Elizabeth Yeampierre is a internationally recognized Puerto Rican attorney and environmental and climate justice leader of African and Indigenous ancestry born and raised in New York City. A national leader in climate justice movement, Elizabeth is the co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance. She is Executive Director of UPROSE, Brooklyn's oldest Latino community based organization. Her award winning vision for an inter-generational, multi-cultural and community led organization is the driving force behind UPROSE. She is a long-time advocate and trailblazer for community organizing around just, sustainable development, environmental justice and community-led climate adaptation and community resiliency in Sunset Park. Prior to assuming the Executive Director position at UPROSE, Ms. Yeampierre was the Director of Legal Education and Training at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Director of Legal Services for the American Indian law Alliance and Dean of Puerto Rican Student Affairs at Yale University. She holds a BA from Fordham University, a law degree from Northeastern University.
Ting Ting Fu
Climate Justice Organizer
Ting Ting Fu was born in the Fujian Province of China and raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Since the age of 13, Ting Ting has been active with UPROSE. She started as a summer intern and transitioned to being a Youth Organizer. Throughout the years, she has reached out to Sunset Park community on current campaigns that UPROSE has been involved in. She went away to college studying Social Science and moved back to New York to be with her family again. Recently, she was part of a research group reaching out to the community members who maybe have been involved in the clean up activities, as a result of Super Storm Sandy. In 2015, Ting Ting joined UPROSE as a Climate Justice Organizer offering climate adaptation and resilience education to the community as a part of the work for the Climate Justice Center in UPROSE. She has also has been supporting the youth with the Real Roots campaign, an organic and natural self-care products campaign. She has facilitates youth teach-ins, and community events educating the community on Climate Justice, Environmental Justice and UPROSE's Anti Displacement Work.
Ryan joined UPROSE in 2013 as Infrastructure Coordinator. In this capacity, he is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Sunset Park Brownfield Opportunity Area program; developing measures for climate resilience on the industrial coastline; promoting equitable transportation policy; and collaborating with city and state agencies to develop an upland connector between the community and the waterfront.
Before coming to UPROSE, Ryan taught English as a Second Language for six years, both in Latin America and New York City.
"Lourdes Pérez-Medina is the Climate Justice Policy and Programs Coordinator at UPROSE. She was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Before joining the team, she was an ANHD|Morgan Stanley Community Planning Fellow at the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition where she worked on the initial planning and development stages of a Community Land Trust in the North Bronx. Lourdes also worked at the Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña in San Juan, Puerto Rico as an infrastructure assistant. She worked on the design and development of home rehabilitation, safety and sustainability guidelines for community residents among other Environmental Justice projects. She holds an MS in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and a BA in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico."
Ricardo began his adult professional career as a teacher of all subjects for an alternative high school system in NYC that catered to high school dropouts of color from poor neighborhoods. The first was the East Harlem Music School. From there, he went on to create several of his own alternative educational programs including The East River School, The PM Program at IS 218/SUMA/CAS, and the Alternative to Suspension Program that was implemented system-wide for District 8 in the Bronx. Ricardo ended his public school career in 2004 as a bilingual social worker. After a short stint in two doctoral programs, Ricardo returned to his original love and he’s been a struggling artist since. Ricardo is still a teacher and social worker at heart, and this is evident by the fact that he donates the majority of his profits to charities that support Latino and Native college students. In essence, Ricardo’s work is about finding the unheard voices in ignored indigenous communities and he does this through photography, body art, puppetry, storytelling, counseling, teaching, curating and/or legal advocacy. Art is the vehicle for his social activism. Ricardo states, “It really comes down to honesty for me. If you're honest with yourself and your work, something great will show up. I truly believe beauty is everywhere. Just open your eyes and listen. Coming to UPROSE is a blessing. I am eager to continue its tradition of social justice through social activism.”
Jason was born and raised in Sunset Park and attends Borough of Manhattan Community College. He joined UPROSE in July 2014 at our At the Table Summer Leadership Institute. The summer before the People's Climate March, Jason played an instrumental role in organizing for both the People's Climate March and the 4th NYC Climate Justice Youth Summit. He is the recipient for the Outstanding Leadership Award given by the Working Families Party for organizing his community and participating in the Peoples Climate March. Jason often exercises leadership by taking initiative. Being an organizer at heart, Jason is always engaging community. Whether he is reaching out to the community or being a part of the Sunset Park Climate Justice Community Resiliency Center as a block captain, he enjoys being on the ground and taking on leadership.
I'm Angel Morales and I've been with Uprose since the summer of 2015. I've helped with the 2015 Climate Justice Youth Summit and stood at the very front of the 2017 People's Climate March with young people from all over the world to stand against Climate injustices. I've received Certificates of Merit, Exemplary Community Service Award, and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for my work organizing around climate justice.
Hi my name is Nyiesha Mallett, I am a Youth Organizer here at UPROSE. I am 16 and live in Brownsville Brooklyn. I am currently a Junior at Medgar Evers College Prep School and a Freshmanat Medgar Evers College.
Adan Palermo Rojas
Adan Palermo Rojas was born in Brooklyn and raised in Sunset Park. He attends Kingsborough Community College and is a Earth and Planetary science major studying geography, oceanography and biology and intends to pursue a career in environmental studies in the near future.
His background is that of a self taught mural artist with half a dozen completed public artworks under his belt. Adan's experience in Groundswell Community Mural Projects since the age of 15 was key in developing his art skills, making him the first youth artist turned teaching artist within the organization. Adan is also a 2010 urban hero awardee.
Helen Gutierrez will be interning with UPROSE this summer, working at the Climate Justice Center, focusing on the block captain program. Before coming to UPROSE, Helen was studying Environmental Justice at the University of Michigan and Environmental Health at the University of Costa Rica before that. She is passionate about her work and in the past has focused on community participatory research on issues related to climate vulnerability and environmental degradation. Helen was born in Costa Rica, but grew up moving around both Costa Rica and the US and is excited living in New York this summer!
Chelsea is a 19 year old artist for those in need of creative representation. She has recently joined the uprose team as a Youth Organizer. She is using her artistic abilities to shed light on the massive impact that hurricane Maria has had on thousands of Puerto Ricans on the island. Outside of Uprose she mainly works on projects that will help to build the communities that she embraces as her own, including working with children of color and food-based volunteer projects around the city.
Jeanette Castillo is a Bronx native that has been always been passionate about environmental justice and advocacy. She is currently a rising sophomore at Muhlenberg College majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Latin American & Caribbean Studies. Jeanette is part of the Hope Reichbach Fund Fellowship and through there she was connected to Uprose to work as a youth community organizer. Through her personal experiences and upbringing is what led her to become an ally for many social justice issues in her community and other communities in New York City. In part, these are the reasons why she wanted to work for Uprose so she is able to learn what it means to be an environmental justice activist versus an environmentalist and how both issues target different sides of the same problem or issues involving the environment, the people, and overall well being of the community.
Brian Gonzalez was born and raised in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. He was introduced to UPROSE in 2009 at the age of 17. Without any prior knowledge of the fact that his community is home to some of the worst environmental burdens in New York City, Brian realized that there was an immediate injustice occurring around him and it would require citywide activism to address. He sought out both long and short term solutions to helping not only his community members but others in the same circumstance. Brian will finish his degree and has chosen to pursue a graduates degree. He fundamentally believes in finding creative ways to inform others about environmental justice and climate change and has taken on song writing and composition as a means to organize and unite.
Collin Lee was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. He earned his BS in Urban and Regional Studies and Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University. Currently, he is pursuing his degree at Pratt Institute, Master of Science in City and Regional Planning. His interest in transportation, land use planning and social equity issues in cities led him to pursue graduate school. He worked in finance for Capital One for seven years and also with Capital One he has volunteered with special needs children and animal shelters before moving to New York City. When he has time away from school work, he like to spend time with his dog, a beagle named Daphne.