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Law Environmental Justice Advocates

About Us

Advocate n. 1. One that argues for a cause; a supporter or defender: an advocate of civil rights. 2. One that pleads in another’s behalf; an intercessor: advocates for abused children and spouses. 3. A lawyer.

-Dictionary.com

Mission: Advocate for and support, through direct action and the law, communities’ efforts toward environmental justice.

EJA is a Lewis & Clark Law School student group that supports and advocates for communities’ efforts toward environmental justice through direct action and the law. EJA partners with and assists local individuals and entities whose communities are disproportionately impacted by (or in danger of being impacted by) environmental degradation. The group works to educate the Lewis & Clark community about local, national, and international environmental justice issues through a major conference, speakers, community tours, and projects in order to provide better service to community partners and prepare interested students to pursue environmental justice in their chosen careers.

EJA is and always has been student-driven. The group was established by a few students in 2000. Since then, EJA has been actively involved in air quality testing and community building in Northeast Portland, provided legal assistance to neighborhood organizations facing freeway expansion along the I-5 corridor, and supported union efforts to prevent farm worker exposure to toxic fumes. [Projects] In addition, the group worked with law faculty, especially the environmental and natural resource law faculty, to integrate environmental justice tenets into Lewis & Clark’s existing curriculum. They have successfully lobbied for adjunct professors to teach an environmental justice survey course and a seminar class to be taught once a year.[Academics]. In 2006 and 2007, the group organized two Environmental Justice Conferences, which drew a long list of local and statewide activists, government workers, and community organizers as well as students.

EJA continues its academic and activist efforts. The group is involved especially with Northeast Portland communities, and is also working on increasing scholarly and practical learning opportunities through Lewis & Clark Law School. The group regularly partners with other student groups to bring speakers to campus, sponsor events, and work on projects of joint interest.

EJA Leadership

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2013-2014 (pictured left to right) 

  • Kevin Hayes, Secretary 

Kevin Hayes is from North Texas, where he organized with landowners to resist fracking and the Keystone XL Pipeline from infecting their homes and communities. He is seeking a J.D. with an Environmental and Natural Resources Certificate, and he expects to graduate in 2015. Kevin is involved with EJA because he believes that a better world is possible, but only if we make it.

  • Natalia Ospina, Treasurer 

I have been passionate about environmental justice since high school when I worked at a local non-profit in New Jersey that focused on environmental education and transportation justice, primarily in the Latino and African-American community. That drive has only picked up speed as I have learned more about different EJ issues in the places I have lived and through the people I have been lucky to meet. Thankfully, there is always more to learn and room for growth when working with environmental justice issues, and I look forward to doing so by participating in EJA.

  • Victoria Cole, Advertising and Events Coordinator 

Tori is a climate change activist from South Carolina who became interested in environmental justice while studying environmental policy in college. One thing led to another and her world became saturated with concepts like social capital, indigenous rights and disparate impact. She pursued these interests all the way into law school, where to her surprise environmental justice was not something many people were talking about. She is thrilled to be a part of this group and hopes to spur more action among young legal minds on this critical intersection between environmentalism and civil rights. In her spare time, if there is such a thing, Tori enjoys wilderness camping, speaking Spanish and good food. 

  • Laura Stewart, Co-President 

My name is Laura Stewart. I am a native of the Kingdom of Swaziland in Southern Africa where the extreme poverty and abuses experienced by indigenous communities have inspired my career focus; seeking and attaining environmental justice for communities of color and minority groups. I am currently studying towards a Masters Degree in Natural and Environmental Resource Law as well as serving as EJA Co-Chairperson 2013-2014. I look forward to reaching great heights with you all.

  • Samuel Diaz, Co-President 

My name is Sam Diaz, a 2L pursuing an environmental and natural resources certificate. My interest in environmental justice largely overlaps with my interest in land use, property, and zoning ordinances. Majoring in geography, sociology and anthropology in undergrad, I see environmental justice as the needed lens to create viable solutions for land use disputes. My focus in urban planning has shifted from GIS work to public transit policies, Title VI compliance research, and as much face time with Portland residents as time will allow. I started my official EJ career at OPAL as summer legal intern, continuing with research projects and community organizing. Currently, my time and energy (outside of school and our Youth Pass) is spent on analyzing transit officer policies, with special attention to instances of racial profiling. If you’re interested and want more information or to volunteer on this project, email me at smd@lclark.edu or feel free to call at 530.276.7472

  • Erica Nist-Lund, Public Relations 

From Fort Myers Beach, FL, Erica is excited to be on the West coast. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts double major in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. With previous work with The Nature Conservancy and the ACLU, she is interested in how environmental justice can advocate for better public transportation, agricultural worker rights, and women’s healthcare. She is most excited about the work EJA will be doing in 2014 alongside Bus Riders Unite! in advocating for more affordable busing options throughout Portland.

  • Heather Fossity, 1L Representative 

I grew up in a small town in Connecticut, and I received my undergraduate degree at New York University. I received a degree in Metropolitan Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies and minored Environmental Studies. I have always been interested in the intersection of various social and cultural issues, and I plan to address these through a legal and environmental lens. I am specifically very interested in transit because I am a proud bus rider myself. I have never owned a car, but at the same time I am fully aware that I have been privileged to live in accessible neighborhoods. I look forward to working toward a safe and convenient transit network for all communities. 

2011-2012 

  • President: Anna Gulotta
  • Treasurer: Jared Franz
  • Secretary: Torie Jarvis
  • Webmistress/Outreach: Liv Brumfield

 2010-2011 

  • President: Zachary Pedrazzi
  • Treasurer: Sarah Danley
  • Inclusionary Zoning Coordinators: Zachary Pedrazzi, Melissa Lineberger
  • Farmworker Coordinator: Betsy Mas
  • Hayden Island Livability Project (HILP) Coordinator: Erin Fauerbach
  • Columbia River Crossing Coordinator: Liv Brumfield
  • Air Toxics & Pesticides Coordinator: Anna Marie Gulotta
  • Brownfields Coordinator: Liv Brumfield
  • Transit Justice Coordinator: Jared Franz

2008-2009 

  • Casey Barnard 
  • Duncan Delano 
  • Jason Hirano 
  • Robin McGinnis 
  • Matt Moore 
  • Mitch Tsai 
  • Michelle Watchman 
  • Jessie Wiles 
  • Meredith Younghein 

2007-2008 

  • Casey Barnard
  • Meredith Younghein

2006-2007

  • Jamie Magdovitz
  • Kate Stebbins