Juan Flores – A Voice for Environmental Justice in California’s San Joaquin Valley
In the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley, there is a dedicated advocate for environmental justice, Juan Flores. As a Community Organizer for the Center for Race, Poverty, and the Environment (CRPE), Juan works tirelessly to champion the rights of low-income and Latino communities disproportionately affected by air and water pollution in Kern County. Born in Colima, Mexico, and raised in Mexicali, Juan’s journey as an organizer is deeply rooted in his own experiences as the proud son of farmworker parents and an immigrant to the United States.
A Journey of Advocacy and Empowerment:
Juan Flores’ early experiences as a farm laborer in the grape fields during his summer breaks from high school profoundly influenced his commitment to advocacy and empowerment. As a Family Advocate in Delano, he tirelessly advocated for low-income families, laying the foundation for his future work in the field of environmental justice.
Today, as a Community Organizer with CRPE, Juan focuses on advocating for an end to extreme methods of oil extraction, particularly in the Central Valley. His work centers on empowering communities that are disproportionately burdened by air and water pollution. Juan’s dedication is rooted in the understanding that the San Joaquin Valley, with its low-income and Latino communities, is one of the poorest and most environmentally unhealthy regions in the country. He believes that the impacts of environmental injustice in this region reverberate throughout the nation, making his advocacy even more crucial.
Building Leaders and Fostering Accountability:
Juan Flores’ approach to organizing is unique; he prioritizes developing leaders within the community. He firmly believes in holding everyone accountable and ensuring that the voices of marginalized communities are heard. Juan’s work goes beyond professional relationships; he considers those he works with as compadres and comadres, a bond strengthened through shared life experiences and celebrations.
Coalition Building for Climate Solutions:
In his pursuit of environmental justice, Juan understands the power of working in a coalition. As a core member of the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), he collaborates with like-minded organizations to advance policies that protect low-income communities and communities of color during times of crisis. He firmly advocates for equitable, community-led climate solutions that will aid California’s transition to 100% renewable energy. Juan’s commitment to a swift and just transition involves protecting workers, communities, and the environment, ensuring that the benefits of a sustainable future are shared by all.
Juan Flores’ journey as a Community Organizer is a testament to the transformative power of advocacy and community leadership. From his roots in farm labor to his impactful work in the fight against environmental disparities in California’s San Joaquin Valley, he continues to advocate for those most impacted by environmental injustice. Juan’s vision for a just and sustainable future, built on community and coalition work, inspires us all to join hands in the pursuit of environmental justice. As he stands as a finalist for the esteemed Dr. Espanola Jackson Energy Justice Award, we express our gratitude for his remarkable contributions.