Kickoff Plenary: A Reason for Hope

Thursday, June 24th, 8:30-10:00am | Register for CAF 2021

While the 2021 California Adaptation Forum focuses on The Grand Adaptation Challenge, we want to focus first on the tremendous progress that California’s adaptation community has made in recent years that give us A Reason for Hope.

The climate challenges we face are undoubtedly immense. Communities are already facing the devastating impacts of wildfires, extreme heat, drought, and flooding, exacerbating historic and ongoing inequities in marginalized communities. However, we know that there are many successes to celebrate – from community-led initiatives to ambitious State actions and beyond. The adaptation community is growing and mobilizing; more communities are developing actionable adaptation plans; and we’re continuing to witness our collective transition from adaptation awareness and planning to real, on-the-ground action. We invite you to join us for this inspiring and engaging conversation with community and State leaders.

Featured Keynote Speaker

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia

Eduardo Garcia proudly represents California’s 56th Assembly District, which includes cities and unincorporated communities in eastern Riverside County and Imperial County, including Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland.

Elected in 2014, Garcia is the current chair of Water, Parks and Wildlife. In this capacity he oversees some of the state’s most pressing issues, such as drought conditions, and the implementation of the multi-billion dollar Proposition 1, Water Bond passed by voters in 2014. Garcia also serves on the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization and Utilities and Energy.

Included in this string of success was SB 32 and AB 197, the historic climate change package that established landmark state emission reduction mandate, boosted oversight and transparency of the Air Resources Board while constructing the framework to ensure future climate policies prioritize investments into disadvantaged communities that are most affected by pollution.

Plenary Speakers & Panelists

Jessa Calderon

Sacred Places Institute

Jessa Calderon is the Coordinator of Indigenous Oceans and Waters Protector Program for Sacred Places Institute. Jessa is a songwriter, poet, hip hop artist, performer, hypnotherapist, massage therapist, energy worker and offers guided meditations. Jessa encourages our community and youth to find their healing mentally, physically and spiritually through her words, music and practices. Jessa has had the privilege to work with community and youth from many Nations, helping them find themselves while helping them to feel good about themselves.

Secretary Wade Crowfoot

California Natural Resources Agency

Secretary Crowfoot oversees an agency of 19,000 employees who protect and manage California’s natural resources. This includes the state’s forests and natural lands, rivers and waterways, coast and ocean, fish and wildlife, and energy development. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on natural resources and environmental issues.

Prior to leading the Natural Resources Agency, Crowfoot served as chief executive officer of the Water Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropy that builds shared water solutions across the American West. Before that Crowfoot served in Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration as deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to the Governor. He also previously served as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a senior environmental advisor to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Lil Milagro Henriquez

Mycelium Youth Network

Lil Milagro Henriquez is the founder and Executive Director of Mycelium Youth Network, an organization dedicated to preparing and empowering frontline youth for climate change. She’s a veteran of social justice organizing with 20+ years of experience working on a myriad of issues, including access to higher education for low-income people and communities of color, food sovereignty, environmental racism, union democracy and labor organizing, among others. In 2017, she founded Mycelium Youth Network. Mycelium has been named as one of the only organizations actively preparing young people for climate change in the United States (International Transformational Resilience Coalition press release) and were honored to have our work recognized with the Quaker United Nations People’s Empowerment Climate Series. Lil Milagro is the 2020 recipient of the national Women’s Earth Alliance fellowship and the 2021 recipient of the Partners Advancing Climate Equity fellowship. She was recently recognized as one of the top 16 Eco-Warriors of 2021 by Marin Magazine.

Nuin-Tara Key

Governor's Office of Planning and Research

Nuin-Tara is Deputy Director for Climate Resilience at OPR and Chair of the Technical Advisory Council for the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program. Prior to joining OPR, Nuin-Tara co-founded an international initiative on community-based climate action and has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors on sustainable urban and regional planning and policy, with a focus on social equity and climate change.

Kate Meis Wright

Local Government Commission

Kate Meis Wright is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC)— a nationally recognized nonprofit connecting local leaders, implementing innovative solutions and advancing smart-growth policies. Founded in 1980, LGC has over 700 members, 40 staff and 90 CivicSpark Fellows working on smart growth initiatives throughout the state and the Nation. Kate is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum and has been recognized for her climate-change work by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as one of the nation’s “40 under 40 Young Leaders Who Are Solving the Problems of Today – and Tomorrow”.

Kate launched many of LGC’s pioneering programs including CAF, CivicSpark, and the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA). Kate is a regular presenter at national, state and regional events; she has been asked to provide expert testimony at legislative and council hearings; has authored guidebooks, fact sheets, newsletters and blogs; and has been featured in podcasts, radio shows and documentaries.

Spoken Word Performer

Kemara Night

Author, multidisciplinary artist, & advocate for justice, Kemara Night uses “artivism” (art+activism) to heal and grow consciousness. A few notable moments include singing with Kristin Chenoweth on Broadway, performing and protesting at The Kennedy Center, and modeling for Callen-Lorde. Her training is vast, garnering credentials with Urban Word NYC, Sing Harlem Choir, Girl Be Heard, and more. A certified teaching artist and cycling mentor, Night is also a Music major at BMCC. She vows life is not worthy without the sharing of creation and urges y’all to remember: #BlackMentalHealthMatters

Join us for this engaging conversation with community and state leaders!