Latino Environmental Advancement and Policy (LEAP) Project – (Fresno, San Joaquin Valley, CA)
LEAP is a Latino-Valley based environmental justice community institution in Fresno California. LEAP’s mission is to engage San Joaquin Valley communities to increase social justice awareness, strengthen grassroots leadership and empower Latinos, Immigrants and Youth to achieve environmental sustainable justice while improving community health.
Current Campaigns include:
Addams Community Diesel Mitigation Initiative – LEAP’s partnership with the grassroots Latino Immigrant environmental justice action group, Addams Committee for Health and a Better Environment or Comité ASMA (Name in Spanish), has led to a community-based action research effort to ultimately mitigate the amount and impact of diesel emissions around the local elementary school. LEAP has established a Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee to assist in the initiative including experts from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, CSU Fresno and Medical Advocates for Healthy Air.
Latino Healthy Energy Project – Since last year, numerous conventional fossil fueled power plants have been proposed and sited in the San Joaquin Valley making it possible with the use of Emission Reduction Credits or Offsets. This process and practice has undermined environmental justice communities already disproportionately impacted by pollution sources. Currently, the farm worker low-income community of Parlier is the mark for the next 565 MW power plant. LEAP is engaging in community education and a petition campaign in Parlier, Reedley, Selma and other communities to push back on the project while promoting clean renewable energy options for electricity generation.
Valley Green Jobs for Justice – working in collaboration with labor, non-profit, educational/vocational, economic development and community based organizations in the establishment of the San Joaquin Valley Green Jobs Coalition (SJVGJC). The mission developed by the partners is to enhance healthy and sustainable communities in the San Joaquin Valley through the creation of green jobs. We support the empowerment of communities to achieve socio-economic and environmental equity through the development and regeneration of resources.
SJVGJC DRAFT GOALS:
1.) Partner with existing efforts through member representatives.
2.) Advance public policy that will enhance regional as well as local green job efforts. i.e. resources, programs and services
3.) Create opportunities for sustainable, high quality jobs through community outreach, training and education.
4.) Through innovative, comprehensive, social environmental programs, ensure the health and welfare of said communities.
LEADERSHIP – Develop leadership for a healthy popular participatory democracy in Valley Latino communities. Build capacity from the individual to the regional via community action committees, networks and coalitions to effectively engage in land use planning and regional policy processes.
HEALTH – Collaborate with agencies, organizations, grassroots groups, policy makers and industry to advance the environmental health of all through the adoption of enforceable measures, alternative technologies, renewable energy and necessary resources.
ADVOCACY – Advocacy to prevent accumulation of pollution sources in and around Latino communities. through community based campaigns to avoid the perpetualization of disproportionate impacts on the most vulnerable in society, the politically disenfranchised, the low-income and people of color.
COMMUNITY – Create locally focused community partnerships between workforce, social, mental health providing orgs, community residents, EJ leaders and other entities, including governmental agencies to mitigate or eliminate local pollution and the impacts thereof.
LEAP was recently founded (January 2008 ) by Rey León, a first generation Mexican-American, self identified as Chicano, and son of Bracero farm workers with a 15 year track record as a Valley activist and organizer. In the past 9 years he has been active in co-founding numerous partnerships to advance social justice and community self determination in the eight county region of the Valley. Mr. León has five years in successfully advancing air quality public policy, environmental justice and community engagement on environmental health issues. León is co-founder of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition and currently Vice-Chair.