Earth Day may have been Friday, but it’s everyday for Vien Truong.
The director of Green For All is a former Vietnamese refugee who lived in poverty growing up with her parents in Oakland.
In a question and answer with the Hewlitt Foundation, Truong says she learned about the connection between poverty and the environment when she moved away from home.
“It wasn’t until I was able to travel and live in other parts of the United States that I understood it was not normal for families to live in cramped apartments festering with cockroaches; kids to attend schools that are surrounded with chain-linked fences that look like prisons; neighborhoods to have regular drive by shootings,” she said.
She dedicated her life to uprooting poverty and became more aware of droughts, polluted air and lack of reliable drinking water.
“When I learned that one can work to solve environmental problems and economic justice – I was hooked. I joined Green For All in 2008 to lead their state policy work.”
One of her proudest moment as director of Green for All was the work getting the water crisis in Flint, Michigan to a national audience. Green for All successfully worked with the media to get the residents stories told.
Green for All has also been a leader in the passage of a California bill which caps greenhouse emissions, fines companies who violate that cap and directs that money to low income communities most impacted by climate change.
She calls it a ” great example of the possibility of tackling both issues simultaneously.”
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