Kena Cador

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California
  • Sponsored by Apple, O'Melveny & Myers LLP
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school Georgetown University Law Center
  • Issue area Civil Rights/Civil Liberties
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Kena worked to ensure disadvantaged unincorporated communities in California’s Central Valley had equitable access to safe water and other basic municipal services through advocacy, litigation, and public education.

Californians in Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties lack reliable access to basic municipal services including safe, affordable water. This problem is particularly acute for residents of the counties’ 200 disadvantaged unincorporated communities—totaling 300,000 residents, and primarily comprised of low-income immigrants and people of color—where many residents live on less than $34,000 a year and devote up to 20 percent of their annual income to buy bottled water. The consequences are dire: disadvantaged community residents face higher rates of health complications and food insecurity, decreased educational opportunities, and ultimately fall deeper into poverty.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Kena has:

  • Secured statewide translations of water quality reports provided to the public, allowing greater access to information for limited English proficient populations throughout the state of California;
  • Provided public comment to the State Water Board, which lead to the establishment of health protective standards for a carcinogenic chemical known as 123 TCP;
  • With sponsor pro bono support, developed training materials and workshop information to empower communities to advocate on behalf of themselves on water and sanitation infrastructure issues;
  • Collaborated with 18 community groups and organizations;
  • Conducted survey of resident needs, and helped developed a new community group in an unincorporated community in Fresno County;
  • With sponsor pro bono support, researched and published a report about the Human Right to Water in California;
  • Laid groundwork for relevant impact litigation work following conclusion of Fellowship.

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Kena plans to continue working on racial and economic justice issues.

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