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Patricia Jovel Flores and Kayla Asato

  • Leading the Conversation on Environmental Justice

Patricia Jovel Flores is Orange County Environmental Justice's new Project Director, and is excited to lead the organization in confronting the many environmental issues disproportionately affecting Orange County's marginalized communities. PJ was raised and currently lives in Santa Ana, California. She began organizing as a student at UC Berkeley, where she worked to bring student power to bear in support of campus labor organizing and the local prison abolition movement. After graduating, PJ returned to Santa Ana, where she organized with Colectivo Tonantzin, a local grassroots organizing collective, to fight wage theft and defend the rights of day laborers and domestic workers in Orange County. Currently, she helps coordinate the Tierras Comunitarias Coalition to ensure public lands in Santa Ana and Garden Grove are put towards community needs such as public parks and open space, in addition to organizing alongside Acjachemen and Tongva activists to Protect Puvungna and other sacred sites in Orange County. In her free time, PJ is a storyteller and musician, and is currently working on a novel centering trans femmes and two-spirit people in the fight for liberation and Indigenous sovereignty. In all her work, PJ is dedicated to building bridges between local Indigenous communities and communities of color in defense of the water, land, and air that we all call home. 

Kayla Asato is OCEJ's Redistricting Organizer as of April 2021. She grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii learning about the effects of pollution, climate change, and environmental racism from war, so moving to Orange County to see similar racial injustices in our soil, water, and air really sparked that passion in making sure justice comes. Kayla enjoys bridging feminist, critical race/ethnic studies, queer, and international relations theories to practice at the local level in the fight for justice. She enjoys doing curriculum work, power mapping, coalition building, and inspiring people through deep canvassing/positive imaginary work most of all in organizing. She graduated from Chapman University in 2018 with a passion for organizing around issues and electoralism. Since graduating, she has been working on nonprofits and electoral campaigns nonstop, and is thrilled to join OCEJ as the redistricting organizer.

Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on Environmental Justice is a series of informed, sustained, and enriching dialogues looking at how environmental toxicity and risk disproportionately impact populations based on race, ethnicity, nationality, and social standing. Environmental Justice brings awareness to these disparities, fighting to ensure that every voice is heard, every challenge is addressed, and every community has a seat at the table for a greener future.

Guests: Patricia Jovel Flores and Kayla Asato
Host: Jon-Barrett Ingels
Produced by Public Podcasting in partnership with Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Chapman University.

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