California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a historic $54 billion Climate package aimed at helping the ongoing climate crisis. The governor’s Senior Climate Advisor, Lauren Sanchez, a proud Latina, and Oakland native, is at the forefront of the efforts to improve the state’s growing issue.
At just 33 years old, Lauren Sanchez dedicated the bulk of the last decade of her career to climate change. She recently spoke with Spectrum News 1 to discuss the struggles her and her family face as California natives living with poor air quality conditions – and how she hopes this bill can create permanent change.
Growing up, Sanchez had an understanding of the effects of climate change because of her own personal experiences. She wants to be a voice for the Latino communities, which have been grossly underrepresented in climate efforts. In California, Latinos make up to 40 percent of the population.
“My dad and my tíos and my tías lived next to two highways that were spewing pollution next to oil wells,” Sanchez told Spectrum News. “Really just kind of the poster child neighborhood in Boyle Heights of environmental justice.”
“Early in this role I was able to fly down to Wilmington, California, a port side, Latino community that has had a long history of oil production in the community, I met with community leaders who’ve been fighting for generations to shut down oil production in their neighborhood — quite literally next to daycares, YMCAs, hospitals,” Sanchez added.
Lauren Sanchez has always valued the importance of climatic issues
Before becoming the go-to adviser for California, Sanchez was an advisor for the Biden-Harris Administration and was part of Barack Obama’s climate negotiations team for the Paris 2016 Agreement – a legally binding international treaty, which covers climate change mitigation, adaptation, and finance. Sanchez also worked closely with Latino leaders, such as the civil rights icon and activist, Dolores Huerta.
As a California resident, I think it’s an extraordinary plan that will have an enormous impact for years to come, as opposed to solely focusing on the here and now – as many politicians typically do. We’re fortunate to have people who continue to champion for Latino communities and work hard to protect Californians for generations to come.
We applaud you, Ms. Sanchez!