Past Speakers

ESLP has had the honor of hosting some brilliant speakers in the past years and we'd like to share with you more about them. 

2019

Rachel Dreskin - 4/8/2019

Since joining CIWF in 2013, Rachel has managed the development and growth of the US Food Business program. Her partnerships with dozens of leading companies have contributed to widespread change in corporate supply chains that are set to impact the lives of hundreds of millions of farmed animals. These partnerships focus on incorporating and strengthening animal welfare within corporate sustainability programs and seeing these policies through to implementation. In addition to working extensively with Fortune 500 companies, Rachel has guest lectured at top US universities and has had her work covered in the Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg, Fortune Magazine, and more. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Global Animal Partnership and for the Regenerative Organic Alliance. Prior to joining CIWF in 2013, Rachel ran a pioneering farm-to-table restaurant in Manhattan where she converted the animal protein sourcing from conventional to higher welfare. She previously worked with News Corporation where she specialized in consulting consumer packaged goods companies on marketing, advertising and consumer-promotion solutions. Rachel has also worked in the corporate marketing departments of Quest Diagnostics and Omgeo LLC, a division of Thompson Financial. Rachel graduated with honors from Northeastern University’s School of Business with a dual focus in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. In addition to working to better the lives of farmed animals, Rachel is also an avid cook and farmers market regular who loves spending her weekends in Prospect Park in Brooklyn with her husband, Andrew, and two children, Lev and Simone.

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Adam millard-ball - 4/15/2019

Adam Millard-Ball is an associate professor of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Trained as an economist and an urban planner, his work focuses on the potential of city policy to tackle global climate change, and his current research examines urban sprawl worldwide, local climate plans in California, and the potential impacts of autonomous vehicles. Dr. Millard-Ball teaches classes in environmental policy, environmental economics and urban planning, including a new seminar in bicycle planning. Before coming to UCSC, he taught at McGill University, Montreal, and worked as a transportation planner for Nelson Nygaard Consulting Associates in San Francisco and New York. Dr. Millard-Ball holds an MA in Geography from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD in Environment and Resources from Stanford University.

JP Rose - 4/22/2019

J.P. Rose is a staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity’s Urban Wildlands program. J.P. uses litigation, advocacy, and policy to fight unsustainable development that destroys wildlife habitat and contributes to the climate crisis. His work is particularly focused on protecting Southern California’s landscapes and rivers and ensuring wildlife connectivity for species like the mountain lion. J.P. is a Bay Area native and obtained his B.A. and J.D. from Santa Clara University.

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jOHn Laird - 5/6/2019

John Laird was appointed California Secretary for Natural Resources by Governor Jerry Brown on Jan. 5, 2011. He has spent nearly 40 years in public service, including 23 years as an elected official. He sponsored bills to establish the landmark Sierra Nevada Conservancy, restored community college health services, expanded and clarified state civil rights protections, reformed the state mandates system, and significantly expanded water conservation. He is currently running to be a state senator.

Terisa Siagatonu - 5/20/2019

Terisa Siagatonu is an award-winning poet, teaching artist, mental health educator, and community leader born and rooted in the Bay Area. Her presence in the poetry world as a queer Samoan woman and activist has granted her opportunities to perform and speak in places ranging from the White House (during the Obama administration) to the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France. With numerous viral poetry videos garnering over millions of views collectively, Terisa's writing blends the personal, cultural, and political in a way that calls for healing, courage, justice, and truth. Offstage, Terisa delivers keynote speeches across the country on issues such as youth advocacy, educational attainment, Pacific Islander/Indigenous rights, climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, gender-based violence, and others.

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2018

Social & Environmental Justice

Social & Environmental Justice

mark! Lopez- 4/9/2018

mark! Lopez comes from a family with a long history of activism. He was raised in the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of East LA Santa Isabel – MELASI), an organization co-founded by his grandparents, Juana Beatriz Gutierrez and Ricardo Gutierrez. This set his trajectory as a community activist. He has engaged in a wide array of student activism at UC Santa Cruz where he earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies, and taught university courses at UC Santa Cruz, Cal State Northridge, and UCLA Extension. mark! earned his M.A. from the Chicanx Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, where he completed his Masters thesis titled The Fire: Decolonizing “Environmental Justice.” mark! joined East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice as a member three years before joining the staff. After serving as Lead Organizer for East Yard Communities and Co-Director with EYCEJ Co-Founder Angelo Logan, mark! accepted the Executive Director responsibility. He organizes in the area where he was born, raised and continues to live.

Max and Thao- 4/16/2018

 

Max Jimenez was born in Philippines and moved to Highland Park in Northeast Los Angeles when they were 8 years old. In LA, they worked with the Alliance for Climate Education in hopes to bridge and engage community members in organizing around environmental racism and institutional neglect that families of color and low-income folks struggle with. Max’s work is focused on basic needs such as food and housing insecurity. They live a plant-based lifestyle and strive to encourage others that eating real and healthy food should be accessible and affordable to all. The gentrification happening in their community is causing displacement and houselessness, which shifted their focus on housing justice. Max is now a third-year as Community Studies and Politics double-major at UCSC. They are the Student Union Assembly President and they have been working tirelessly to make sure that students are living in habitable and just housing conditions. They, along with other students, established a new organization on campus, the Student Union housing Working Group, where they have campaigns and projects that revolutionize the housing movement in UCSC, the City of Santa Cruz, and even on a UC Level.

Intersectionality, Food Systems, Green Building, Social and Environmental Justice

Intersectionality, Food Systems, Green Building, Social and Environmental Justice

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2017

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mark! lopez

mark! Lopez comes from a family with a long history of activism. He was raised in the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of East LA Santa Isabel – MELASI), an organization co-founded by his grandparents, Juana Beatriz Gutierrez and Ricardo Gutierrez. This set his trajectory as a community activist. He has engaged in a wide array of student activism at UC Santa Cruz where he earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies, and taught university courses at UC Santa Cruz, Cal State Northridge, and UCLA Extension. mark! earned his M.A. from the Chican@ Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, where he completed his Masters thesis titled The Fire: Decolonizing “Environmental Justice.” After serving as Lead Organizer for East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and Co-Director with EYCEJ Co-Founder Angelo Logan, mark! is now the Executive Director. mark! was also given the honor of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize, North America. The prize "honors the achievements and leadership of grassroots environmental activists from around the world, inspiring all of us to take action to protect our planet." (www.goldmanprize.org/)

 
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Francisco ferreyra

Francisco Ferreyra is a Community and Regional Development undergraduate at UC Davis, and a recent transfer from Oxnard, CA. After representing California Community College students through legislative advocacy for two years, they began organizing against the encroachments of multi-billion dollar oil and gas companies including NRG and the forces behind DAPL. Today they help lead the Fossil Free UC movement and serve as Environmental Sustainability Officer for the UC Student Association.  Ferreyra spoke about Resistance in the Age of Climate Armageddon: Non-Compliance or Non-Existence. He gives first-hand accounts of strength and sacrifice from Standing Rock that show us the 500 year old context of dominant forces that have plunged our species into a full on climate crisis.

As we push back on mainstream environmentalism and center narratives of the historically oppressed this evening, we will begin to understand what it takes to become the warriors our ancestors dreamed about.This discussion will argue for the necessity of relentless resistance in the face of our society's unwillingness to separate oil and state, while also providing a framework - Francisco Ferreyra

 
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unique vance & aaron luxur

Vegan Voices of Color’s mission is to spread awareness on the connections of oppression that connect animal agriculture and People of Color. From health epidemics to environmental racism the links between our communities and those of non-human animals cannot be ignored. The plight of billions of sentient beings is integrally connected to our own. Unfortunately mainstream veganism is severely disconnected from most PoC as we see very few of our own faces reflected in the movement. This white veganism is also too often non-intersectional. They see that issues ranging from income inequality to food access are ignored, problematic connections of racism to speciesism runs rampant without enough critical thought put into these comparisons. Tired of seeing how this problematic veganism turn so many people away we strive to provide a space to link culture, race, income, and ethics together under the solidarity of social justice.

 
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CHris Lepe & Fahad Qurashi

Chris Lepe and Fahad Qurashi in "Mobility movements - Student and community engagement to advance affordable, accessible, and sustainable transportation options"

Chris Lepe is the Silicon Valley Senior Community Planner for TransForm. TransForm is a Bay Area-based non-profit organization that promoting walkable communities with excellent transportation choices to connect people of all incomes to opportunity, keep California affordable and help solve our climate crisis. Chris engages community leaders, elected officials, transit riders, and the broader community in transportation, land use, and housing plans, projects, and policies in order to advance social justice, environmental protection, and community health. He received his BA in Environmental Studies with a minor in Latin American/Latino Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) and his Masters in Urban Planning at San Jose State University (SJSU).

Fahad Qurashi: Bay Area Directo - Fahad has worked at YLI for over 11 years transitioning from a program participant in San Francisco, working up the ranks to his current position as Bay Area Director of Program. He is a diplomatic and tenacious leader with deep content knowledge and practical public policy experience in the areas of public health, land use/ zoning, housing rights, health equity, legal rights for immigrant youth, violence prevention, sexual health education, and youth development.

 
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Ryan Camero

Ryan Camero is arts activist and community organizer whose work focuses on visual storytelling, cross-cultural understanding, and inter-generational communication in achieving social justice.

 
 
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Karina gonzales

Karina organizes around social justice, racial justice, and climate issues. She believes that these topics are all interconnected and aims to weave these major issues into a coherent narrative that will move us toward a more sustainable and equitable future. This year she is co-leading a youth delegation to the 2017 Climate Negotiations.