EJC Members

Co-Chairs:
Bennetta Robinson
Hannah Wilson
Joshua Jenkins

Members:
Ashley Townes 
Bri Castilleja
Dana Wu
Jeraldi Gonzalez-Monje
Jose Chi Bertoni
Mikhaila Gonzales
Pah-tu Pitt G.

See below for full EJC Member biographies. 

Ashley Townes (she/her) is a passion-driven fish ecologist, educator, international in-field environmental researcher and environmental justice advocate. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Fisheries Ecology at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. She is also a trainer in program design and cross-cultural communication and obtained her M.A. in both Sustainable Development and International Education from the SIT Graduate Institute. Other professional passions include developing and implementing high impact community-based environmental social justice-oriented projects and programs, designed to educate diverse stakeholders in understanding results-oriented collaboration methodologies in affecting environmental sustainability. Ashley has traveled to over 50 countries on 6 continents, studying, researching and providing professional development to various international organizations and institutions. She continues to research, explore and implement best cross-cultural practices in natural resource management, especially as related to Black and indigenous populations, people of color and ethnic minority groups. Ashley has worked as a Linguistic Data Analyst at the Linguistic Data Consortium that is hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, a Recycle Specialist at Cascadia Consulting Group in Seattle, and an Environmental Technician at King County-Water and Lands Resources Division. As a member of the Rainier Beach Link to Lake Steering Committee (RBL2L), she provides input into the environmental projects in the Rainer Beach neighborhood in South Seattle. She assists RBL2L with helping write grants and strategic plans, and liaises among the community, organizational leaders, and governmental entities.   

Bennetta Robinson, co-chair (she/her) Bennetta believes that equitable climate solutions will be the defining factors that make good cities great cities. Previously, Bennetta has served as an environmental justice program manager at One Voice, Inc., a non-profit based in Jackson, MS. and as a Program Officer at the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), providing financial resources and capacity-building opportunities across various US geographies to ensure grassroots and community-based non-profits, institutional partners, and local and regional governments collaboratively implement equitable, data-driven climate solutions. Bennetta is currently a Senior Researcher for Renewable Energy Organizing at the AFL-CIO. Bennetta's research span has ranged from the analysis of the effects of abandoned oil and gas wells in communities of color along "Cancer Alley" to modeling the impacts of natural disasters on vulnerable populations to documenting the challenges of collective bargaining in the southern United States. She completed undergraduate studies at Mississippi State University, graduate studies at Iowa State University, and a doctoral degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Jackson State University with a concentration in Environment and Land Use.   

Bri Castilleja (she/her) was born and raised travelling between the traditional land of her Coast Salish people in Anacortes, her Mexican family in Yakima, and her white dad in Spokane. Like most things in life, Bri took a meandering and non-traditional path towards her Environmental Science degree from The Evergreen State College in 2017. It was here at Evergreen that she learned the tools to identify power structures, systemic problems and the reality of how personally affected her and her family have been by these very issues for generations. With a passion unmatched for the natural world and its connectivity, she seeks to strengthen relational understanding between the plants, animals and people who have been coevolving in this landscape for thousands of years in all of her work. She currently serves as Delridge Neighborhood Development Association's Environmental Education Coordinator where she plans and executes monthly workshops highlighting BIPOC and women and their work in the environment and traditional knowledge. She also develops and implements an ongoing wetland education curriculum with the nearby STEM school and is working to build up community gardens and increase awareness for food sovereignty for marginalized communities, in particular regard to food sovereignty for Coast Salish peoples in culturally informed and holistic ways.   

Dana Wu / 吳 淑 如 (she/her/they/them) identifies as queer, ethnically Teochew, and is the eldest child of refugee parents displaced by and survived what some choose to call the "Vietnam War". Born and raised on the ancestral homelands of the Tongva and Gabrielino tribes (or what modern-day settlers can come to know as Los Angeles, CA), Dana relocated to the Salish Sea region over 14 years ago. They are a first-generation college graduate with degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies and currently serve as a board member for Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition as well as an advisory member for the Environmental Science Center. Through their role as the Seattle Aquarium's Community Outreach Coordinator, Dana connects historically disenfranchised peoples from across Seattle to their local beaches, watersheds, and marine environment in a safe, fun, and reciprocal manner. Dana is a graduate of Puget Sound Sage's Community Leadership Institute and looks forward to applying skills in power mapping, policy development, and decision-making frameworks to better connect the queer community as well as immigrants and refugees, particularly from South East Asia, to the City.  

Hannah Wilson, co-chair (she/her) moved to Coast Salish lands over 5 years ago from Ohlone lands in California (Bay Area) to attend the University of Washington to study Environmental Science and Geography. During her time there, she interned and worked at various environmental non-profits across Seattle and also found her passion for environmental justice. She is now the farm manager at Yes Farm, an urban farm initiative by the Black Farmers Collective. While facilitating community building, educational programs, and growing food for BIPOC, Hannah weaves in environmental justice, food sovereignty, and abolition frameworks and organizing in many ways. Her lived experience as a queer, deaf disabled mixed-race Black woman informs much of the ways she approaches this work. She also organizes with local mutual aid groups and sits on the Seattle Disabilities Commission. She looks forward to continuing to build a just and equitable future with the Environmental Justice Committee.   

Jeraldi Gonzalez-Monje (she/her) was born in Mexico and immigrated with her family to the U.S as a two-year-old. She was raised most of her life in the City of Burien. She graduated from a non-traditional High School that is project-based. She interned at various non-profits for the Latinx community. Currently, Jeraldi is the project manager of her first community project funded by the Environmental Justice Fund, by the name "Ignited Phoenix". She drew inspiration from the Phoenix bird in Greek mythology, which is reborn from its own ashes. This project is based in the Duwamish Valley which is full of Environmental burdens for its residents. Jeraldi began her journey in Environmental advocacy as the project coordinator of a program called "Juntos, Si Podemos Cuidar Nuestro Río Duwamish". This is Spanish for "Together, We Can Care For Our Duwamish River". It was then that she realized how contaminated the river was and why immediate action is necessary, especially due to the rich history of the river and the sacredness of it. Jeraldi then became a Climate Justice intern for the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, where she gained knowledge on the biggest contributors to air pollution, and how bad the air quality is in the valley compared to wealthier Seattle neighborhoods and how that negatively impacts the community. She is determined to continue learning about Environmental Justice so she can take the information back to the community she serves. A community that she identifies with. In the long run, Jeraldi hopes to inspire the community to become leaders and use their own voices to advocate for change.   

Jose Chi Bertoni (he/him) has worked in the public and nonprofit sectors since 2007. Raised in three different countries, Bolivia, Argentina and the King County unincorporated neighborhood of White Center as well as Seattle's South Park, Jose has always, almost inevitably, been the new foreigner kid. He is committed to social justice and advancing racial equity projects that lift communities and families out of poverty and into prosperity. Jose currently works at ECOSS (Environmental Coalition of South Seattle) as a Multicultural Outreach Manager overseeing environmental projects that increase awareness of a wide range of topics by providing environmental education, technical assistance and access to resources that served most impacted communities throughout King County, especially in Council Districts 1 and 2. He is particularly interested in anti-displacement efforts as well as access to and electrification of our transportation system. Jose brings a commitment to serving the Latinx and immigrant communities of South Seattle and facilitating their involvement and participation to understand, inform, and influence City policies and programs.  

Joshua Jenkins, co-chair (he/him) was born and raised in Columbia, SC. During his time at University of South Carolina Upstate, where he received a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education and History, he created an internship at the Spartanburg Area Conservancy where he oversaw everything, from tabling to event planning to social media management. Joshua relocated to Seattle to pursue a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington focused on Environmental Policy and Food Systems. While at the University of Washington, he co-founded the UW Food Systems Coalition to advocate for equity in food policies in Washington State and remained engaged in the environmental/food justice space throughout South Seattle, Council District 2, and Yesler Terrace. Joshua is a volunteer and planning committee member for Yes Farm, a black-led urban farm located in Yesler Terrace and is the Senior Program Coordinator for the National Parks Conservation Association's Seattle office. Joshua applies a systems-based approach to bridge environmental work across the natural and urban spaces and is committed to advancing food sovereignty and improving air quality, particularly for black and brown communities throughout Seattle. He hopes to further his passion for food justice through the EJC by connecting black and brown communities to the City as well as advocating for policy that gets us closer to achieving food sovereignty.  

Mikhaila Gonzales (she/her) is a Project Manager at Spark Northwest, providing technical assistance to communities working to democratize the development and implementation of clean energy projects in WA and OR. She has supported projects with El Centro de la Raza, Shiloh Baptist Church, Bethany United Church of Christ, Highline High School, Asian Counseling & Referral Services, King County Housing Authority, Lummi Nation, Northwest Indian College, Community2Community. She looks forward to collaborating and learning with EJC members and staff and supporting projects that transfer wealth and power to BIPOC families and communities.   

Pah-tu Pitt G. (she/her, Warm Springs and Wasco) currently works on advocacy for indigenous climate change resiliency, sustainable economic development, and grassroots organizing at regional and local levels in the Pacific Northwest and Seattle with an interest in solidarity with other BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) and LGBTQ+ communities. She feels strongly about power sharing and collective action with diverse constituents utilizing various strategies. Past work experiences include experience with States, Tribes, the nonprofit and private business sector, and within academia. Through encouragement from other tribal members, she became the first female in her tribe to obtain a professional degree in the environmental sector and holds a degree in environmental science from Portland State University and a Master of Environmental Studies from Evergreen State. Her research emphasized treaty rights, climate change, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and management in connection with food sovereignty. Recently, she served on her tribe's education committee, Economic Ventures board, was a Tribal Governance Fellow at the University of Arizona, Institute of Indigenous Planning Summer Institute Participant, and serves on Equity and Environmentally focused committees throughout the King County area and more regionally. Pah-tu brings expertise in relationship building, centering Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and ensuring policies are actionable and accessible to community.