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Land Use / Smart Growth / Transportation


Transit Justice is Racial and Climate Justice

Thursday, October 1, 2020
10:00am - 11:30am

Join Smart Growth California’s Los Angeles Funders Collaborative, the Collaborative on Mobility and Access at TFN, Southern California Grantmakers, ClimatePlan, Transit Center, ACT-LA, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance and the Community Power Collective for a conversation about transit justice in Los Angeles and its state and national implications.

Despite LA County’s car-centric reputation, over a million Angelenos do not have cars, and this is particularly true in LA’s Black and immigrant communities. Public transit is the community infrastructure that connects us to jobs, family, and healthcare. LA County is by far the most populated County in the US; it is critical to maintain and grow our transit ridership in order to address climate change and improve air quality.

However, public transit in LA County is often unreliable, slow, poorly connected and overpoliced. It burdens the pocketbooks of the extremely low income families that rely on it. ACT-LA, a countywide coalition working on transit issues believes that LA Metro as an agency has long prioritized the wrong budget items; funding major train projects over the much more utilized bus system, maintaining an extensive fare enforcement system and committing almost a billion dollars for policing.

Community organizers in LA are building a movement for transit justice in order to make the County’s development of public transportation a pathway to a just transition rather than a source of displacement and further inequity. This convening invites dialogue about the multi-sector nature of this issue, successes and challenges at the state and regional level and where we go from here.


David Bragdon

Executive Director, TransitCenter

David has been at the helm of TransitCenter since 2013, leading its reinvention as a civic philanthropy. He assembled the crew and sets direction for the foundation’s mission to improve urban transportation.

He’s a reformer by nature, who’s led change and organizational improvement in both the public and private sectors. He spent the early part of his career as a maritime and aviation freight dog, and was then elected to two terms as President of the Metro Council, the regional government for the Portland, Oregon area. He drove a taxi cab for a year, jump-seated a 747 freighter into the then-USSR, rode a Dutch container ship up the Strait of Malacca, and twice (once for two minutes in Minnesota and once for five minutes in Iowa) has been allowed to run the engineer’s throttle on a freight train, so he knows how to move big things.


Chanell Fletcher

Executive Director, ClimatePlan

As the Executive Director of ClimatePlan, Chanell oversees network partners and staff efforts’ on state and regional policy to help California communities become more healthy, equitable, and sustainable. Chanell has over 10 years of experience working on policy issues related to climate change, land use, and transportation. Chanell sits on the boards of the Planning and Conservation League and California Walks. Previously, as the organization’s Associate Director, Chanell led ClimatePlan’s policy campaigns. Prior to that, as Senior California Policy Manager for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Chanell worked with state agencies and the state legislature to support safe walking and bicycling for children and families, especially in lower-income communities throughout California. Chanell began her career as an intern in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, analyzing the federal transportation bill, MAP-21, connecting it to states’ performance and funding needs. Chanell received her Master's degree in Public Administration from San Francisco State University and studied history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Carla De Paz

Community Power Collective

Carla De Paz is the daughter of an immigrant single mother from Guatemala that found herself planting roots in Lynwood, CA. She had a humble but joyful upbringing, raised in a household with extended and chosen family who instilled a strong sense of responsibility, community, and lots of dancing. Her passion for organizing flourished in college while volunteering for IDEPSCA at multiple day laborer sites. After graduating with a BA in Political Science and Labor & Workplace Studies from UCLA in 2010, she started organizing nursing homeworkers with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). While at SEIU, she organized over 500 workers to win union representation through National Labor Board Relations elections.

Carla became more interested in land use and housing issues after her family lost their home during the foreclosure crisis. In 2013, she started organizing with the East LA Community Corporation and over a 7 year period she led multiple high profile efforts including the base building work for the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign which won the legalization of street vending in 2019 and securing affordable housing and green space on all Metro-owned land in Boyle Heights. She also played a big part in shaping ELACC’s political orientation towards transformative organizing and movement building, making ELACC a prominent player within the housing justice movement ecosystem.

Unfortunately, after suffering a financial crisis that was amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization was no longer able to sustain its organizing programs. In April of 2020, Carla made the decision to lead the separation of ELACC’s organizing work into a new entity, the Community Power Collective (CPC), and now leads CPC’s operations, advocacy and coalition work. She chairs the Organizing Committees for the Alliance for Community Transit (ACT-LA), the Healthy LA Coalition, and is on the steering committee for Homes For All California.

Carla’s lived experience and learnings in the 12 years of organizing have solidified her identity as a social movement leftist and she hopes to continue building her skill sets as a strategist within CPC and to strengthen CPC’s role as a tool for winning housing and land use justice in Los Angeles. Carla enjoys reading poetry about radical free love, she enjoys summer day dancing to reggaeton, and enjoys Sundays by herself with her plants.


Laura Raymond 

Director, ACT-LA

Laura Raymond is the Director of the Alliance for Community Transit – Los Angeles (ACT-LA), a coalition of 37 organizations. Since 2015, she has led ACT-LA’s work on numerous successful city and County campaigns that have won policies including Measure JJJ, LA’s affordable housing linkage fee, and LA Metro’s Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) policy. She also co-led a community/labor campaign that defeated Measure S. Currently, she is directing the coalition’s equitable planning program, its city, county and statewide policy work, and a transit justice organizing and advocacy campaign.

Over the last 20 years, she has been active in a wide range of policy campaigns, civil and human rights projects and has built and coordinated numerous social justice coalitions. Prior to ACT-LA, she spent 6 years managing advocacy campaigns with the Center for Constitutional Rights and 3 years as National Student Organizer for the National Lawyers Guild. She has a self-designed Masters degree in Policy Advocacy from the School for International Training and a B.A. in Community Studies from UC Santa Cruz.

Alexandra Suh

Executive Director, KIWA

A supporter of KIWA since she moved to Los Angeles in 2002, Alexandra Suh joined KIWA’s staff in 2009 and became executive director in 2011. Suh has over twenty years’ experience in social justice work and holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University. In 2014, California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez honored her as 53rd Assembly District Woman of the Year. Suh was named one of LA Weekly’s People 2014 and is the recipient of Liberty Hill’s 2014 Changemaker Award. She was a member of the 2014-15 cohort of the Fellowship for a New California and the 2018 cohort of Lead Now California through the Rockwood Leadership Institute. Suh serves on the executive boards of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (LA Fed) and of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). She also serves on the City of Los Angeles Workforce Development Board. She lives in Koreatown with her partner and two children. She seeks to bring ecological awareness together with organizing and advocacy for social and economic justice–to create a livable Koreatown, Los Angeles, and world.

Presented in partnership with:

No cost to participate

Who May Attend
Current SCG, NCG, and SDG members

SCG members: Register online
NCG & SDG members: Register online
If you have additional questions regarding these sessions, please contact us at [email protected]

Accommodations for People with Disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this activity, please contact our programs team at [email protected] or (213) 680-8866. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.

About this Location
This location is ADA compliant, has dedicated nursing rooms, and gender-neutral restrooms available.


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