Who Cares About OPAL? Members Like Alex Garcia

FullSizeRAlex Garcia is a dues-paying member of Bus Riders Unite. OPAL membership makes Alex qualified to run in and vote in BRu elections, and gives her access to members-only activities. As an active member, Alex is a vital part of OPAL’s work. We sat down with her to talk about what drew her to OPAL and why she chooses to dedicate her time and energy to Environmental Justice.

As part of her second Americorps VISTA year, Alex Garcia is the Outreach Coordinator with the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division’s Climate and Health Program. Alex served her first year as an Economic Opportunity VISTA in Yuma, Colorado before she realized she wanted to dive deeper into Environmental Justice issues.

After the presidential election, Alex decided she wanted to be more involved and attended the “What Now” event where she discovered OPAL. As a Mexican-American, Alex felt she didn’t have a place in many of the predominantly white environmental organizations, but she felt like she belonged at OPAL. She says she appreciated that “[OPAL] is not afraid to ask the really tough questions, and they are not inconvenienced by the answers. OPAL challenged my perception of climate action. They do a lot of work that is intersectional. I was trained to see climate action as a technological fix, and not so much as grassroots people building or building capacity of communities, but now I see how valuable that is.”

The movement must fund itself, and we believe everyone has the ability to give some amount. Dues are a sliding scale of $5 to $25 per year. As a member, Alex was invited and participated in the People’s Climate March, always showing up wherever was needed. She felt that, “it was really powerful that OPAL and partners led that march and led with frontline communities with their concerns and issues at the forefront. It threw a lot of people off guard, but it was for the best because they needed to hear that.”

Before becoming a member of OPAL, Alex knew she wanted to focus her career around environmental issues. Now, Alex is dedicated to being a part of the Environmental Justice movement, basing her involvement off of the framework that OPAL has built.

It is irresponsible not to take action. Even though I have gone through struggles, I still feel very privileged. I feel a responsibility to take action.”

As a dues-paying member of OPAL, Alex’s work and financial contribution support the movement and help us build power. If you consider yourself a member of OPAL or plan to become a member, we encourage you to pay dues here. If you’re all paid up and want to get closer to our work, engage with our onboarding process: click the Get Involved

Posted in Bus Riders Unite, Invest in the Good.