Greenaction Board of Directors
Our board is made up of grassroots leaders from communities on the frontlines of the movement for healthy communities and environmental justice. We have a dynamic, dedicated, and diverse board that guides our organization’s work and helps keep us accountable to the communities we work with and for.
Zsea Bowmani joined the Greenaction Board of Directors in March of 2021. Zsea is a civil
rights attorney and legal scholar originally from South Central, Los Angeles (just minutes away
from the notorious Exide plant). Now based in Northern California, he teaches environmental law at Santa Clara University and co-leads the Law and Advocacy Project of a new initiative at the university which is building student interest in and support for frontline communities in the Bay Area. Zsea also founded and currently coordinates the Environmental Justice Committee of the National Lawyers Guild – Bay Area Chapter to provide legal support to the local
environmental justice movement.
Over the years, Zsea has worked on a number of legal cases and policies to uphold the rights and wellbeing of communities across the country. Zsea has been honored with multiple awards for his scholarship and activism, and his writing has been published in places such as the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law and Seattle Journal for Social Justice.
Alfredo is a leader of the Sacred Sites Protection Circle, working to protect Indigenous sacred and culturally significant sites from destruction and desecration. He co-founded Escuela de la Raza Unida in Blythe, California, and was co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union in the Coachella and Palo Verde Valleys. Alfredo was co-founder of the Colorado River Ward Valley Coordinating Committee. Alfredo was a founding Board member of Greenaction.
David is a tribal member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes and for many years served as Chairman of the Mohave Elders Committee. Dave was a leader of the campaign that defeated the proposed Ward Valley nuclear waste dump and is currently working with his tribe to protect sacred sites and stop pollution and industry threats to the Colorado River, tribal members, and sacred and culturally significant sites. Dave was a founding Board member of Greenaction.
Teri is a mother and advisor to Children for a Safe Environment in Phoenix, Arizona. Teri got involved when her daughter passed away after growing up in a contaminated community. In 1987, Teri and her surviving daughter formed Children for a Safe Environment. Teri was a leader in the epic statewide fight that defeated plans by the State of Arizona and the company ENSCO to build a hazardous waste incineration and landfill facility in the low-income town of Mobile, Arizona. Teri has been involved in the Indigenous Environmental Network starting with the first Protecting Mother Earth conference at Dilkon on the Navajo Nation in 1990. Teri was a founding Board member of Greenaction.
Bianca is a resident of California’s Central Valley, born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is a bilingual Chicana mother of two young boys. Currently, she is a Project Director for Valley Improvement Projects, a non-profit organization focused in social and environmental justice in Stanislaus County. She is also a full-time after-school program coordinator in Riverbank, California, and is passionate about working with youth.
My name is Ruben Rodriguez. I am the son of immigrant parents and a
proud Xicano. I have lived on the west side of Fresno County for the
majority of my life and have come to understand the need for immediate
social action. My experience working in the field and growing up in a
farm working community has allowed me to see the struggles and
injustices that these beautiful and resilient people face on a day-to-day basis. I stand with those that want to make this world a better
place! We must all do our part in society to assure that we resist this
nonsense and defend what is right! For our children, our elders, and all
of our relations!
Lori Thomas Riddle, Board Chair
Lori is the Director and co-founder of the Gila River Alliance for a Clean Environment (GRACE), a grassroots tribal member organization on the Gila River Indian Community reservation in Arizona working on environmental and sacred site and cultural protection. Lori was a leader in the fights that closed the Romic toxic waste plant and the Stericycle incinerator on the reservation. Lori and her family were poisoned by living on a site contaminated by pesticides.
Karen Susag, Member of the Greenaction Board of Directors
Karen rejoined Greenaction’s Board of Directors in January 2021.
Karen was a co-founder and original Board member of Greenaction when she worked with grassroots leaders from frontline urban, rural, and Indigenous communities to found our organization in late 1997.
A resident of the frontline community of Richmond, California, Karen has been a Greenaction supporter and community activist for many years. Karen says “My passion and desire for health and environmental justice are my grounding principles.”
As a cofounding Greenaction Board member, I remember the fundamental reasons for the founding of the organization. I remember the wind and the rain at Ward Valley during the occupation. I remember the sacred fire and the fundamental shift in my understanding and awareness of the stakes of environmental racism.
Karen believes it is essential for Native American tribes and frontline communities to lead the struggle for health and environmental justice, saying “Without this leadership, justice is not possible. This principle is the bedrock of Greenaction’s foundation.”
Karen worked at Greenpeace USA fundraising and working on a campaign in the early 1990s, both in Arizona and California. She then moved to the Bay Area where she focused on the link between cancer and environmental toxins and helped cofound the Toxic Links Coalition to help “Stop Cancer Where It Starts.”
Honorary Board Members
Esperanza is a co-founder of El Pueblo Para Aire y Agua Limpio/People for Clean Air and Water of Kettleman City and helped lead the successful fight to stop the incinerator proposed by Chemical Waste Management. Esperanza was a co-founder of California Communities Against Toxics and was a co-founder of Greenaction who served on our Board of Directors for over 22 years.
In Memoriam: Honorary Board Members
Judy Brady was a cancer activist, cancer survivor, and writer who works to unite cancer survivors with community and environmental health and justice organizations to stop cancer by stopping pollution. Judy was a founding Board member of Greenaction.
Tessie Ester was a co-founder of the Bayview Hunters Point Mothers Committee for Health and Environmental Justice, President of the Huntersview Tenants Association and a leader in the victory that closed the polluting PG&E Hunters Point Power Plant.
Mamie Harper was Chairwoman of the Mohave Elders of the Colorado River Indian Tribes and was a leader in the victory against the proposed Ward Valley nuclear waste dump. Mamie and the Elders worked to protect their tribe from a hazardous waste company operating illegally on tribal lands that emits toxic contaminants into the air, threatening the health of the people and desecrating an adjacent sacred site. Mamie was a founding Board member of Greenaction.
Mary Lou Mares was a co-founding Board member of Greenaction and a
co-founder of El Pueblo Para el Aire y Agua Limpia/People of Clean Air
and Water of Kettleman City.
Mary Lou helped mobilize her community to defeat plans by Chemical Waste
Management/Waste Management to build a commercial hazardous waste
incinerator in her Central Valley farmworker town of Kettleman City,
California – one of the epic victories in the history of the
environmental justice movement.
Marie Harrison was a long-time Bayview Hunters Point community leader and served on Greenaction’s staff from 1999 through 2017. When her illness made it impossible for her to continue on staff, Marie joined our Board of Directors until she passed in 2019. Marie led the campaign that closed the PG&E Hunters Point power plant and watchdogged its cleanup. Marie co-founded the Huntersview Mothers and Fathers Committee and helped mentor its members as they expanded from Huntersview Public Housing to a community-wide group, the Bayview Hunters Point Mothers and Fathers Committee for Health and Environmental Justice. Marie helped found and coordinate our Bayview Hunters Point Environmental Justice Task Force, and helped design and implement our model Diesel Education and Emissions Reduction Project.