We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to the OPAL Family! After an exhaustive, prolonged search featuring candidates from across the country, we have chosen our Oregon Just Transition Alliance Organizer! Welcome Marissa Naranjo!
Marissa is a tribal citizen of Kha’p’o Owingeh, or Santa Clara Pueblo. She was raised on her reservation in the colonized land many call New Mexico, by her great-grandmother and a strong lineage of matriarchs. “I consider myself blessed for having been raised by women, especially my great-grandmother who lovingly passed down a wealth of traditional ecological knowledge, food preparation expertise, and the black-on-black pottery making process. The responsibility, perseverance, and resistance embedded in her way of being are the foundation to my passion for imagining, building, and fighting for a decolonized and balanced world.”
Marissa graduated summa cum laude from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Native American Studies. Her work serving her community has given her a wealth of experience in organizing. Marissa calls herself “joyously dedicated” to working at the intersections of community organizing, tribal youth leadership development, and Indigenous environmental justice. “I’ve engaged with tribal members, leaders from our Pueblo and Navajo Nations, state and federal agency representatives,” she says. Marissa has fought to protect natural and cultural resources from the destructive legacies imposed by the extractive oil and gas industries, and fought to expose and address the contamination caused by historic, ongoing nuclear weapons manufacture at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Raised in a community subject to the normalization of ongoing environmental violence via contamination of sacred spring waters, clan animals, and medicinal plants by military industrialization, Marissa’s connection to our movement is rooted in her heritage. “Environmental justice for me has come to mean continuing the resistance of our historically colonized, enslaved, oppressed, marginalized, and targeted communities who envisioned a healthier world in reverence of all those who came before and all those who will come after us. When I think about environmental justice I think about my great-grandmother who taught that our environment will always keep us alive,” Marissa says.
“I could not be more excited to be working with OPAL as the new Coalition Organizer for our Oregon Just Transition Alliance!,” Marissa says. “I hope to support the development of an empowered, unified, and resilient coalition that tirelessly advocates the voices of our historically underserved and frontline communities not only be centered, but effectively lead Oregon’s just transition movement to success, as defined by our communities. I’m also excited to help train and empower community leaders that will carry this movement on for future generations.”
This year, OPAL’s statewide organizing for a Just Transition kicks into high gear. We’re pushing for Climate Justice leadership from frontline communities. No more tokenization. No more inside-the-box thinking. In 2018, we build the movement of movements, rooted in grassroots organizing of low-income people, people of color, rural and tribal communities. We’re taking on the racism, materialism, and militarism that are destroying our communities, and we believe that we will win. If you believe, invest in our communities’ leadership today.