Photo of Jina Kim

Jina Kim

  • Hosted by Communities for a Better Environment
  • Sponsored by The Clorox Company Foundation
  • Service location Oakland, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Environmental Justice, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Jina (she/her/hers) advocates with low-income residents of color in East Oakland, California for environmental justice and community resilience through direct representation, education, and policy implementation.

Racial justice and environmental justice are inextricably linked. Amidst current crises like the racial disparities of the COVID-19 pandemic are the persistent crises in environmental justice communities like East Oakland—pollution, poverty, and more—which are exacerbated by climate change and an extractive economy that prioritizes industry profits over residents’ health. In such globally challenging times, East Oakland is also grappling with how its future will look and who will control its fate, as it faces unreliable energy, serious respiratory health issues, and displacement.

Low-income residents of color in East Oakland need a comprehensive response that will build community resilience, capacity, and self-determination, supporting their self-empowerment toward a more just and sustainable future.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the first year of the Fellowship, Jina has:

  • Collaborated on and submitted 17 briefs and comments advocating for energy justice to state administrative agencies
  • Presented to community members about microgrids and community energy resilience
  • Moderated the “Project Development in Frontline Communities” panel at the California Climate Policy Summit in Sacramento, CA
  • Collaborated with over 20 groups and participated in over 65 coalition meetings to expand project’s reach and impact
  • Led pro bono work on educational materials and legal review training

Next Steps

In the next year, Jina plans to:

  • Initiate litigation against a long-time local polluter
  • Finish laying the groundwork for a clean microgrid project in East Oakland
  • Bring community vision into community benefits negotiations

During the beginning of my family's story in America, we struggled to survive in a foreign place with no voice and no power. These early experiences taught me the importance of listening to and amplifying the voices of people who our society often silences, and motivated my decision to pursue community lawyering.

Jina Kim /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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