Intern Spotlight: Susan Martinez

Background

I was raised in Michigan and moved out here to pursue my California dream at 17 years old. I now consider Los Angeles to be my home. I recently graduated from UCLA this past June with a B.A. in Sociology.

How did I get here:

I am currently a Fellow in Coro Southern California. The Coro Fellowship is a nine-month program that places fellows in different sectors and industries across Los Angeles and southern California. Throughout the year we gain firsthand experience and a broad understanding of how the city functions so we can become effective, ethical, civic leaders.

My experience at Climate Resolve:

I am passionate about social justice issues and have been involved in community organizing and advocacy work for low-income communities of color. I had the opportunity to work with Climate Resolve for a little over four weeks. Although, I didn’t have much experience with organizations that provide climate change solutions, I was pleased to find out that the work that they were doing was impacting the very communities I had come from.

Climate Resolve gave me a different perspective on all the work that needs to get done in order to uplift disadvantaged communities that are often impacted by policies and a lack of investment in infrastructure. During my time here, I researched the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to conceptualize what a campaign to expand the system may look like in Los Angeles. BRT has the potential to improve the bus system to be more comparable to the rail system at a fraction of the cost. Low income communities that heavily depend on public transportation would greatly benefit from BRT which could provide some key improvements such as;

  • Increase the frequency and reliability on the bus by prioritizing public transportation
  • Invest in the community by providing well lit bus shelters that provide shade and benches for transit riders
  • Improve health by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating more accessible transportation options.
  • Invest in infrastructure that creates more livable public spaces

I have gained a greater understanding of the importance of working together across different sectors in Los Angeles, and the role of a non-profit in inspiring change and building bridges with other organizations, community members, and transportation agencies to work together on some of these issues.

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