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2011 Leader Watch: Isella Ramirez Reflects

Isella at scaqmd protest

Each year, Liberty Hill recognizes members of our extended community as “Leaders to Watch.” In January 2011, we interviewed our 2011 Leaders to Watch about their goals and concerns, then checked in with them throughout the year. In late December, we caught up by phone and email for their year-end reflections.

Our 2011 Leaders to Watch were Tammy Bang Luu of Bus Riders Union/Labor Community Strategy Center (LCSC)  Ari Gutierrez and Eddie Martinez of Latino Equality Alliance, Gloria Walton of  Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), Isella Ramirez of East Yard Coalition for Environmental Justice and Xiomara Corpeño of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

Isella reported in from the "EJ frontlines" about the year's work in environmental justice for EYCEJ.

 "It seems like only yesterday I got the call from Liberty Hill announcing their desire to recognize me as one of the Grassroots Leader to Watch for 2011. It has been a great year with several small victories that lead me to believe a big victory is approaching.

This year, I focused on the skill and leadership development of EYCEJ’s Steering Committee and our internal communication. The Steering Committee now is able to facilitate their own meetings, as well as create agendas, take minutes and organize ideas to form action plans. Staff is using a meeting report from that allows all staff members to report back on meetings with agencies in an intentional and pragmatic way. I am currently preparing to give a public talk at my Alma Matter, Vassar College, and I'm looking forward to exercising all the communications tools bestowed upon me by East Yard's coach from Liberty Hill's Wally Marks Leadership Institute for Change, Chris Gabriele. 

Among the highlights of 2011 at East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice:

  • We launched a grassroots campaignand leadership institute in Long Beach called Generation Verde in the summer and winter.
  • We facilitated community involvement in a traffic calming/pedestrian safety study in the Union Pacific neighborhood of East L.A. for our Complete Streets campaign
  • We created a member survey for all new members to take that informs EYCEJ what type of involvement level or interest area best fits the new member.

And most importantly, I was happy to celebrate 2011's December holidays with my four-year-old niece, Citlalih, who is doing very well in her battle with cancer."