Environmental Justice Advisors
BCDC’s Environmental Justice (EJ) Advisors bring extensive expertise and unique perspectives from CBOs serving socially vulnerable, underrepresented, indigenous, and EJ populations. EJ Advisors work with BCDC staff to help the agency best implement the Environmental Justice and Social Equity policies, adopted by BCDC in October 2019 as part of a Bay Plan Amendment.
BCDC strives to develop and nurture long-term relationships with leaders of communities serving socially vulnerable, underrepresented, and EJ populations within the nine-county Bay Area to ensure their unique perspectives shape its programs and activities. The Environmental Justice Advisors helps BCDC advance these goals by providing independent analyses, recommendations, and other input.
The EJ Advisors are collaborating with staff and BCDC’s EJ Commissioner Working Group on projects addressing topics such as:
- guidance on how potential projects should best engage with CBOs to have “meaningful community engagement;”
- how to assess “disproportionate adverse impacts” within the scope of BCDC’s regulatory authority for shoreline communities; and
- how to increase community awareness about and involvement in shoreline adaptation planning and projects.
The EJ Advisors do not constitute a formal committee established by the Commission, do not work on individual project permits, and do not have regulatory authority.
BCDC thanks Resources Legacy Fund for providing generous funding for the EJ Advisors.
Let’s meet our EJ Advisors!
Selena Feliciano is a community-member and founder of SF Consulting Co., a local outreach firm with a commitment to amplify efforts that facilitate a just transition of local economies by engaging BIPOC communities around food security, sustainable energy, transportation and social justice. She is the Worker Director of People Power Solar Cooperative, Board Director of Berkeley Student Cooperative Alumni Association, and a contributing artist of bicycle environmental troupe Agile Rascale Theater. Selena is an avid bee steward, cyclist, and surfer, and is passionate about BIPOC connections to ancestry and the land.
Julio Garcia is program manager at Nuestra Casa in East Palo Alto. As the Commissioners might recall, Julio has been deeply involved with other BCDC efforts, such as the EJ review team that helped develop the agency’s Bay Plan Environmental Justice policies, and is a member of Bay Adapt’s Leadership Advisory Group. At Nuestra Casa, he develops, manages, implements, and evaluates Nuestra Casa’s programs and community outreach efforts with a focus on the growing Environmental Justice program. His work in East Palo Alto goes back 25 years when he was part of Comité de Base at St. Francis.
Anthony G. Khalil is an independent consultant at the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, serving as the organization’s community engagement and ecological restoration specialist. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in social justice from San Francisco State University. Over the past two decades, Anthony has worked with Literacy for Environmental Justice and other organizations’ environmental education and restoration programs for youth of color. Early on in the Covid pandemic, Khalil launched a free food distribution program “Bayview Bounty Boxes” with the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, which is the first phase in establishing a Community Co-op Grocery Store. Anthony is also a spouse, father, brother, uncle, Mentor, Ecologist, Outdoorsman, Waterman, and Culture Bearer.
Violet Saena is a community advocate in San Mateo County with a deep understanding of sea level rise and climate change. She spent four years as the Principal Climate Change Officer for the government of her home island nation of Samoa, supporting climate change policy improvements and liaising between Pacific Islands and Caribbean nations to ensure regional coordination and support for small island states in international climate policies. Violet is the founding Director of Climate Resilient Communities, a project of Acterra. Before joining Acterra, Violet served as a lead researcher for Sustainable Silicon Valley and Project Manager for the East Palo Alto Net Positive Project.
Marybelle Tobias is an environmental justice lawyer who advocates on behalf of marginalized and overburdened communities across the state and the country. She helped shape the California Climate Investment Program and is the Founder and Principal of E / J Solutions, where she brings extensive experience in environmental and civil rights litigation, community-driven planning, leadership of climate justice coalitions, and equitable climate, housing, and transportation policy. Marybelle co-facilitated West Oakland's community plan to improve air quality and co-led equitable community engagement and policy development for the City of Oakland’s 2030 Equitable Climate Action Plan (ECAP). She authored the Racial Equity Impact Assessment and Implementation Guide for the ECAP. Marybelle graduated from UC San Diego with a BA in Political Science and received her JD from UC Hastings.
LaDonna Williams is a highly experienced frontline community leader from South Vallejo, advocating for environmental justice and African American disadvantaged communities throughout the Bay Area. She became an activist when she discovered that her community in Daly City was built on top of more than 350 superfund carcinogens left behind by PG&E. She has traveled throughout the country highlighting environmental racism since. LaDonna is the Programs Director of All Positives Possible, a non-profit grassroots community-based organization serving low-income disadvantaged communities right to clean quality air, water, land and soil locally, regionally and nationally, supporting their right to self-determination.