The event took place in City Heights, a neighborhood I’ve called home for almost 15 years. I watched kids come and go throughout the day to get their blood tested for lead. I met pregnant mothers also getting tested to ensure they and their baby will live long, healthy lives. Passionate parents advocating for a healthy future for their children begins even sooner than I had imagined.
At EHC, we talk about leadership as the core of environmental and social justice. If you ever want to see what true leadership looks like, come to our next blood-lead testing event. You’re bound to be inspired by caring parents doing everything they can to lead their kids toward a healthier future.
While many of you may know me as your Councilwoman Elect for District 9, here are a few things you may not know about me.
I grew up in Barrio Logan. The culture and the community shaped me into a person passionate about everyone’s right to a healthy community.
I started working at Environmental Health Coalition 13 years ago. During that time, I have seen hundreds of my friends and neighbors graduate from SALTA, EHC’s leadership training program. I even participated in and facilitated SALTA myself.
SALTA taught me that leadership comes in all forms and is essential to our communities. The parents next door who raise their voice about toxic pollution are just as much leaders as city councilmembers. Every person has a story to tell and an individual path to making change. SALTA ignites the power that already exists within them.
I believe in a future of leaders united for justice. Right now, you can help EHC build a generation of community leaders committed to healthy, safe and toxic-free neighborhoods.
Twenty-one years ago, I graduated from college and moved to San Diego in search of a job that would allow me to serve the Latino community. I found EHC where I discovered my life’s passion of bringing health and smiles to children and their families.
I was one of the first SALTA graduates. Hungry to learn more about EHC’s work, I joined SALTA, EHC’s leadership development program. Little did I know that I would become the coordinator of the program a few years later.
In 20 years, I’ve seen thousands of SALTA graduates reclaim the word “leader.” Through SALTA, community members learn that you can take action to make your community a healthier place – with or without a title.
My neighborhood, Colonia Chilpancingo in Tijuana, has struggled with high levels of air pollution for as long as I can remember.
SALTA, EHC's leadership development program, helped me realize the power of my own voice. I joined SALTA to learn about the environmental issues in my community, but I got so much more than I bargained for. I found out that all of the inspiring leaders I met had started just like me – as concerned residents looking for change and willing to do the hard work.
Locally, we felt strong as we celebrated major victories for our communities, including the election of Georgette Gomez to City Council. Nationally, we felt a mountain grow in front of us.
As 2016 comes to a close, we want to share a message of hope and courage. We invite you to join us as we celebrate our local victories while we march forward as an unwavering and unstoppable charge for justice.
“It’s okay to feel upset, angry and scared. We’re all feeling that way. Let’s take comfort in a network of allies that care about justice and will come together stronger than ever.” – Dominique Navarro, Fund Development Associate
“Do not be discouraged. Our victories at the local level were really important. I can’t emphasize enough that San Diego had one of the highest voter turnouts of any major county in California. Everything EHC supported locally went our way. We’re happy, but we’re not resting on it.” – Franco Garcia, Associate Director of Organizing
“After the election, people’s attitudes were very grey. If at any point we were disconnected, now is the time for us to unite. The way I see it, if you’re angry or upset, channel it into something good.” – Lilia Escalante, Fiscal Manager