BRANDON MOLIA: STUDENT & ACTIVIST
GLADYS LIMÓN: STAFF ATTORNEY, COMMUNITIES FOR A BETTER ENVIRONMENT
GARY GONZALES: ASO ADVISOR, L.A. HARBOR COLLEGE
Brandon Molina: No one said that being part of activism was easy, but you cannot stay silent when your community's under attack.
I was born in the United States. I am an 18-year-old freshman at Los Angeles Harvard College. My dad is Guatemalan. My mom is Salvadorian. They migrated here in 1991. My dad's a construction worker. He's a labor foreman, while my mom cleans houses.
I'm the first person in my family to go to college. I am involved with addressing environmental justice issues in communities of color and low income. More affluent communities are being protected, so it's about environmental racism. People need to know about what is going on because climate change starts in the 'hood.
Gladys Limon: Wilmington is a neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles. It's a neighborhood of over 50,000 residents, a great majority of whom are Latino. It is a working-class and low-income community, and is burdened by multiple polluting sources.
It is the third-largest oil field in the country. They have three huge refineries. You have oil drilling that's peppered throughout the neighborhood. Kids, on a daily basis, walk by operations down residential streets on their way to and from schools.
There is a huge drilling operation right next to a Little League baseball field. You have the part of Los Angeles, which is a major source of diesel pollution, you have the 710 Corridor and the Alameda Corridor, which have major diesel truck emissions. Environmental injustice is that disproportionate citing of polluting sources in particular communities that these industries feel are not going to speak up.
Brandon Molina:They're polluting our air, they're polluting our water, they're polluting our soil. My community is at a 60% higher risk of developing cancer than other communities.
There's asthma, there's a lot of bronchitis. I have asthma. My little sister's nine years old; she's having the symptoms of asthma. We have a human right to have clean air, clean water, clean soil. We shouldn't have to be subject to leaving because of the fact there's pollution. The pollution should leave, not the people.
Gary Gonzales: This year, I met Brandon. He's a new student to the ASO, which is the Associated Student Organizations. When we've talked about his things that he wants to do to make a difference in our school and our community, I was very impressed.
Brandon Molina: The first resolution I will be presenting today is the Green Technology Implementation Act. And whereas the lack of proper education-
My activism has led me into being interested in politics. I'm a Senator in my student government, and currently, I am running for president for my student government.
All these refineries, all these oil drilling sites, they fund a lot of things in our community. They fund youth and government, they fund the YMCA, they fund businesses. That's a way to silence our community.
Gary Gonzales: The LA Harvard College is thinking about restarting a program called processed plant technology to help students from our school get jobs in the refinery. Brandon doesn't feel that's a good thing; he's concerned that we shouldn't have a collaboration with them - we should work with them to find ways to not be polluting our community.
Brandon Molina: There's obviously an argument about the fact that the oil industry provides jobs, but these are jobs that not only pollute the community, but pollute the workers as well. Our community shouldn't have to settle for polluting jobs. We can do much better than that, and that's why we believe in a just transition from an economy based on oil to an economy based on clean energy. I think that we should put people over profit, not profit over people.
Gladys Limon: This is really about saving our species, our livability, our habitat. Preserving our environment as a whole for future generations and really respecting our natural resources and everything that composes the fabric of our environment that we are dependent on. It's really about self-preservation.
Brandon Molina: What if this happened in your community? What would you do to fight this? The fight will never stop until it's all shut down. That's the goal: To have no more polluters in our community.
Up, up with the people. Down, down with the [inaudible 00:05:37].
I will be loud, and we will not stop fighting until we have the right of clean air, clean water and clean soil.
Gary Gonzales: Now I'm gonna get into the election results. The students that came in second place with 36% of the 210 votes was Brandon Molina and Joseph Reyes. Our election winner was [Elijah Joe 00:06:02].
Brandon Molina: It never leaves my mind. The fight for environmental justice never leaves my mind, and that motivates me to do good in school. After I get my bachelor's in political science, I wanna go to law school. I wanna become a Civil Rights lawyer.
What we need is a healthy and sustainable community.
I wanna run for public office one day.
Climate change starts in our 'hoods, and we must represent.
Being a Congressman, a US Senator, even president one day. We'll see about that.
We will resist, we will build, and we will rise.
We need to empower one another in order to create change in our communities.