9th Annual Environmental Justice Conference

South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) hosted the 9th Annual Environmental Justice Conference, Building a Clean Air Future Together, on September 13, 2023, where esteemed journalist and ABC7 news reporter Leticia Juarez served as emcee.  

The featured speaker, Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome, Senior Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), spoke with South Coast AQMD Governing Board Chair Vanessa Delgado on the importance of collaboration within organizations as well as the various environmental justice programs at CEQ. Their conversation focused on the initiatives implemented by the Administration to fundamentally change policies to uplift our overburdened communities. Click here to view their discussion

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, representing California’s 36th district, delivered an inspiring keynote address where he empowered the audience with actionable goals to champion environmental justice in their own communities. Click here to view his address.

Plenary Session: “Building a Collaborative Path to Environmental Justice: Community, Technology, and Partnerships”

Plenary Session Video

Moderator: Wayne Nastri, Executive Officer, South Coast AQMD 


  • Alejandra Nunez, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Mobile Sources, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

  • Deldi Reyes, Acting Deputy Executive Officer of Environmental Justice, California Air Resources Board 

  • Nancy Sutley, Deputy Mayor of Energy and Sustainability, City of Los Angeles 

  • Angelo Logan, Sr. Director of Environmental and Climate Justice, Liberty Hill Foundation 

The Plenary Session panelists discussed how local, state, and federal government can collaborate with communities to address longstanding issues, including approaches to creating equitable public policy and identifying funding opportunities. A particular focus was placed on goods movement, which is the largest source of air pollution in the region. The panelists deliberated on strategies to overcome technological obstacles such as building out infrastructure and implementing technology to support environmental justice communities. 

Breakout Session A: “Empowering Overburdened Communities: Bridging the Resource Gap for Environmental Justice”

Breakout Session A Video

Moderator: Kya Williams, Community Outreach Manager, Environmental Protection Network


  • Dr. Hanyang Li, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, San Diego State University 

  • Kirin Kumar, Deputy Director of Equity and Government Transformation, California Strategic Growth Council 

  • Marc Carrel, President & CEO, Breathe Southern California 

  • Jacquelyn Badejo, CEO, Watts Clean Air and Energy Committee 

This panel focused on the challenge of identifying resources and programs for community-based organizations (CBOs) dedicated to mitigating air pollution’s impact on environmental justice communities. They discussed pragmatic strategies and initiatives that offer assistance and guidance in acquiring funding and other resources. The panelists, who are experts from successful CBOs and grant-funding organizations, drew from their experiences to share best practices and insights on addressing resource disparities. 

Breakout Session B: “Unlocking Green Opportunities: Job Training and Education for Environmental Justice”

Breakout Session B Video

Moderator: Leila Lee, Director of Small Business, Economic Policy, Los Angeles Mayor’s Office


  • Jaime Alonso, Executive Director, Grid Alternatives Inland Empire

  • Estelle Reyes, Senior Vice President, LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

  • Mike Slavich, Dean of Career and Technical Education, Rio Hondo College

This panel provided information on workforce training opportunities as well as practical insights and success stories. Panelists specifically discussed workforce training for individuals affected by the transition to a green economy and how to uplift residents in disproportionately impacted communities.

For updates subscribe at www.aqmd.gov/sign-up. For other inquiries, please contact us at EJCP@aqmd.gov.

Click here to view the conference in its entirety.

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