CGW CalGem rally July 2022

Dr. Catherine Garoupa, Executive Director

Catherine (she/her & they/them) returned as Executive Director in December 2019. In this capacity, they spearhead policy advocacy for clean air in the San Joaquin Valley in close collaboration with coalition members, and manage internal operations. Dr. Catherine has a long history working on social and environmental justice issues in the Valley, where they were born and raised. In 2006, they were hired as CVAQ’s Madera County Community Organizer, then served as Director from 2009 to 2011. They left to pursue a PhD in Geography at UC Davis, working on community engaged research projects and completing their dissertation on the movement for clean air and environmental justice in the San Joaquin Valley. After graduating in 2016, Dr. Catherine advanced efforts to end extreme extraction and plan a just transition off fossil fuels with Californians Against Fracking and Dangerous Drilling, and served on the CVAQ Steering Committee from 2018 to 2019. Dr. Catherine has taught social work, geography, and community and regional development at California State University, Fresno, UC Davis, and CSU Sacramento and is currently a geography lecturer at CSU Stanislaus and Columbia College.

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Katie Valenzuela, Senior Policy Advocate 

Katie Valenzuela (she/her) was born and raised in Oildale, Kern County. She has spent more than two decades fighting for social justice through community organizing and policy advocacy. Before joining CVAQ, Katie ran a consulting firm focused on supporting environmental justice groups working on state policy, served as Policy & Political Director for the California Environmental Justice Alliance, and was the first consultant for the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change. She has also held positions focused on youth development, statewide education policy advocacy, and advancing food justice. She has extensive volunteer experience in Sacramento where she helped organize the Sacramento Urban Agriculture Coalition and the Sacramento Community Land Trust, and was appointed to be one of Sacramento area’s first representatives on the AB 32 Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. Katie has a bachelors and masters degree in community development from UC Davis. She lives in Sacramento with her two dogs, Kevin and Chevy, and serves on the Sacramento City Council.

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Jasmin Martinez

Jasmin Martinez, Coalition Coordinator

Jasmin Martinez (they & she) is a young advocate who is guided by her lived and studied experiences as well as deep love for her Central Valley community. Jasmin grew up in Delano, commonly known as the birthplace of the labor rights movement, and is a first-generation college graduate from Stanford University. While in school, she returned to the Valley to collaborate on city initiatives and to intern with the Kern County American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) office. This work and her experiences growing up in California’s highest producing oil county led to her senior project focused on the historical siting of prisons and pollution in the Central Valley and the ongoing grassroots organizing to combat it. Last year, Jasmin joined CVAQ where she has been carving out her role in the fight for environmental justice in the Valley and beyond.

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Cynthia Pinto-Cabrera, Policy Coordinator

Cynthia (she/her) advocates at the local, regional and state level for clean air policies and assists in community engagement and education. In 2018, Pinto-Cabrera was CVAQ’s Action Day Intern and participated in the Clean Air Leadership Institute. Cynthia was an Undergraduate Representative for the University of California, Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Center Governance Board and a member of UCSB Lobby Corps. Pinto-Cabrera received her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2019. She is originally from the Fresno-Madera area. As an asthmatic she hopes to uplift the priorities of those who are most impacted by air pollution in the Valley.

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Nahui Gonzalez Millan, Intern

Nahui (she/her/ella) is an undocumented, first-generation student at Stanislaus State. She has lived in Stockton, California for most of her life. Nahui aims to enter graduate school to investigate the experiences of undocumented families and the inequities that they face in their community, employment, housing and education. In Immigrant Rising’s 2021 Student Leadership Fellowship, Nahui and her team helped to develop the Rooted in Education Mentorship, a program meant to bridge the gap between undocumented high school students and their transition to higher education. Currently, Nahui works on the R.E.M. project through an assistantship with the Community & Equity Research Center at Stanislaus State. Nahui also spends her time fostering kittens.

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