The Chapter Welcomes a New Cohort of Activists

  • Posted on 30 May 2023
  • By Kim Orbe, Senior Conservation Program Manager
Chapter Activist Academy Trainers, Participants, community partners, and Councilmember Nithya Raman (CD4) at the culmination event at Audubon Center Debs Park
Photographed: Chapter Activist Academy Trainers, Participants, community partners, and Councilmember Nithya Raman (CD4) at the culmination event at Audubon Center Debs Park
The Angeles Chapter is excited to announce the inaugural graduating cohort of the Activist Academy Leadership program! The Activist Academy leadership program was created last year to invite new, young activists to the Sierra Club and to invest in these individuals' personal and professional growth. Participants of this leadership program joined the Activist Academy to get skills and training to build their activism in issues related to Environmental Social Justice and the Climate Energy Justice movement. 
In January of 2023, the Activist Academy program invited its inaugural cohort of activists, which included individuals aged 16-35, to represent our regional area from Los Angeles to Orange County. Over four months, these activists participated in sessions that focused on a variety of issues, including community organizing, campaign planning, power mapping, collective decision-making, and generative conflict. Each of these sessions was led by chapter volunteers from our conservation program, Wilderness Travel Course, as well as our community partners Pacoima Beautiful and Sunrise Movement Long Beach.
Participants had the opportunity to meet and learn from the leaders and Sierra Club National staff on the ground leading our various climate and energy justice campaigns at each session. These included staff leading our beyond dirty fuels, electrifying transportation (MyGen), Clean Air, Building Electrification, and Outdoors for All campaigns, and discussing their intersection with people, the planet, and the environment. 
“There are several resources out there, work is always available, and people are always organizing somewhere for some reason. Tools taught during these sessions that I had no clue or understood beforehand were presented with a lot of knowledge and patience to where I felt comfortable being in conversations with those specific topics.” 
-Amy Marie Van Auken, Activist Academy participant
In just a couple of months, we were able to create deep connections, and have uncomfortable but necessary conversations about environmental racism, climate justice, indigenous people’s sovereignty, and the radical leadership needed to serve and protect our BIPOC communities from further harm from climate change. It has been a pleasure to share space with the incredible leaders and help them find a home for their activism whether it is with us at the Sierra Club or the movement at large with our Environmental Justice partners. I am excited to continue inviting these activists to get involved in our various Sierra Club campaigns and see what they will accomplish in the future.  If you have the opportunity to meet some of these activists, give them a warm welcome and I invite you to learn about them, and the wealth of knowledge and experience they bring to our work. I know the trainers and I have taken many learnings from the participants themselves! 
We are excited to continue this leadership program for years to come. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please visit our website. Additionally, donations and contributions from members like you are appreciated to keep the Activist Academy and programs like this funded. 
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