2015 Summer Interns

Q: Why did you decide to intern with CRLA?

A: CRLA’s work to empower rural communities directly aligns with the passion for social and environmental justice that brought me to law school. I was exposed to the environmental injustice impacting rural communities through my prior work for a community organization dealing with issues surrounding equal access to safe drinking water in the Central Valley, and through the experience of my grandmother who lives in a rural, unincorporated area where the water is contaminated with heavy metals, arsenic, and nitrates. Lacking safe drinking water and lacking legal resources are both consequences of severe power inequality throughout the Valley, and CRLA’s work shifts this imbalance by giving poor communities and communities of color the tools to effectively advocate for themselves, engage in the legal system, and use the law to protect and improve their environment. Working with CRLA this summer has been an opportunity to build towards a more equitable Central Valley for communities like my own, and has equipped me with the knowledge and experience to keep fighting in the future.

Q: What are projects are you working on this summer with CRLA?

A: I am interning with the Community Equity Initiative (CEI), which is a program that aims to address and eliminate social, political, and environmental factors that negatively impact disadvantaged, unincorporated communities. A major issue for our office's client communities is the lack of affordable housing, so I have been researching, reviewing and writing comments on local housing policies to ensure governments are compliance with planning and zoning regulations and are building adequate affordable housing. I have also had the opportunity to work on drought housing relocation assistance, fee waivers for appealing local government decisions, and language access policies of local public agencies.

Another exciting project I worked on this summer involved supporting members of a low-income, community of color in their effort to prevent a recycling plant from crushing cars in their neighborhood. Together we were able to demonstrate to the Board of Supervisors that this practice was causing harm to the community’s health and environment, and was a nuisance inconsistent with the local zoning ordinance.

Q: What are some of your other non-legal interests?

A: This summer I am living with my grandma on our family farm in French Camp, so in my free time I am usually picking vegetables, playing with our pit bull named Mochi, and eating popsicles on the patio.


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