What is YEJA?

YEJA stands for the Youth Environmental Justice Alliance. YEJA is an after school leadership development program. YEJA builds leadership and political analysis with low-income youth and youth of color in the Portland Metro Area through popular education workshops and campaign development. All YEJA activities are currently virtual, expanding our work to folks across Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties. 

Who is involved in YEJA?

YEJA interns attend bi-weekly meetings to discuss and address social justice issues year-round. YEJA interns are paid an annual stipend, for approximately 16 hours of monthly engagement. Additionally, Serve the People (STP) is an annual summer leadership program that engages up to 40+ youth leaders in our community.

YEJA has a dedicated OPAL staff member, the YEJA Community Organizer, who organizes members and supports their chosen campaigns.  As opportunities arise from transportation agencies, coalition partners, and jobs or internships, the YEJA organizer may reach out to YEJA Interns, STP participants, and others in our network.

Occasionally, the YEJA Organizer may request support from volunteers or be holding events that are open to a broader audience, so do not hesitate to reach out if you have interest in joining or contributing to our programming in other ways!

What do YEJA members do?

YEJA members have participated in the YouthPass campaign to get free transit to all Portland Metro-area students since 2015. Current areas of focus for YEJA members include continuing the YouthPass for All campaign, examining systems of power and oppression, and using intersectional creative activism. At our meetings, we undergo political education and leadership development workshops, share space with various youth-centered organizations around Portland, and build a fun, inclusive community. YEJA members have opportunities to engage with large projects, attend conferences, and make new connections.

YEJA continues to center youth voices and power within agencies and government bodies like Metro, TriMet, PBOT, and the City of Portland through meetings with leadership and direct action. Through strong partnerships, campaign leadership, and social media organizing, YEJA has found a uniquely powerful voice in the local climate and transportation justice movement.  Members have also chosen to address exclusionary discipline for students of color and restorative justice in their community. 

When does YEJA happen?

YEJA intern recruitment happens in the Fall. New interns will be selected in January of the following year and will serve until December. Currently, YEJA interns meet virtually twice a week for a couple of hours throughout the year.

How can I get involved with YEJA?

If you’re a high-school age youth (14–18) in the Portland Metro area, join our email list or follow us on social media to be notified when recruitment begins.

Email us at [email protected] for any questions.


Former YEJA Members

Annie Duan

Annie Duan is a queer, Chinese student currently attending Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. In school, she is a part of many clubs including Mental Health Awareness Club, Asian Student Union, Green Team, and Ethics Bowl. She is also a leader of the Fashion Club. Outside of school, Annie volunteers at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Rose Haven. She enjoys crocheting, fencing, and watching movies! This is her first year as a part of the YEJA Cohort and she is excited to be able to help advocate for climate and transportation justice.

Salomé Flores
Any Pronouns

Hi! My name is Salomé Flores and I go by all pronouns. I am an intern at YEJA and a student at Century High School. I grew up transit-dependent and in an area where the effects of climate change disproportionately affected my family and people of color in my community. Because of this, I have a huge passion towards advocating for BIPOC rights and environmental justice surrounding the climate change crisis.

Mikenna Gonzalez

Hi! My name is Mikenna, I currently attend the Beaverton Academy of Science and Engineering as a sophomore. Things I love doing include, painting, cooking, reading, playing with my cat, and sleeping. This is my first year as a YEJA member and I couldn't be more excited about it!

Grant Spargo

Hi everyone! I’m Grant Spargo and I’m a part of YEJA's intern cohort! I am 17 years old, I use He/Him pronouns, identify as queer and Filipino and I attend Lincoln High school here in Portland. This community is amazing and I’m so thankful to be a part of the team at YEJA! I’m super excited to work with my fellow members in order to advocate and take action for climate justice!

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