As the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health notes, “Heat causes more deaths in the U.S. each year than floods, storms, and lightning combined. Older adults, young children, outdoor workers, athletes, and people with a chronic medical condition, among others, are especially sensitive to negative health impacts from extreme heat. The number of extreme heat days in Los Angeles County is expected to rise in the coming decades due to climate change. Prepare yourself and your family now, before the next heat wave comes.”
With a sweltering summer expected, a recent story in the Los Angeles Times notes how Los Angeles vows to improve response to extreme heat. This includes the recently launched a Climate Emergency Mobilization Office, which is “catalyzing collaborative and equitable climate solutions to co-create community climate resilience and thriving, healthy communities”. #HeatRelief4LA is part of the solution.
At the statewide level, Protecting Californians from Extreme Heat provides a plan for moving forward. With historic amounts of public funding now in available to support climate resilient physical and social infrastructure in California, a just transition towards climate resilient communities is possible, building upon years of effort in the region to find community-centered solutions to mitigate against the growing heat island effect that takes place.
At this upcoming convening, we’ll discuss equitable, community-driven solutions that are growing in momentum. We’ll learn from a set of local stakeholders working across sectors on issues related to navigating the disproportionate impacts on low-income, communities of color caused by heat.
This convening is part of a series of quarterly conversations hosted by the Southern California Grantmakers Environmental Funders Group. The convening will continue lifting up themes from previous SCG Environmental Funder Peer Group convenings this year, including Building Decarbonization, Beyond Fossil Fuels, Beyond Land Acknowledgments, and Making Justice 40 a Reality. To register for all upcoming dates, please click the "Register for Recurring Dates" button. This feature is only open to members; please contact us if you are a non-member and wish to register for the series at email@example.com or (213) 680-8866.
Enrique forms strategic partnerships to elevate the extreme heat adaptation conversation in Sacramento. He has an undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning and an advanced degree in Regenerative Studies from Cal Poly.
Though the need to reduce and remove greenhouse gases to prevent the worst climate change impacts is great, Enrique also believes we need to adapt to extreme heat today. Extreme heat kills more Californians than all other climate hazards and disproportionately affects low-income people of color. With the help of many partners, in the past two years, we have moved the state to commit $135 Million to establish the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience grant program at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.
When he is not forming coalitions, he enjoys tinkering with closed-loop aquaponics systems. Enrique lives in Southeast Los Angeles with his wife, two teenagers, and Pepper, their fun-loving dog.
Director of Climate Resilience, Community Environmental Council
Em Johnson joined CEC in 2022 and directs the Climate Resilience program. She plays a lead role in enacting CEC’s programs that help our Central Coast communities better respond, recover, adapt, and thrive in the face of climate change-related disruptions. Em has worked alongside frontline communities to design, plan, and implement community projects aimed to enhance local socio-economic resilience. During her five years as Executive Director of the Blue Sky Center, she helped energize creativity, innovation, and investment into the Cuyama Valley in Central California, worked to depoliticize climate change, and bridged the divide between urban and rural communities. She led efforts to connect people to resources and to develop new entrepreneurial initiatives and grassroots efforts to reclaim the power of rural resiliency.
Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program Manager, State of California
Braden Kay is the new Extreme Heat Program Manager in California's Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Recently, he was the founding Sustainability and Resilience Director for the City of Tempe in Arizona. Braden grew the office from one to six full time employees, including building programs in youth climate action, energy equity, local food, and resilience to extreme heat. Braden received a PhD in Sustainability from Arizona State University and a BA in American Studies from Carleton College (MN). He was the Vice-chair of the Planning and Advisory Committee for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and was the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Cities Network. Braden currently serves on the Local Initiatives Support Commission's Emerging Leaders Council, the International WELL Buildings Institute Advisory Board and is the co-chair of the Western Adaptation Alliance.
Braden is the first Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program Manager. He will be responsible to launching the new Extreme Heat and Community Resilience grant program that will fund California cities, towns, counties, tribes and community-based organizations to do planning and implementation projects. The Extreme Heat and Community Resilience team will also work on statewide heat planning, coordination of state agencies and supporting extreme heat and community resilience policy and advocacy efforts.
Policy & Research Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Amee Raval is Policy & Research Director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), an environmental justice organization that empowers Asian immigrant and refugee communities across California through grassroots organizing, voter engagement, and policy advocacy. Through her role at APEN, she offers an environmental justice and health equity lens to climate and energy policy in California.
She is the lead author of Mapping Resilience: A Blueprint for Thriving in the Face of Climate Disasters and contributing author to Resilience Before Disaster: The Need to Build Equitable, Community-Driven Social Infrastructure, two foundational reports that are directly influencing statewide decisions to address climate change.
In 2021, Amee received the ‘Grist Fixer’ award and was a finalist for the Rachel’s Network Catalyst award. She is an alumni of the Solis Policy Institute, Clean Energy Leadership Institute, and the RWJF Culture of Health Leaders program. Amee holds a Master of Science degree from UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
Chief Heat Officer, Director of CEMO, City of Los Angeles
Segura serves a dual role as the City of Los Angeles’ founding Chief Heat Officer and Director of Climate Emergency Mobilization. Segura is one of seven Chief Heat Officers worldwide, and the only Latina in the Nation to serve in those respective roles. Segura is a thought leader and policy expert in environmental health, public health, and stakeholder engagement. She has held executive and leadership roles with public, philanthropic, private, institutional, and non-profit sectors to design, implement, and drive equitable climate policy that promotes healthier and more engaged communities.
Segura’s extensive track record in environmental health sciences, climate, and environmental justice policy makes her an excellent fit for the collaborative approach of her current roles in the City of Los Angeles.
Executive Director, Office of Community Partnerships and Strategic Communications (California)
Yumi Sera is the inaugural Executive Director of the Office of Community Partnerships and Strategic Communications within the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom, she is responsible for leading a dedicated state team that manages California’s highest priority public awareness and community outreach efforts, such as extreme heat, water conservation, and Covid vaccinations. She brings her experience in program planning and implementation as the Strategic Advisor to the Vaccinate ALL 58 Campaign and as the Deputy Director of Statewide Initiatives for the California Complete Count - Census 2020. She has also worked globally in human rights philanthropy (Indigenous Peoples, disability rights, gender) and for the World Bank to strengthen participation and civic engagement with civil society. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal. Yumi has over thirty years of experience in developing grant programs, cross-sectoral partnerships, and strategic frameworks. She earned her Master’s from the Yale School of Management.
Los Angeles Lead Organizer, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Seng has been an activist in California’s immigrant and refugee communities since 2007. In the 1980s Seng’s parents fled the Khmer genocide and settled in the Bay Area. It is from this history—the struggles and sacrifices of his ancestors—that paves his path today. Today he is the Los Angeles Lead Organizer at APEN.
Melanie Paola Torres
Community Organizer, Pacoima Beautiful
Melanie Paola Torres was born and raised in both Pacoima and neighboring city Arleta, building a strong admiration for her hometown in the SFV. She recently graduated from Cal State University, Northridge with double majors in Sociology and Chicanx Studies. Passionate about the place she calls home, Melanie was able to apply her observations growing up to the material she was studying in her courses, shaping the way she thinks and moves in both her personal and work life.
Melanie’s story with Pacoima Beautiful began in February 2022, hired as a community canvasser for the CA Covid Health Project. After a few months she applied to be part of the organizing team and has been working with the team since May 2022.
She feels fortunate to be working with Pacoima Beautiful, where she can apply her talents and knowledge she’s accumulated throughout her life. Engaging in community conversation and following the power of storytelling, she hopes to help sustain and uplift the Northeast San Fernando Valley.
Melanie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to the movies, and dancing.