Policy & Popcorn: “Moving in the Right Direction: The Importance of Transportation to Environmental Justice”

About the Session
Robust transportation options increase opportunities for quality education, expand the job market, and improve overall quality of life. But transportation access is not equitably distributed. Low-resource communities and communities of color have historically been left out of transportation decision-making processes. These communities also disproportionately experience adverse effects of transportation projects—such as displacement and environmental harm—while not receiving their fare share of benefits. This discussion will explore past environmental injustices in transportation, highlight ongoing advocacy work, and discuss strategies to promote equitable transportation access in a rapidly evolving transportation landscape.


About the Speakers

  • Bernadette Austin is Acting Director of the Center for Regional Change at UC Davis, where she works to build bridges across disciplines and support research that is community-engaged, policy-oriented, and equity-focused. Prior to coming to UC Davis, Bernadette worked on projects including Sacramento’s first transit-oriented development, West Sacramento’s first urban farm stand, and the country's first program combining housing vouchers and health services for disabled adults. Bernadette also serves as co-lead of the Sacramento Area Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network, as a Commissioner and former Chair of the West Sacramento Planning Commission, and on the Executive Committee of the Sacramento District Council of the Urban Land Institute. She holds a Master of Science in Community Development from UC Davis and a Bachelor of Science in Community Health from St. Mary’s College of California.
  • Linda Khamoushian is the Policy Director of the California Bicycle Coalition, a statewide advocacy organization that envisions equitable, inclusive, and prosperous communities where bicycling enables all Californians to lead healthy and joyful lives. Linda's first taste of state policy was as a youth advocate with the California Association of Student Councils, where she helped develop proposals to address issues within the public education system in California. Over the course of her studies and work experience, Linda developed an interest in the intersection between health, land use, and the environment. She uses this background to advocate for safer streets, climate action, and a just transportation system for the 21st century.  Linda holds a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA, and a Bachelor's degree in Political Economy from UC Berkeley
  • Diana Vazquez is the Policy Manager for the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA). She is responsible for representing the interests and perspectives of CEJA's member organizations in front of the California state legislature, the governor's office, agencies, and environmental advocates. Before joining CEJA, Diana worked for Sierra Club California and as a Legislative Assistant for Assemblymember Ed Chau and former Assemblymember Mike Eng. She continues her activism and community involvement by participating in organizations that advocate for the betterment of marginalized communities, including the Women's Policy Institute, the Association of Raza Educators, Sacramento Latina Leaders Network, Chicano Latino Capitol Association and New Leaders Council. Diana is a proud first generation college graduate from UC Davis, where she received a B.A. in Political Science and Chicano/a Studies. She also holds an MPP from the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at CSU Monterey Bay.