CCEJN wants to welcome our new organizer, Cesar G. Aguirre. Cesar started with us on April 2017 and will take lead on our work in South Kern & other county regions, below he gives some info about why he wanted to work with us and his experience in the first month on the job with CCEJN:
” I had volunteered with CCEJN a few times before and was familiar with the staff. The mission and goals of CCEJN were aligned with my personal values and I was looking forward to work with like-minded individuals. CCEJN does a lot of work in the community and I have had experience working in the target communities. I used to work with Community for a Better Arvin and got my first experience working with communities there. Now that I work with CCEJN the reach is further, I have traveled out of my hometown of Bakersfield very often this last month.
I have participated in a series of engagements with community members and representatives. These activities range from canvassing in communities to gathering testimonies, to speaking in front of the California Air Resource Board and presenting the testimonies in both Fresno and Sacramento. A big part has also been getting to know the allies and partners we work with. There have been lots of new names and faces but I soon hope to be well acquainted with all of them.
I have very much enjoyed my first month and I hope to stay this active and engaged in the community to make a tangible difference. ”
Cesar with a month has already been active, here are some of the activities he has been a part of:
On May 20th our new community organizer, Cesar Aguirre, Was invited to be co- master of ceremonies for the event. His work is centered around oil and gas operations so he was a good fit for the “Oil money oil” rally. he explains his first hand experience below:
“The rally was an exciting new frontier for me, I had never been a MC for any event! it was an exciting step in the first month of the job. I felt comfortable addressing the crowd because I saw familiar faces in the crowd from my years as a volunteer and also from the short time working with CCEJN. Community based organizations from all over came to share their stories of struggle and victory in the fight against oil and gas in California. I shared testimonies and information from Kern to let our partners and allies at the rally know about what we work on.
Kern has Over 70 percent of the oil production of California, I was excited to represent Kern for CCEJN in Sacramento and listen to everyone else who had been or is in the struggle to get oil money out. Some of the speakers were native Americans who also participated in the DAPL protests at standing rock. A resident of Richmond also came to echo the victory of keeping chevron out of their local politics, despite an over 3-million-dollar dump to skew local politics in their favor. Introducing speakers and being inspired by the speeches of others was fun, but the march was more fun!
During the march I found the crowd to be lacking a little energy. So, I started shouting over the bullhorns to get the energy up in the crowd. Eventually I was given a bull horn and placed at the front of the march to lead the chants! I was not alone in keeping the crowd yelling, my enthusiasm was as infectious as I hoped and chant leaders emerged all over the march making the crowd one big unified siren of environmental justice. This was especially important because the loud crowd passed the democratic convention as it was in session and in front of the governor mansion!”
We at CCEJN wish to continue this great work and hope to continue collaborating in future EJ efforts.