Law Students for Economic and Environmental Justice at UC Berkeley School of Law
Law Students for Environmental & Economic Justice is dedicated to the just distribution of environmental benefits to, and the amelioration of environmental harms concentrated in, communities of color and low-income communities. We are committed to the strategic use of legal tools to strengthen grassroots organizing and to build community power.
The Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment
The Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment is a national environmental justice organization with offices in San Francisco and Delano, California. We provide legal, organizing, and technical assistance to grassroots groups in low-income communities and communities of color fighting environmental hazards. In our work, we strive to achieve these goals:
- Individuals taking part in a particular campaign leave the campaign with more personal capacity than they had coming into it.,
- Community involved has more power vis a vis decision makers at the end of the campaign than at the beginning., and
- Working with affected communities, we concretely address the environmental hazard at hand.
The Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment is an environmental justice organization dedicated to helping grassroots groups across the United States attack head on the disproportionate burden of pollution borne by poor people and people of color. We provide organizing, technical and legal assistance to help community groups stop immediate environmental threats. In the over 20 years that CRPE has been helping the poor and people of color resist toxic intrusions and protect their environmental health, among our many victories we have beaten toxic waste incinerators, forced oil refineries to use cleaner technology, beaten a 55,000-cow mega-dairy, stopped numerous tire burning proposals, helped bring safe drinking water to various rural communities, stopped a garbage dump on the Los Coyotes reservation in southern California, and empowered hundreds of local residents along the way. Our ongoing campaigns fall into three broad areas: Air Quality, Land Use and National.
Communities for a Better Environment
Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) is a social justice organization with a focus on environmental health and justice. We organize in working class communities of color because those communities suffer the most from environmental pollution and toxics. CBE works in urban communities in Northern and Southern California among low-income African Americans, Latinos and other nationalities who are bombarded by pollution from freeways, power plants, oil refineries, seaports, airports, and chemical manufacturers. As a result, the people – who have no choice but to live in these areas -- suffer from very high rates of asthma and respiratory illnesses, heart problems, cancer, low birthrate, and miscarriages. These problems are made worse by higher than average rates of poverty, inadequate housing, poor schools, and inadequate health care and social services. Children are the most vulnerable victims of these problems.
CBE works in these communities because they are also centers of resistance to environmental racism. We provide community residents who want to challenge corporate polluters with organizing help, scientific and policy research, and legal assistance. The focus of our work is to help community members identify their own problems, and define their own campaigns and solutions. We believe in building community power to help them achieve the basic human right to clean air, clean water, and clean land and public space. In nearly thirty years of existence, CBE and its community members, including young people, have achieved some of the most important environmental policies in the nation – including strong regulations of power plant and oil refinery emissions. Our experience proves that an organized community can truly move mountains.
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
The Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) seeks to empower low-income Asian Pacific Islander (API) communities to achieve environmental and social justice. APEN believes that the environment includes everything around us: where we live, work and play. And we strive to build grassroots organizations that will improve the health, well-being and political strength of our communities.
In 1991, there was a historic convening of the national environmental justice movement, the People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. At this convening, a group of fewer than 30 APIs among 600 activists of color realized that a vehicle was needed to represent the specific issues of concern to API communities. APEN's formation in 1993 reflected this growth of the national environmental justice movement and the recognition that API voices needed to be at the table.
APEN currently works on three levels: Direct Organizing in local communities, building a Network of API organizations and working in multiracial Alliances to affect regional and national social change.
The direct organizing is at the center of our vision of environmental and social justice. Our two local San Francisco Bay Area projects are the 11-year old Laotian Organizing Project (LOP) in Richmond and the 6-year old Power in Asians Organizing (PAO) that works with a pan-Asian immigrant community in Oakland.
West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project
West Oakland bears the brunt of the area's pollution problems, but reaps few of the benefits. Residents of West Oakland face five times more toxic pollution per person than residents of the city of Oakland. Children in West Oakland are seven times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than the average child in the state of California. Nearly 82% of those who live in West Oakland are within 1/8 mile of an industrial area. A 2002 survey found only 31% of area residents can afford the median rent on available housing units.
Through measuring environmental indicators and building coalitions with neighborhood organizations, the Pacific Institute has taken great strides in exposing the disproportionate pollution faced by West Oakland Residents. Our research has been captured in reports such as Neighborhood Knowledge for Change, Clearing the Air: Reducing Diesel Pollution in West Oakland, and Paying With Our Health: The Real Cost of Freight Transport in California. In 2003, the Pacific Institute and the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project scored a major victory with the closure of Red Star Yeast, The largest fixed source of toxic air pollution in West Oakland. The Institute identified the factory as a major source of toxic air pollution in "Neighborhood Knowledge for Change."
Along with researching and publishing the information, the Pacific Institute is providing training and support to grassroots activists working in West Oakland so they can use the research to make their case and maintain the indicators information. An outgrowth of the Institute's efforts, the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project is now an autonomous organization. The two organizations continue to work closely.
Environmental Studies Institute at Santa Clara University
The Environmental Studies Institute at Santa Clara University is an interdisciplinary community of scholars - composed of faculty, staff, and students - dedicated to understanding the interactions between humans and the natural world. We serve local and global communities by addressing environmental issues through education, research, and leadership. Our bachelors level degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies challenge undergraduates to integrate knowledge and research in the natural and social sciences with ethics, service and leadership to promote a sustainable world. The Institute provides a variety of campus and community programs including seminars, internships, and opportunities for research, service, and study abroad.
Cal Corps at UC Berkeley
Founded in 1967 by students, Cal Corps is the University’s Public Service Center. The Center partners with the community, student leaders and faculty to engage over 5000 students each year as volunteers, and through jobs, internships, and courses. Our Mission is to engage the University and the community in reciprocal partnerships to create educational programs for students, to promote leadership through service, and to foster social justice and civic engagement.
¡PODER! - People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights
PODER is a grassroots, environmental justice organization based in San Francisco’s Mission District. PODER’s mission is to organize with Mission residents to work on local solutions to issues facing low income communities and communities of color. PODER believes that the solutions to community problems depend on the active participation of all people in decision-making processes. Improvements to our neighborhood must be made through collective social action to bring about social, economic and environmental justice.
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA)
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.'s mission is to provide high-quality legal services that improve the quality of life for low-income individuals and their rural communities.
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA) serves low-income individuals residing in over 22 California counties. As rural areas and small cities of California continue to change, so does our outreach and service to diverse communities. Today, CRLA serves a wide array of clients, while maintaining specialized programs that focus on services for farmworker populations. CRLA clients also include individuals with disabilities, immigrant populations, school children, lesbian/gay/bisexual and transgender populations, seniors and individuals with limited English proficiency.
CRLA reaches over 39,000 individuals a year through a combination of advocacy strategies that: 1) increase access to high-quality, no-cost legal services; 2) ensure the equitable and fair distribution of resources in rural communities; and 3) protect the rights of low-income individuals to seek justice under the law.
CRLA legal services are shaped by the needs of our diverse client community. Through a state-wide network of 21 offices, our staff conducts litigation, outreach and legal education on the most pressing issues facing low-income communities: housing; employment; education; workplace safety; discrimination; income maintenance and healthcare access. CRCRLA provides legal services in conjunction with a series of innovative programs and special initiatives. Strategically designed programs and initiatives allow CRCRLA to address recurring, wide-spread problems that we have identified through emergent patterns in our individual client cases. CRCRLA has developed initiatives that deal with many complex and persistent problems for rural communities: protecting the health and safety of farmworkers; guaranteeing that workers receive proper wages; protecting individuals from predatory lending; fighting for communities that lack basic infrastructure; advocating for indigenous Mexican farmworkers; providing education and training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace; enforcing fair housing practices; supporting victims of domestic violence; guaranteeing the rights of children to a quality education; and increasing access to healthcare among California's low-income families.
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
California Communities Against Toxics (CCAT) was formed in 1989 by community activists and community environmental justice organizations from across the state to share information, support each others efforts, and challenge polluters and their friends in government. California Communities Against Toxics launched Greenaction to fulfill an important need and role that no other organization in the entire United States is now providing. Greenaction engages in action-oriented dynamic campaigning in support of diverse community struggles for health and environmental justice, and for real solutions to problems of industrial pollution and government inaction in the face of the health and environmental crisis.
Greenaction holds polluters and government accountable on environmental, public health and worker health and safety issues. Greenaction plays a vital role in publicly challenging local, State and Federal regulatory agency inaction and complicity in the face of toxic and radioactive threats and rising rates of cancer and other illnesses. Many government agencies have done little to promote serious solutions. Communities directly impacted by toxic threats and the general public are faced with polluter-friendly policies in terms of permit decisions, lax enforcement of violations at industrial facilities, and the revolving door between government and industry. Polluters and many government agencies fear serious public participation in decision-making, and they often refuse to allow serious public input unless strongly challenged.
As a vigilant watchdog, advocate and active campaign organization, we are holding industry and government agencies accountable. With our extensive contacts, we are able to mobilize a large and powerful network of community, health and environmental groups, coalitions and activists to take action and pressure government agencies and polluters. Backed by solid information and strong campaigning, we are attracting the attention of the policy makers and industrial polluters. We pressure government agencies to fully involve the public in decision-making and to protect the public health and environment on a community, state and national level. As many communities hardest hit by environmental problems are often poor and without access to government decision-makers, Greenaction's expertise has a critical role.
The Pacific Institute
From the beginning, The Pacific Institute's co-founders, Lou and Diane Tice, have held to the vision that the education they assembled would be beneficial to people all over the world. Yes, cultural differences do exist. However, the basic knowledge of how the mind works is constant from individual to individual, continent to continent. "The hardware is pretty much the same; what we are dealing with is the human software - and that, my friends, can and should be upgraded on a regular basis." says Tice.
1980 marked the beginning of a rapid expansion of The Pacific Institute beyond North America. Today, the Institute's varied curricula have been translated and adapted to serve organizations in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the South Pacific, as well as North America. It is an honor for The Pacific Institute to be able to serve as an agent for positive transformation in the world.
As we continue to expand our reach around the world, our mission continues as a standard of excellence:
"We affirm the right of all individuals to achieve their God-given potential. The application of our education empowers people to recognize their ability to choose growth, personal freedom and personal excellence. We commit ourselves to providing this education, all over the world, through all means that are just and appropriate."
La Raza Law Students Association at UC Berkeley School of Law
The La Raza Law Students Association was founded in the 1960s to meet the needs of Chicano and Latino students at Berkeley Law. The association provides academic, social, and emotional support to Latino students. In addition, the group conducts community outreach and participates in political campaigns and events affecting the Latino community.
Berkeley La Raza Law Journal
The Berkeley La Raza Law Journal ("BLRLJ" or "the Journal") is entering its thirtieth year of producing knowledge designed to capture the imagination of legislators, stir the consciences of judges, and provide a dynamic tool for practitioners concerned with the impact of their work on behalf of the Latina/o community. The Journal was imagined in 1980 and established in 1981 by Latina/o students and our allies at the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. The Journal is one of the few law reviews in the United States that center Latina/o conditions, communities, and identities. The Journal was established to provide a forum, which previously did not exist, to analyze legal issues affecting the Latina/o community. Previous issues have addressed bilingual education, affirmative action, immigration law, labor law and policy, voting rights, community empowerment, new models of organizing labor, rural communities, and Latina/o Critical Legal Theory.
In spring, we traditionally host a symposium to bring together law and other students, with professors, lawyers, activists and other community members to learn about and discuss current issues affecting the Latina/o community. Additionally, we irregularly hold colloquia and installments of our speaker series. These events and others are part of our evolving project to transform conventional legal education at Boalt Hall in order to help Latina/o law students and our allies become better advocates for social justice, self-determination, and liberation in the United States and abroad. ¡Por la raza habla el espíritu!
Ecology Law Quarterly
Ecology Law Quarterly’s (ELQ) primary function is to produce two high quality journals: a quarterly print version and a more frequent, cutting-edge online journal, Ecology Law Currents. UC Berkeley School of Law students manage every aspect of ELQ, from communicating with authors to editing articles to publishing the journals. In addition to featuring work by leading environmental law scholars, ELQ encourages student writing and publishes student pieces.
ELQ also serves as a social and academic hub for the environmental law community at the UC Berkeley School of Law. ELQ frequently joins other Boalt Hall environmental law organizations in hosting speakers or producing events on campus. ELQ is also dedicated to sustaining and strengthening the environmental law program at Boalt Hall, and works with the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment and other sister organizations to further this goal.
Central Valley Air Quality Coalition The Central Valley Air Quality (CVAQ) Coalition is a partnership of more than 70 community, medical, public health, environmental and environmental justice organizations representing thousands of residents in the San Joaquin Valley that are unified in their commitment to improve the health of Californians by (a) seeking full and vigorous enforcement of the federal Clean Air Act, (b) strengthening State law and District regulations relating to air quality, and (c) educating the public about the serious health impacts of air pollution. CVAQ is a Project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE), a registered public non-profit. Donations are fully tax deductible. This site provides educational resources about air pollution and its sources, reports on health impacts, current news, legal actions, and information on what you can do to help clear the air.
California Law Review
The California Law Review was founded in 1912. At that time the Review was the first student law journal published west of Illinois. The publication of this, the ninth law review in the country, prompted the venerable Dean Wigmore of Northwestern University to condemn the proliferation of law reviews that was suffocating legal debate.
California Environmental Justice Alliance
The California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) is a coalition of base-building organizations. We are committed to building healthy communities from the ground up. Throughout California, low-income and people of color communities are on the front lines of environmental pollution and unhealthy housing and workplace conditions. As a result, these communities face higher health risks at the same time having less access to quality and affordable health care. There is a clear need for action for environmental justice.
Our mission is to strengthen the progressive environmental justice movement in California. By building on the local organizing efforts and advocacy successes of our member organizations, we will achieve state policy change. We are working to achieve environmental justice by organizing in low-income and people of color communities - those most impacted by environmental hazards - and by pushing for policies at the state, regional and local levels that protect public health. Our focus is on California's urban communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Los Angeles region, the Inland Valleys, and the San Diego/Tijuana border region.
Women of Color Collective at UC Berkeley School of Law
The Women of Color Collective (WOCC) provides a supportive space for African American, Asian American, Latina, Native American, and other women and trans people of color at Berkeley Law. Through cultural, social, professional, educational, and community service programs, the WOCC advances the needs of women and trans people of color, thereby enriching the educational experience at Berkeley Law. The organization aims to inform members, as well as the law school community, about issues facing women and trans people of color in law school, the legal profession, and society at large. The WOCC also serves as a support and mentorship network, linking current students to each other and to Berkeley Law alumni.