Institute and hopes to continue working on improving air quality in Oakland and working more on helping to get more community members involved in activism. Michelle then pointed out that, “even though we live in different communities or neighborhoods, pollution knows no boundaries and bad air quality seeps out to surrounding areas.” Michelle added that it is shocking to her that more people don’t advocate for better air quality in the Bay Area. She is hoping to raise awareness and get more people involved in the fight for improved air quality.
Artkinlee was nine years old when he moved to Oakland from the Philippines. Now a junior at Oakland’s Skyline High School, Artkinlee would like his city to be cleaner and healthier than the Oakland he sees around him. “The Philippines is a poor country, so pollution there is not surprising. But here in Oakland there’s too much contrast between the clean professional buildings and the trash on the streets right outside.” A fan of hands-on activities, Artkinlee says, “I like New Voices because it’s a way to actually do something, not just sit in a classroom.”
Jada likes to be the “go-to person” in any group she’s in. As a competitive golfer in her senior year at Oakland Tech’s Engineering Academy, Jada explained that being dependable and helpful is “something that we stress in my golf program… regardless of your skill set or abilities you can always provide something for someone else.” Jada is aiming for a career in architecture after she finishes college. “Working with New Voices, I realized you can advance environmental justice through architecture and green infrastructure. Sustainable housing shouldn’t be something that’s just for the wealthy. There are ways we can apply sustainable design to affordable housing and low-income communities.”
Rosesanie is a senior at Oakland Technical High School. She is a talented writer with a gift for telling compelling stories. Nervous speaking in front of groups, she nonetheless can silence a room when she tells of her grandmother rescuing four of her children from Kmer Rouge work camps in Cambodia, or leading the family to safety through minefields along the Thailand/Cambodia border. Rosesanie first joined New Voices as a student in the 2016 Summer Climate Justice Leadership Academy, and returned in 2017 as a peer leader. “New Voices helped me deal with my anxiety. It forced me to do things – like speak at public meetings – that I hated at the time; but now I can talk in front of people without freaking out. New Voices gives students a chance to be involved in shaping policy and to actually have a voice.”
Born in Oakland, Javier has always appreciated seeing nature. As a young boy in West Oakland, however, nature was not very common. Living near the West Oakland BART station, he saw his opportunity. Under the BART station tracks was a piece of land that seemed to be the only thing mother nature left behind. The only thing that separated him and mother nature was a fence with a whole in it. His curiosity took over. Once he got a true taste of mother nature, he has loved it ever since. Javier was a part of the New Voices Are Rising 2016 Summer Climate Justice Youth Leadership Academy and goes to MetWest High School. He loves environmental activism and is very happy to be working with the Rose Foundation
| Kierra Johnson
Kierra is new to the field of environmental and social justice work, but very passionate. A senior at Leadership Public Schools, she was part of The New Voices Are Rising Summer Climate Justice Leadership Academy this summer. She always wanted to learn about issues that affect her community and the world around her. She believes the ability to learn about such important issues will allow her to help fix them. With her new love for environmental and social justice work, she has joined Rose Foundation during the fall and plans to return in the summer.
|Jennifer Escobedo is a Bay Area native and a graduate of the 2016 Summer Climate Justice Leadership Academy. She is attending college at Wesleyan University and is majoring in Environmental Studies. As a resident of East Oakland, she was always concerned with the health of her community, and that is what attracted her to the Rose Foundation. Throughout her fellowship, she focused on air quality and air pollution in Oakland and the Bay Area.|
|Nate Henderson was born and raised in Michigan and has always been enchanted by nature. With his appreciation of the Great Lakes, he has always been interested in the environment and environmental justice. Moving to Oakland for his final two years of high school, he was a perfect fit for Oakland High’s Environmental Science Academy. He is a graduate of the 2015 and 2016 Summer Climate Justice Leadership Academy and worked extensively in the No Coal in Oakland campaign as a fellow. He is a graduate of Oakland High School, and is now attending Howard University.|
|Matthew Shivers is a graduate of Oakland’s Coliseum College Preparatory Academy. With a passion for ecosystems and health, he found a niche at the Rose Foundation. As a fellow, and for his senior project, he focused on CO2 emissions, and began learn more about climate change and the interconnections of the world.|
|Kyree Survine is a graduate of the 2015 and 2016 Summer Institute. Even though he did not know much about the environment, he found an interest at the Rose foundation. Due to his participation, he learned what environmental and social justice was, and also realized he wants t be a leader.|
Past New Voices Fellows
|Savon Bardell is a Bay Area native and currenty. A graduate of the 2014 Summer Institute, Savon was initially drawn to New Voices Are Rising because of an interest in public health and the effects of pollution and diesel emissions on Oakland communities. As a New Voices Are Rising Fellow, Savon focused on developing advocacy skills and educating community members around pressing environmental justice issues. She is eager to challenge herself and learn more about issues affecting Oakland’s low income communities and communities of color.|
|Wendy La is an Oakland native, and is eager to learn about environmental justice and climate change as a New Voices Are Rising Fellow. She has always believed that the environment is not a resource humans should take advantage of. As the eldest of three children and the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, Wendy looks forward to being the first person in her family to go to college and has aspirations of studying environmental law.|
|Gia Pham was born in Vietnam and moved to the United States with her father and older sister when she was five years old. As a hiker and rock climber, Gia is very interested in environmental protection, conservation, and law, and believed the New Voices Are Rising program would strengthen her communication skills and explore potential career options after high school.|
|Carlos Rangel is a graduate of Oakland’s Coliseum College Prep Academy in. Born in Irapuato, Guanajuato in Mexico, Carlos moved to the United States in search of opportunity and a better life. Carlos has previously participated in multiple extracurricular programs such as BUILD, an entrepreneurship program encouraging low-income high school students to attend college, and 67 Sueños, an advocacy program that creates murals showing the unique challenges faced by undocumented students. Carlos is eager to serve as part of the movement to help underserved communities maintain a healthier life and cleaner environment.|
|Allan Vega is a graduate of the Coliseum College Prep Academy in East Oakland. Allan has previous experience as a graphic design and editing intern with KDOL TV, an educational cable network serving Oakland Unified School District and the larger Oakland community. Allan was drawn to New Voices Are Rising out of an interest in community health and the environment. As a New Voices Are Rising Fellow, Allan educated himself and his community on the issues of toxics and air pollution.|