Mission and Vision
The California Environmental Justice Alliance is a statewide, community-led alliance that works to achieve environmental justice by advancing policy solutions. We unite the powerful local organizing of our members in the communities most impacted by environmental hazards – low-income communities and communities of color – to create comprehensive opportunities for change at a statewide level. We build the power of communities across California to create policies that will alleviate poverty and pollution. Together, we are growing the statewide movement for environmental health and social justice.
We are working for a future where:
- All families live in a healthy neighborhood.
- Toxic industries that pollute our land, water, and health are long gone.
- Big polluting industry will be replaced by a truly green, locally based and sustainable economy.
- We no longer rely on fossil fuels and dirty energy.
- The lives of people and communities matter over corporate profits.
- There are no barriers to opportunity for low-income communities and communities of color.
- There is no discrimination in state policies and practices.
CEJA is working to build democratic, equitable solutions to pollution, poverty and racism that do not reproduce ecologically and socially harmful systems. We start with the communities who have borne the burden of pollution for decades, and lift up the leadership of those who have been impacted the most.
We are working for a democracy that values and respects the voices and needs of our most vulnerable communities and holds polluters accountable. With smart policies linked to authentic community leadership, our kids can grow up healthy, with a clean environment and access to opportunities like good careers and safe, affordable housing.
We believe a healthy economy starts with healthy communities, and that means realizing an economy where all people have jobs that are not toxic, that support our families, and keep our neighborhoods resilient. We believe that transforming our most vulnerable communities can help build a healthier, more prosperous California for everyone.
CEJA was formed in 2001. Our grassroots, community-based members recognized the need for a voice in statewide environmental policy but realized that they would be more effective and stronger if united.
Since CEJA’s inception, we have mobilized hundreds of people to California’s Capitol at critical policy junctures and engaged thousands of Latino, Asian Pacific American, African American and immigrant residents in advocating for smart policies that will win healthy communities, a healthy economy and a healthy California. Some of our recent accomplishments include:
- CEJA was a lead organization in the community-based coalition that defeated Proposition 23, an attempt by Big Oil to overturn California’s climate change laws. We mobilized communities of color to overwhelming vote NO on Prop 23 at the polls.
- CEJA has been a leader in bringing the issues of health and equity to California’s clean energy debates: In 2010, we worked to ensure that California’s goal around renewable energy (the statewide Renewable Portfolio Standard) includes provisions that encourage local renewable generation, such as consideration of local distributed generation as an alternative to building new transmission power lines.
- In 2012, we ran a ground-breaking “Solar for All” campaign (AB 1990, authored by Assemblymember Paul Fong). The bill would have created small-scale clean energy projects in low-income communities and communities of color. Although the bill died, the campaign galvanized the movement to demand small-scale renewables in environmental justice communities, won policy champions on our issues, and mobilized hundreds of community members, community-based organizations, environmental groups, solar producers, and progressive business groups to support our efforts.
- CEJA won a huge victory by ensuring San Diego Gas & Electric did not get approval to build two new dirty power plants in 2013.
- CEJA helped push the California Environmental Protection Agency to adopt one of the first official cumulative impact screening tools in the country, the CalEnviroScreen. The tool identifies zip codes throughout California that face a deadly combination of socioeconomic stressors, public health burdens and high pollution levels. With a scientific method of identifying highly impacted communities, decision-makers can target programs and resources to help transform our communities. This is a cornerstone of our Green Zones Initiative
- We have hosted four highly successful Community Congresos, which brought between 150-200 community leaders and advocates to the Capitol to engage in grassroots advocacy, skills sharing and networking.