Phone: 661-720-9140 ext. 302
Caroline Farrell is the Executive Director of the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment based out of CRPE’s Delano office. For over 14 years she has assisted low income communities and communities of color in the south San Joaquin Valley and throughout the country in their struggle for environmental justice. She quickly established a reputation as one of the Valley’s foremost environmental justice advocates, going toe-to-toe with agricultural polluters from Fresno to Bakersfield. Caroline has represented low income communities and communities of color on issues related to dairy development in the Central Valley, hazardous waste facilities, land application of biosolids, and land use planning issues.
Caroline serves on the Steering Committee for the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, the Steering Committee for the California Environmental Justice Alliance, on the Impact Fund’s Grant Advisory Committee and on the Board of Directors for Communities for a Better Environment, the Planning and Conservation League, and Act for Women and Girls in Visalia. She co-authored with Luke Cole Structural Racism, Structural Pollution and the Need for a New Paradigm for the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy and authored, SB 115: California’s Response to Environmental Justice- Process over Substance, for the Golden Gate Environmental Law Journal and Lessons Learned from the Environmental Justice Movement for the Duke Forum for Law & Social Change. Her advocacy helped CRPE win the Carla Bard Award from California Water Policy Advocates. Caroline also received the 2007 Dr. Zweig Community Health Advocate Award from the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice and OMB Watch’s Rising Star in Public Interest award in 2008. Caroline graduated from Golden Gate University School of Law in 1999 with Highest Honors. She received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.
Phone: 415-346-4179 ext. 302
Ingrid Brostrom, a graduate of the University of California-Hastings College of the Law, joined CRPE in 2006 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow. She currently leads CRPE’s Toxic-Free Communities campaign, which seeks to eliminate or reduce toxic threats in California’s low-income communities and communities of color. As part of this campaign, Ingrid coordinates the People’s Senate, a coalition of residents and advocates from communities impacted by toxic waste who work together to drive reforms in California’s management and cleanup of hazardous waste. Ingrid is a member of the Hazardous Waste Reduction Initiative Advisory Committee for the Department of Toxic Substances Control. She also leads CRPE’s policy team, which sponsors and support state legislation to advance environmental justice in the Central Valley and beyond. Before joining CRPE, Ingrid worked primarily on wildlife and land conservation issues. She graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with degrees in environmental studies and politics and interned with the Jane Goodall Institute, the Center on Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club. She was an articles editor for the West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law and Policy and published a piece on protecting culturally significant wildlife using the National Historic Preservation Act. Her focus shifted toward environmental justice after interning with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment during her final summer in law school. Ingrid, while no longer on an active team, considers herself a rugby player for life.
Phone: 661-720-9140 x306
Guadalupe Martinez was born in Brownsville, Texas, and moved to California with his mother and family in 1964 after his father suffered a fatal tractor accident. He soon started working in the field of the San Joaquin Valley, working for a variety of farm labor contractors. Martinez left school at an early age to work to provide for his family. In 1973, he met Maria Gallegos while attending night school. They were married shortly afterward and have lived together to this day, raising three children, Esmeralda, Jorge and Jeraldo.
While working in the grape fields in Ducor, Martinez met several organizers from the United Farm Workers, including Cesar Chavez. That was his first encounter with the Union and the taste for organizing and seeking justice never left him. He soon joined the UFW staff in Delano and worked as a full-time volunteer, tirelessly organizing farm workers for $10 a week stipend. In 1984 Cesar asked Martinez to move to Canada to help organize the grape boycott. Because of his dedication and belief, Martinez moved his family to Toronto, Ontario, Canada where they lived and organized support for the UFW. Upon his return from Canada in 1988, he continued working with the Union including organizing the local community supporting Cesar’s “Fast for Life” in Delano.
The following year Martinez began working with attorney Federico Sayre on a variety of cases involving pesticides in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1991 he started working with Luke Cole at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment as CRPE’s first full-time organizer, working on environmental justice issues in farm worker communities such as Malaga, Kettleman City, Delano, Shafter and Buttonwillow. Martinez’s daughter Esmeralda and his wife Maria returned to work for the Union in 1993 after the death of Cesar Chavez, and new UFW president Arturo Rodriguez recruited Lupe back to the Union as well. He served the Union as an organizer, contract administrator, negotiator, Regional Director and National Organizing Director. In 1996 Martinez was elected to the UFW Executive Board and subsequently elected third vice president. He worked tirelessly, loyally, and passionately organizing farm workers and to establish a union presence again in the San Joaquin Valley. He retired from the Union in January 2006 and has now returned to CRPE to do environmental justice work.
Phone: 661-720-9140 x304
Gustavo Aguirre has over 33 years of organizing experience, getting his start with the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). Aguirre was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and immigrated to California at the age of 19, where he worked under a United Farm Workers’ union contract as a lemon harvester for 16 years. During his tenure at the company he served as a steward and as the leader of the UFW worker committee working on their contract negotiations and administration at his ranch. Aguirre volunteered for many union boycotts and political campaigns including the last federal immigration reform law of 1986 that provided amnesty to undocumented residents. Aguirre helped mobilize farm workers to walk precincts for local and national candidates and pro-union legislators.
Aguirre started working full time with the UFW in 1996 as an organizer. He was quickly was appointed Regional Director in charge of UFW operations in Southern California. In June 2003, he moved to Delano to serve as the Regional Director of the San Joaquin Valley. At the UFW Convention in 2000, Aguirre was elected National Vice President, serving in that position until May 2006. Aguirre had the opportunity to be part of the top UFW leadership team including President Arturo Rodriguez and co-founder Dolores Huerta.
After 25 plus years of involvement with UFW, in June 2006 Aguirre joined the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, as the lead coordinator of a joint campaign with Californians for Pesticide Reform on pesticide protection zones around schools. Aguirre was an instrumental part of this campaign, helping to persuade Tulare, Kern, Stanislaus and Madera counties to approve new pesticide buffer zones around schools.
Aguirre has played a key role in CRPE’s efforts to develop community leaders and build community power in the San Joaquin Valley. Aguirre has been particularly active in the South Kern Communities of Arvin and Greenfield. He has worked with communities on a wide range of issues from superfund site clean-ups to air quality to pesticides to county permitting and revocation processes.
Aguirre sits as chairperson on the Steering Committee for the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative in South Kern. He was on the Board of Directors of Lideres Campesinas from 2009 to 2012 and has helped several organizations undertake strategic and campaign planning processes, such as Californians for Pesticide Reform, Central California Environmental Justice Network, El Quinto Sol de America, Committee for a Better Arvin, Greenfield Walking Group, and Committee for a Better Shafter.
Director of Organizing
Phone: 415-346-4179 ext. 314
Phone: 415-346-4179 ext. 304
Brent works with CRPE's dynamic and talented team of attorneys while collaborating with our community organizers to deliver CRPE's unique style of environmental justice advocacy where we are on tap and not on top. Brent has 16 years of environmental justice litigation and policy experience on air quality, climate change, factory farm, and civil rights issues and has served as CRPE's legal director since 2008.
Brent started accumulating this experience as a CRPE legal intern while in law school. During that summer in 1998, he helped CRPE embark on a multi-year campaign to regulate factory farm dairies. After graduation, Brent joined CRPE as an Equal Justice Fellow in our Delano office and implemented a project to help rural communities protect themselves from unregulated factory farm air pollution. By the end of 2003, Brent had founded the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Project – which led to him earning the Breathe California Clean Air Award for Leadership in 2008 - and led a coalition of allies that ended California's agricultural exemption for air pollution regulations.
Brent's Clean Air Act experience includes a series of cases over ten years in which he forced California to adopt regulations to reduce volatile organic compound emissions from pesticide use and held factory dairy farms accountable for Clean Air Act violations. More recently, Brent has focused on CRPE's climate justice and sustainable agriculture campaigns where he advocates for climate policy that advances environmental justice, reform of the harmful factory farm system of food production, and protection of school children from discriminatory pesticide exposures.
A lifelong Californian, Brent graduated from Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, earned a degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1992, and got his J.D. at the University of Oregon School of Law. Brent lives in Sonoma County where he grew up.
Phone: 661-720-9140 ext 312
Juan Flores was born in Colima, Mexico and raised in Mexicali, Mexico. With his parents, Juan immigrated to Delano, California. Juan is the proud son of parents who are farm workers in the Central Valley, he is the second of three children. At the age of 14, Juan worked as a farm laborer in the grape fields during the summer months of vacation from Delano High School. Juan has also worked at a dairy where he saw firsthand the dangers of working in a non-regulated dairy.
Prior to joining CRPE Juan was a Family Advocate in Delano, CA. where he advocated for low income families to obtain free childcare for their children. Juan has always had the “heart” of an organizer and it is demonstrated with all of the work he has done when not “working.” Juan possesses an A.S degree in Medical Assisting. Juan is also an active member of COFEM (Consejo para los Federaciones Mexicanas). Juan is the secretary of Club Unidos por Cuauthemoc Colima. When not working, Juan enjoys spending time with his family and friends in Delano. He is also a huge soccer fan.
Phone: 661-720-9140 ext. 301
Valerie Gorospe works as a Community Organizer in Delano. Valerie has been with CRPE since 2009. She was raised in Earlimart, California. Growing up across the street from the grape fields, Valerie saw firsthand (but didn't realize as a child) environmental injustices. She has seen the negative health effects that pesticides can bring to human health in her own family. Valerie is the proud daughter of Teresa De Anda, a passionate and fearless advocate for California farmworkers and rural families threatened by pesticide exposure. Valerie is continuing her mother’s legacy of working on pesticide exposure to San Joaquin Valley residents.
Phone: 415-346-4179 x307
Growing up in the diverse Bay Area, Avani could very clearly see the links between inqequity and race. She grew up hearing her parents and grandmother discuss colonization and other injustices and understood from a young age that a basic respect for people and the earth was severely lacking in her community and country. Following a strong desire to see the world she studied international relations and literature at UC Davis, and had the opportunity to live in Brazil, Cuba and South Korea. She has worked at several nonprofits in the arena of immigrant rights, racial equity and the environment. Avani likes working at CRPE because it is based in community and works at the intersection of important issues. In her free time she likes to dance, draw, and take pictures.
Phone: (415) 346-4179 Ex: 300
Sarah Patterson is the Development Director at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, working from the Oakland office. She joined the staff in August of 2016. She was born in New England and raised in New Jersey. As a white, cisgender lesbian growing up in a racially and economically diverse suburb outside of Philadelphia, she saw how race, class, gender, and sexual orientation impacted people’s access to resources and ability to thrive. From a young age, she considered how her position and privilege could be leveraged against these inequities.
Prior to moving to the Bay, Sarah spent a decade organizing, researching, and working on issues related to the criminalization of women, LGBTQ people, low income communities, and communities of color, with a specific focus on those impacted by and involved with the sex trades. She co-founded and led the first community-based health advocacy organization for people with experience in the sex trades in New York City. She comes to her work at CRPE through both a health and economic lens, with the acknowledgement that groups experiencing racism and other intersecting oppressions are at a disproportionate risk for poverty, employment insecurity, and food insecurity.
As a former Executive Director and grassroots fundraiser, Sarah is very happy to bring her love for creative, collaborative fundraising to CRPE. She is also a proud Board Member at Trans Lifeline. She holds a Bachelors from Rutgers University and a Masters in Education from Widener University.
Refugio brings extensive experience in organizing, community building and education, particularly for the rights of farm workers and immigrants in the San Joaquin Valley. At CRPE, he has worked on campaigns to reduce dairy pollution, regulate pesticides and facilitated the creation of community gardens amongst other work. He has also worked for the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) and the Central Coast Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE). At CAUSE he organized, canvassed, facilitated and educated Oxnard residents on environmental justice issues and rights. While at the UFW he also worked on a variety of initiatives including empowering farmworkers to exercise their right to vote, immigrant rights campaigns, coordinating and participating in peaceful demonstrations and boycotts. Refugio is originally from Copandaro, Michoacan Mexico. He has a passion to contribute to the improvement and well-being of society.