In May 2021, we welcomed Samantha Hernandez (pictured above) to the Oregon PSR staff as our new Climate Justice Organizer. Samantha will be supporting a wide range of Oregon PSR's Healthy Climate Program work including our advocacy efforts in coalitions to stop fossil fuels and nuclear power and advance a just and equitable transition to clean energy. She will also work on our partnership with the Oregon Justice Resource Center to re-frame mass incarceration as a public health crisis as well as issues relating to the intersection of public health and water quality and forests. Here's what Samantha has to say about joining Oregon PSR:
My name is Samantha Hernandez and I am the Climate Justice Organizer at Oregon PSR! I am super excited to take on this dynamic role and continue the amazing work Lluvia Merello realized as Oregon PSR's Energy Justice Organizer.
A little about myself: I was born and raised in Hialeah, a city in South Florida home to a large diverse Latine population. My mother was born in the Bronx, NY to Dominican immigrants and my father, one of eleven children, was born in the countryside of Dominican Republic to subsistence farmers. Growing up, I spent my summers in Dominican Republic eating mangos, jumping in rivers, and watching scandalous late night novelas with my grandmother.
I recently graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a bachelor’s degree in hispanic studies and environmental studies. During my four years at Lewis & Clark, I made Portland my second home. My time here has been special because of the enriching friendships and lifetime connections I have formed at local Portland organizations. Before taking on this role, I worked with the Portland Harbor Community Coalition to advocate for a better Willamette Cove cleanup.
I also served as environmental justice intern at Portland VOZ where I helped organize and facilitate an emergency preparedness workshop on the Cascadia earthquake. In my spare time, I support the organizing efforts of an emerging coalition called the Braided River Campaign, a group of community members, advocates, and organizations working to create a community conversation and new vision for our future relationship with the Willamette River.
Harnessing community power centers my work. I practice and preach intersectional environmentalism, a philosophy and movement that recognizes vulnerable communities suffer the most from the impacts of climate change. As humans, we have multiple intersecting identities. Intersectional environmentalism acknowledges that people are differently impacted by climate change due to inextricably linked social structures such as race, gender, and class. This lens seeks to remedy this injustice and inequity through community organizing, exchange of knowledge, collaboration, and advocacy.
On the weekends, I enjoy going on urban hikes, reading science fiction novels, baking recipes from Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz, and binge watching culinary tv shows. I am looking forward to building community with you all in the hopes of bringing about meaningful change and a just transition for all!
You can get in touch with Samantha at [email protected].