February 7, 2012
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Ellen Choy

Photo: Xiomara Castro

My work is dedicated to uprooting a system that doesn’t work for us or the planet, and replacing it with our own solutions that respect people, culture and Mother Earth.

At MSC, Ellen Choy staffs the Climate Justice Alignment – a new national alliance of frontline community forces and allies unified to end extreme energy and to build local resilience and remedy the root causes of climate change.

Ellen is the daughter and granddaughter of Chinese and Korean immigrants, raised in the Los Angeles area, and transplanted to the Bay Area in 2003. Politicized by the struggle of immigrant families and the impact of environmental racism, Ellen has been working to uplift and support the leadership of low-income communities of color in the fight to address climate change and build our own solutions.

Since graduating from UC Berkeley in 2007, Ellen jumped into environmental justice organizing and national movement building as a program associate and director of the Climate Literacy Training program with the Environmental Justice & Climate Change Initiative. She was a core organizer with the Mobilization for Climate Justice West in 2009-2011, supporting the capacity of local organizations in their fight against Chevron in Richmond, California through direct action and popular education. Since 2010, she has also helped to build a national network of young people of color in the US called Youth for Climate Justice. Currently, Ellen also works part-time as staff and a collective member of Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project – who trains and facilitates strategic planning for action among leading organizers from urban organizations working for economic and racial justice in the context of the global ecological crisis.

Ellen also has a deep passion for youth organizing, and has worked at various youth organizations in the Bay Area. She started as an afterschool program manager at Life Academy High School in East Oakland in 2009. She has also worked with the SAFIRE youth program at Forward Together (formerly Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice), and most recently, was the Youth Program Coordinator for Mandela Marketplace, working with youth in West Oakland to increase access to healthy food in their community.

In addition, Ellen is an active member of HOBAK (Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans), a group of young ant-imperialist Koreans building community, learning history and organizing together. She is a community radio producer on APEX Express (KPFA) – an Asian and Pacific Islander political radio show, and is also a hiphop/soul/funk DJ.

Ellen is the recipient of the 2011 Redford Center Arts in Activism Award and the 2012 Mario Savio Young Activist Award. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.

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