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NorCal Network Events

  • NorCal & Beyond Events 

  • February 1 - March 7, 2024
    Webinar Series on Community-Engaged Research for Environmental Justice

    The Initiative’s Chad Raphael co-organized a webinar series based on the new open-access book, Ground Truths: Community-Engaged Research for Environmental Justice, co-edited by Raphael and Martha Matsuoka (Occidental College), from University of California Press. Webinars addressed the special contributions that community-engaged research makes to environmental justice, relevant research methods, and how this work has influenced public health, law and policy, food justice, community economic development, and urban planning. The webinars were co-sponsored by the Initiative and Occidental College’s Urban & Environmental Policy Institute.

    Webinar recordings

  • October 26-27, 2022, University of California - Santa Cruz
    UCSC All-In Conference presentations

    Members of the Initiative and their research partners presented at the All-In Conference at University of California - Santa Cruz. Chad Raphael and collaborator Martha Matsuoka (Occidental College) co-presented on how to align the choice of research methods with community partners’ organizing strategies. Chad also organized a panel on “New Tools for Building Community-Academic Collaborations,” in which he presented on SCU’s Laudato Si’ across the Curriculum professional development program and co-presented a framework that academic partners can use to prepare for community-engaged research by considering their positionality (with collaborators Matsuoka and Floridalma Boj Lopez of UCLA). On the same panel, Iris Stewart-Frey co-presented with Nicholas Jensen of California Rural Legal Assistance on their project, “Collaboration for Safe Water: Joint Advocacy for Water Justice in the Central Valley.” And Chris Bacon, Fernando Fernandez Leiva (Sacred Heart Community Services - La Mesa Verde), and Andy Ollove (Fresh Approach) co-presented “Collaborative Program Evaluation During Crisis: Toward an Agroecological and Social Justice Approach to Emergency Food Distribution During Covid-19.”

  • June 9, 2022, Santa Clara University
    Community Perspectives and Tribal Voices Part II

    James Muller, Principal Environmental Planner for Integrated Regional Water Management Program and grant manager for the Bay Area Disadvantaged Community and Tribal Partners Project and Alexander Tavizon, Bay Area Tribal Project Manager, California Indian Environmental Alliance presented a preliminary finding in their assessment of the Bay Area Integrated Regional Water Management Program, followed by a panel discussion with Gregg Castro, [t’rowt’raahl Salinan/rumsien-ramaytush Ohlone] Culture Director of the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone (ARO), Kanyon “Coyote Woman” (Hahashkani) Sayers-Roods, [Mutsun-Ohlone] Two Spirit Indigenous relative, Co-Founder of CEO of Kanyon Konsulting LLC, and active leader in the Native Community and Charlie Toledo [Towa] Director of Suscol Intertribal Council, Napa CA. Organized and moderated by the Initiative’s Iris Stewart-Frey and Clare Pace (UC Berkeley), the event was co-sponsored by the Initiative, the Northern California Environmental Justice Network for Community-Academic Partnerships, SCU’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the UC Berkeley Water Equity Science Shop, Stanford’s Environmental Justice Working Group, and SJSU’s Department of Environmental Studies

    Webinar recording 

    Securing Human Right to Water in Tribal Communities Slides

  • May 11, 2022, Santa Clara University
    Community Perspectives and Tribal Voices Part I

    Bidtah Becker, Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs and Border Relations, CalEPA, and Heather Tanana, College Of Law, University of Utah discussed tribal water issues, including access, infrastructure, quality, operations and maintenance. The presenters discussed the history and status of tribal water access, as well as opportunities created by new funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the state of California’s efforts to use its first-in-the-nation law establishing a human right to water to make this right a reality in Indigenous communities.  Organized and moderated by the Initiative’s Iris Stewart-Frey and Clare Pace (UC Berkeley), the event was co-sponsored by the Initiative, the Northern California Environmental Justice Network for Community-Academic Partnerships, SCU’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the UC Berkeley Water Equity Science Shop, Stanford’s Environmental Justice Working Group, and SJSU’s Department of Environmental Studies.

    Webinar recording


  • October 12-14, 2021, Santa Clara University
    Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education

    SCU co-sponsored this three-day virtual event, which delivered live interactive sessions, inspiring keynote presenters, and engaging networking opportunities for innovative professionals and campus change agents, plus eighty days of on-demand access (through December 31). As we all face intensifying climate-related disasters, a global pandemic, and ongoing systemic racism, many people feel uncertain and apprehensive about the future of sustainability. With a theme of “The future is …”, this year’s GCSHE reflected on these struggles and invited participants to recommit themselves to the urgent work of building a future that is sustainable, equitable, and resilient.

  • September 15, 2021
    National EJ Education and Teaching Workshop

    This workshop convened educators to share promising practices and approaches for teaching environmental justice in our institutions and communities. Keynote panelists included Dr. David Pellow (University of California - Santa Barbara), Dr. Julie Sze (University of California - Davis), and Adriana Fernandez (Nuestra Casa’s EJ Parent Academy). Breakout discussions focused on teaching about food justice, water justice, climate justice, toxics, Indigenous-led curricula, the green jobs pipeline, and outdoor education. The Initiative co-organized this workshop with Stanford’s Environmental Justice Working Group and the Northern California University-Community Network for Environmental Justice.

    Two members from our initiative hosted presentations with members from other groups. Iris Frey-Stewart discussed tips on how to effectively teach water justice, while Chris Bacon shared insightful ways of teaching food justice. 

    Watch the recording here

  • July 8, 2021
    Water, Climate, and Equity Panel: Collaborations for Environmental Justice in Northern California

    This virtual panel highlighted the work and collaborations of long-term water justice organizations, local government entities, and academic partners in Northern California. Panelists shared best practices to document and reduce inequities in water access and affordability, flood risk, uneven exposures to water pollution, and in partnerships.

    1. Drinking water well vulnerability underground water sustainability planning. Darcy Bostic, Pacific Institute
    2. Climate Change and Coastal Risks in Santa Cruz, California. Dr. Tiffany Wise-West, Sustainability and Climate Action Manager, City of Santa Cruz and Dr. Costanza Rampini, Environmental Studies Dept., San José State University
    3. Community-based research partnerships in environmental justice communities in the Central Coast and San Joaquin Valley. Heather Lukacs, Community Water Center
    4. Driving policy changes in addressing nitrate pollution in Central Valley domestic wells through the CV-SALTS program. Marisol Aguilar, CA Rural Legal Assistance and Iris Stewart-Frey, Santa Clara University and Environmental Justice & Common Good Initiative

    More than 60 participants enjoyed the lively discussion, resources sharing and an optional coffee chat. This event was organized by the Northern California Network for Community-Academic Partnerships in Environmental Justice.

    Photo Credit: ATA

    2021_07_08 Water Climate Equity Panel Presentation

    Link to Water, Climate and Equity Panel Recording

  • May 4, 2021
    Research supports planning for climate change adaptation and sustainable water resource management in Nicaragua

    A workshop co-organized by community partner organization ASDENIC in northern Nicaragua and the Water and Climate Justice program of the EJ&CGI (Iris Stewart-Frey and Ed Maurer)  focused on climate change adaptation and sustainable water management in 13 communities surrounding an ecological park in northern Nicaragua. The workshop brought together representatives from water committees, the mayor’s office in Condega, ASDENIC, and academic researchers. Stewart-Frey and Maurer presented research work examining climatic trends and their impacts on water resources, and the exploration of locally relevant measures of drought, water availability and the nature of the midsummer drought to support planning for the ecological park that serves as the source for all local water as well as adaptation strategies for better understanding and managing these changes. In the planning portion of the workshop, water committee representatives discussed monitoring and adaptation strategies and how further research may support efforts towards greater water security,  making drinking water safer, and better protection of the ecological park and watershed.   EJCGI,  Alcaldía de Condega and ASDENIC.

  • April 27, 2021
    Advocating for Communities Facing Groundwater Contamination

    Iris Stewart-Frey (ESS, EJ&CGI) and Lilah Foster (ESS ‘21,Clare Boothe Luce scholar) together with partners from the California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) were invited to present their research on nitrate groundwater contamination at a recent Central Valley-wide CV-SALTS workshop held by the Central Valley Water Board. Nitrates and pesticide contamination of shallow groundwater is widespread in the region and presents a serious risk for human health. Many disadvantaged communities are not connected to public water systems and draw their water from domestic wells tapping contaminated water. The Water Board is currently establishing the regulatory framework for the CV-SALTS program, which, instead of regulating individual nitrate emitters, seeks collaborative approaches from emitters towards nitrate reduction and provisions of safe drinking water for established management zones . 

  • April 27, 2021
    Presentation at International Conference on Queer Ecologies

    Zsea Bowmani was invited to speak about his research and forthcoming publication on Black queer ecofeminism as a means to challenge the underlying beliefs that drive social and environmental inequities while also encouraging cross-disciplinary dialogue to develop equitable legal responses to the climate crisis and other instances of environmental degradation. International Conference on Queer Ecologies was organized by Department of English and Cultural Studies at Christ Deemed to Be University, Bangalore, India.



  • April 22, 2021
    People’s Earth Day Rally in San Francisco

    Law and advocacy's team joined Greeaction for the People’s Earth Day Rally in front of the San Francisco City Hall alongside activists, community members, and Bayview Hunters Point and Treasure Island residents to call for a moratorium on Lennar’s Shipyard development, the declaration of a public health emergency, and the full retesting and cleanup of the Shipyard Superfund site and Treasure Island.  Legal research and advocacy support involved 2 undergraduate students.

  • April 14, 2021
    Fighting for Clean Air - Community-Academic Partnerships for Clean Air in Stockton

    Autumn Inman (ESS '21) and Iris Stewart-Frey (ESS and the Environmental Justice and the Common Good Initiative) gave a presentation on "Sources of Air Pollution in Stockton and the Boggs Tract  Neighborhood" at a workshop entitled "Fighting for Clean Air - Community-Academic Partnerships for Clean Air in Stockton" on April 14th. The work Autumn presented grew out of a ESS senior capstone project conducted together with teammates Moni Adeyi (ESS, '21) and Bri Platt (ESS, '21), and followed up by EJ&CGI research assistant Meghan Adams (ESS, '21). The student team worked in coordination with student groups at Stanford University and UC Berkeley. Stewart-Frey co-organized the workshop together with leaders from local environmental justice community organizations, Catholic Charities, Little Manila Rising, and Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, as well as colleagues from Stanford University and UC Berkeley.

  • January 29, 2021
    Long-term tribal partnerships in the Klamath Basin: Advancing Karuk tribal sovereignty & self-determination through water quality

    134 community members, students, staff, and faculty from several groups and universities joined the conversation with  Ron Reed (Karuk Tribe), Susan Fricke (Water Quality Program Manager for the Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources.), and Sibyl Diver ( research scientist at Stanford University in the Department of Earth System Science). The presenters focused on Long-term tribal partnerships in the Klamath Basin: Advancing Karuk sovereignty and self-determination through water quality.  A highlight of the presentation was the good news and outcome of community-based research and 20 years of Karuk activism led to a Nov 2020 agreement to bring down three dams in the Klamath region by 2023, which will restore water health and strengthen Karuk cultural ceremonies.

    Photo and Credit: Tribal leaders advocating for Klamath dam removal, Berkshire-Hathaway Shareholders meeting, 2007.
    Photo by Regina Chichizola, Klamath Riverkeeper. 

    >>watch the video

  • October 15, 2020
    Building Community-Academic Partnerships for EJ

    For the NorCal University-Community network, Iris Stewart-Frey co-organized “Voices of the Community: Building Community-Academic Partnerships for Environmental Justice in the northern San Joaquin Valley”  in collaboration with the Tuolumne River Trust (Modesto Office)  and the Environmental Justice Program of Catholic Charities (Stockton) and collaborators at Stanford University. Presentations focused on climate change planning (by SCU’s CJ Gabbe), air pollution (by Nayamin Martinez of Central California Environmental Justice Network), and food security (by Stergios Roussos, UC Merced Community University Research and Action for Justice).

    Building Partnerships NSanJoaquin Valley10.15.2020 Slides


  • September 10, 2020
    Learning about 15 years of multi-sector funding of community-academic partnerships in the South Bay

    The panel discussion focusing on environmental justice funding and government partnerships was an inspiring session on SJSU's funding model for CommUniverCity, their anchor institution program working in partnership with the City of San Jose.  CommUniverCity is a nationally recognized place-based community engaged learning model that operates in about 1.5 mile radius around SJSU. It has been working with San Jose City and other organizational partners for 15 years. With a $670,000 annual budget, they are able to involve 5,000+ low-income residents and 1,700 SJSU students per year in a long-term investment responding to community priorities. During the panel, the presenters shared how they have successfully funded their own EJ work and attendees identified common challenges that they should address moving forward and how to improve collaboration. The panelists included Katherine Cushing (CommUniverCity’s Executive Director), Imelda Rodriguez (CommUniverCity’s Community Director) and Michael Gonzalez (City of San Jose Environmental Services). This event  was hosted by SJSU and the Environmental Justice & the Common Good Initiative at Santa Clara University.

    CommUniverCity Model Slides 09.10.2020

  • September 1st, 2020
    Testimony on the Food Systems and Public Comment Relating to Item 10: Food, Restaurants, Agriculture, and Health Access Initiative

    The South Bay Food Justice Collaborative's  submitted a comment to  contribute to SCC board of supervisors meeting agenda item #10 regarding the Food, Agriculture and Health Access Initiative (FAHAI) Referral and a report back that took place online on september 1st, part of this agenda packet.  Christopher Bacon worked with an intern Katherine Omalley on this policy doc, and also collaborated with colleagues from La Mesa Verde, Second Harvest Food Bank, Stanford and others with the goal to build more equity into the emergency food security response and also try to build back a more sustainable food system


  • August 12 and 14, 2020
    Research team presented at the Modesto General Plan meeting.

    Research team Iris Stewart- Frey, Chloe Gentile-Montgomery and Meghan Adams presented a few maps and ideas regarding data and communities at two meetings that TRT and Catholic Charities convened on August 12 and 14 for Modesto Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities.

    08,2020 Modesto Research Contribution to Community Action Plan

    Image: Mapping of wells and nitrate contamination 2010-2020

  • July 14th, 2020
    Models of community partnerships for environmental justice , applications and impacts: Challenges and solutions for supporting community partners

    The Northern California Network for Community-Academic partnerships in Environmental Justice, and the Environmental Justice and Common Good Initiative in collaboration with colleagues from Stanford University and UC Berkeley hosted a virtual workshop on successful models for community-academic engagement for environmental justice. The goal of this workshop was to present models, illuminate issues, and pose solutions around community partner engagement. Over 60 representatives from community and government organizations, and Northern California academic institutions attended, The workshop included presentations on different models for sustained collaboration on environmental justice work for change from the academic and community partner perspective. Models presented and referenced included theUC Davis Center for Regional Change, the UC Berkeley Water Equity Science Shop, and the Stanford Future Bay Initiative, CommUniversity at SJSU, and the Environmental Justice and the Common Good Initiative at SCU. The event sparked a conversation about EJ in a grounded way that offers practical solutions to common challenges that researchers and community organizations face in building effective partnerships.

    Slides: Models of Community Partnerships Presentations. July 14, 2020 Worshop

  • June 24, 2020
    ONLINE: Environmental justice concerns in the northern Central Valley region.

    On June 24th, 2020 TheThe Environmental Justice and the Common Good Initiative at SCU, jointly with the Tuolumne River Trust (Modesto Office)  and the Environmental Justice Program of Catholic Charities (Stockton) and collaborators at Stanford University and UC Berkeley hosted a listening session for community environmental justice concerns in the northern Central Valley region.  Over 60 representatives of 22 community and local government organizations and six academic institutions participated. Panel presentations on community-academic partnerships for environmental justice were followed by discussions in breakout groups that covered  six topics: Food access in the context of Covid-19, safe access to parks/open space, sustainable water and climate justice planning, affordable housing & sustainable transportation, air quality and economics & green jobs especially under Covid-19. Common emerging themes were the need for financial support, collaboration, and expertise, the need to follow-up with networking and collaborative effort with the goal of developing long-term partnerships. 

    June24 Worshop Notes EJConcerns Central Valley

    June24Workshop Slides EJConcerns Central Valley

    Image: Modesto City Entrance


  • April 3, 2020
    ONLINE: Workshop on real-time campaigns in EJ: Amah Mutsun fight against mining at Juristac

    The Environmental Justice and the Common Good Initiative at SCU, jointly with collaborators at San Jose State and Stanford Universities, hosted an online workshop with about 60 participants from 11 universities, including SCU, SJSU, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, USF, and more, as well as the City of San Jose and the Community Water Center. A focal topic of the gathering was a workshop by Valentin Lopez, Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, and Michelle Glowa (UC Santa Cruz) on the role of real-time campaigns in environmental justice teaching and research. Chairman Lopez shared updates on the Campaign to Protect Juristac, historically tribal lands in southern Santa Clara County under siege by the potential granting of a mining permit. The gathering inspired participants to expand regional networking on environmental justice, and share teaching and research expertise in support of the campaign. In addition, the Northern California Environmental Justice Network followed up with a joint letter to the Santa Clara County Planning commission urging the protection of the Juristac lands. The letter was signed by 80 members from various Northern California Institutions. Another letter from the Santa Clara University Community was signed by 369 supporters.

    Workshop Agenda:Real-time campaigns as a teaching tool in EJ

    Condensed Workshop Notes 04032020

    Letter of Support Juristac NorCalEJ Network

    Juristac Support Letter SCU

    >>watch the video

    Image: Valentin Lopez


  • March 6, 2020
    Jahi Chappell - Food Justice

    Jahi Chappell, author of Beginning to End Hunger (UC Press), and recently-appointed Executive Director of Food First, presented recent research and future prospects for food systems change at scales ranging from cities to international policy fora convened by the United Nations, drawing on his study in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He also shared lessons for how university researchers can collaborate productively and respectfully with communities, which helped to inform the Initiative’s ongoing work with the emerging South Bay Food Justice Collaborative. Chappell’s talk was co-sponsored by SCU’s Center for Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Leavey School of Business.
    Image: Jahi Chappell

    >>watch the video

  • March 6, 2020
    Food Justice in the South Bay Half Day Workshop

    The EJ and Common Good Initiative's emerging food justice program collaborated with the University of California Cooperative Extension and community-based food justice groups, including Fresh Approach, La Mesa Verde, Valle Verde, and Veggielution, to organize a half-day workshop at SCU. The workshop brought together 38 South Bay organizations working on food justice, farming, and public health issues for learning, dialogue, and exploration of potential research and social change partnerships to leverage collective impact. Participants shared their work and learned from food justice leaders in the wider Bay Area.

    Photo Credit: Isabel Medina, Fresh Approach

    >> read the South Bay Food Justice Workshop Agenda
    >> read the South Bay Food Justice workshop Executive Summary