By Tia Katrina Taruc-Myers, Law Center Director of Legal Education
OK. So maybe our blog post title isn’t as eye-catching as the book club favorite (and blockbuster movie) Crazy Rich Asians... But in our world, we work with so many Enthusiastically Sustainable Asian-Americans that we couldn’t pass up Asian Pacific American Heritage Month without highlighting some of them for you!
We proudly present: Adrien Salazar, Victoria Yu, Rob Yanagida, Onki Kwan, Crystal Huang, lora jo foo, and Joel Kim! We’re pleased and honored to partner with each of these amazing enthusiasts:
Adrien is an environmental advocate, political ecologist, and poet earninghis Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He’s also a beloved Board Member of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, and committed to supporting communities in shaping policy and managing their resources to achieve community resilience, empowerment, and self-determination.
His work focuses on land and resource rights, and engaging front-line and marginalized communities in resource management and policy. He enjoys running, yoga, mindfulness meditation, and growing heirloom vegetables. Check out this photo of Adrien talking climate, jobs, and justice with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!
Victoria is a member of the Community Democracy Project (“CDP”), an all-volunteer campaign working to turn the power structure rightside up by putting the people of Oakland in charge of the entire city budget. She hosted a Policy Cafe with the Law Center to explain the ballot initiative process and CDP’s dreams for participatory budgeting. Watch the video here! Victoria works at Design Action Collective and is an investor of the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative and Alchemy Collective Cafe. When she’s not changing the world through cooperatives and volunteer-work, she reads, journals, and writes short stories about Korean genies and Pilipino time-traveling children.
Onki grew up in San Francisco, where her parents worked multiple low-paying jobs to support her and her brother. She was first exposed to local entrepreneurship when she met her karate Sensei, who immigrated to the U.S. from Nicaragua and created a karate dojo as a safe space to congregate and learn self-defense. Her upbringing informs her work as a lawyer today. Onki is a volunteer at our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe and in her day job, she counsels startups and entrepreneurs in corporate and securities laws to help create a solid legal foundation for starting, growing, and protecting their businesses.
Crystal is a grassroots community-builder with more than 10 years experience in climate solutions and activism. She co-leads People Power Solar Cooperative, which “is more than putting solar on a roof. With more than 50 members of the community behind this project as owners, we are starting to show that solar ownership is about more than clean power. It’s about community power.” She served as COO for Powerhouse, a solar incubator, and founded CrossPollinators, to foster collaboration among grassroots solutions. She’s also an Associate Producer of “Time to Choose”, a documentary film by Academy Award winning filmmaker, Charles Ferguson.
lora jo foo
lora jo foo is a retired labor attorney and organizer. Back in 2015, her No Coal in Oakland policy work was featured in the East Bay Express for her bold rejection of a $53 million investment from Utah counties if their investment was to build a coal export terminal on the Oakland waterfront.
More recently, foo lent her house as the site for People Power Solar Cooperative’s first community-owned solar project!
Before law school, Joel earned a degree in Forestry and volunteered as a counselor for years, providing emotional support to people in need. Although he enjoyed helping his clients find community resources, he was frustrated that he couldn’t help them with the numerous legal challenges they faced. Now, he’s a staff attorney at OneJustice, where he pursues innovative approaches to increasing access to justice for all because he believes that all people deserve meaningful access to the legal system. He has also worked with the Homeless Action Center, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the Christian Legal Aid for Los Angeles and the National Housing Law Project. He brings all of this experience with him when he volunteers at our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe!
An NYU School of Law graduate, Rob advises cooperatives, nonprofits and businesses in navigating legal issues, such as entity formation, contracts, finance, and governance. He’s also a long-standing volunteer attorney at our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe!
Are you also an enthusiastically sustainable Asian-American that wants to get involved with the Law Center? Click here to sign up for events, volunteer shifts, membership, and more!