Demetria EspinozaBoard President
Demi Espinoza serves as the Senior Equity & Policy Manager for Safe Routes to School National Partnership, where she seeks to uplift transportation equity and environmental justice policy change by way of bringing more investments to walk and biking infrastructure. She works to enhance regional transportation policies through funding and technical assistance. For the past four years, Demi has worked throughout the Inland Empire region, particularly focusing on partnerships in under-served areas to build safer and environmentally friendly active transportation options. Demi is the daughter of working class Mexican immigrants and the youngest of ten children raised in Riverside, California. She was inspired by family to purse education to help advance social justice in her community. She earned a degree in Sociology at California State University San Bernardino. Prior to joining Safe Routes, Demi worked on policy advocacy with a coalition of 20 community-based organizations of color elevating racial equity and climate justice. She has also worked as Regional Field Manager with Equality California in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties on voter education and community organizing for LGBTQ equality.
Kareem GongoraFinancial Officer
Kareem Gongora is a graduate of Fontana Unified, first generation college student, and parent to two Fontana Unified students. He attended Sequoia Middle School’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program and A.B. Miller High School in 2001. Upon graduation in 2005, Gongora would go on to attend Concordia University Irvine and enter the Intercultural Scholar Leadership program, designed to cultivate diverse leaders.
Abigail MedinaBoard Member
Abigail Medina is a dedicated public servant whose passion for community advancement and educational improvement stems from years of advocacy in San Bernardino and throughout the Inland Empire. Abigail’s mission is to give a voice to underserved and underrepresented communities.
Penny NewmanBoard Member Emeritus
Penny was added to the Board as Board Member Emeritus. She provides the institutional memory for the Board and grounds the organization in its purpose and mission.
Penny Newman is the Founder and Executive Director of CCAEJ. Penny has been active in environmental justice issues for more than 39 years and lives in the small community of Glen Avon, in the newly incorporated City of Jurupa Valley, California with her retired firefighter husband of 51 years, Jan, and their two Yorkies – Jiminy and Cricket. Trained as a Speech and Language Pathologist with an emphasis in neuropathology, Penny began her organizing career through the battle to stop exposures from the Stringfellow Acid Pits, California’s worst toxic waste site. Penny has written extensively on environmental justice issues and is featured in several books on environmental justice. She is a highly sought after speaker, trainer and advisor locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, conducting workshops around the nation and in China, Russia, India, and Cuba. Penny has appeared on television on shows like Oprah Winfrey Show, and The Today Show, and was featured in the HBO America Undercover documentary movie, “Toxic Timebomb”.
Chikako Takeshita is an associate professor UC Riverside. She joined the Women’s Studies Department in 2004. Her first book The Global Biopolitics of the IUD: How Science Constructs Contraceptive Users and Women’s Bodies (MIT Press, 2012) traces the development of the intrauterine device from the 1960s to the present. Her work demonstrates that various social interests, including the desire to restrict global population growth, the threat of medical malpractice litigations, anti-abortion politics, and women’s aspiration for better reproductive control have all played a significant role in directing scientific research on the device. Her current research project Surgical Birth examines cesarean section as a controversial technology that has been the focus of debate in obstetrics, public health, and women’s health advocacy as well as among mothers who are subjected to the procedure. She is also investigating the discourses of sustainable futures that are formulated in the scientific community and the general public. (Bio courtesy of UC Riverside)
Bronwyn LeebawPresident Elect
Bronwyn Leebaw is Associate Professor of Political Science at UC Riverside, where she teaches courses in human rights, transitional justice, political theory, international politics and ethics, and environmental justice. Leebaw received a PhD in Political Science from UC Berkeley. She is on the steering committees of the Peace and Conflict Studies Minor and the Global Studies Major at UC Riverside.
Elizabeth LopezBoard Member
Liz is a small business owner and a community representative on the Board. Liz and her family live in one of our focus communities. Her community fought a drag racing track next to her home that had measured noise levels above 130 decibels. She and her husband sued the County and San Bernardino and won forcing the facility to install mitigation measures reducing the noise significantly. Liz chairs the Finance Committee and oversees our annual audit.