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Say hello to our summer interns: Hey, Madison!

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To say we are incredibly fortunate and honored to be able to work with young women leaders like Madison is an understatement. Madison is a passionate and multi-gifted force who has jumped right in to support our growth with her dedication, professionalism, and skill in this exciting time for WEA. We are so lucky to have her on our Programs +  Operations team this summer and we cannot wait to see what she accomplishes in deepening her impact for communities and the earth. Read on to get to know her more!

Name: Madison Barbee

Role at WEA: Programs and Operations Intern

Hometown: Puyallup, WA

Fun Fact: I’ve studied and performed classical ballet for 15 years! And I still perform with USF’s dance ensemble every semester!

Why did you want to intern with WEA? I have always believed in the power of grassroots community to create change, and I am extremely passionate about the type of intersectionality between social and environmental justice advocacy that WEA supports and empowers across the globe. I also strongly believe that the empowerment of women in communities around the world is the key to combating the environmental crisis, and am truly honored to play a role in what WEA is doing to make that empowerment a reality.

What’s your go-to strategy for lessening your environmental/climate footprint? Repurposing and upcycling are some of my favorite ways to keep my environmental footprint to a minimum. I find myself being very aware of the consumer culture we all live in, and with that, I’m always trying to find ways to use old things instead of buying something new. There are so many things that can be used for so many other things in this world, and it can be so fun to be creative with repurposing old things into something new and unique. Thrifting is also a fave of mine, and thrift finds are always so special and one-of-a-kind!

Tell us about a woman who inspires you. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has been a huge inspiration in my day-to-day life recently. I think she has such a strong presence and call for action on so many levels, and she is a great reminder for me to keep persevering in my efforts to help change the world. She gives me a lot of hope as well, even though bringing up the need for climate action seems like a daunting task in this current moment, she is bringing these issues to light, and advancing them in a very public arena, which is absolutely great.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area? I will go to almost any concert, anytime, anywhere. Live music is a big passion of mine, and there are so many unique venues and shows happening all the time in all corners of the Bay.

Any community events coming up you’re excited about (bonus points if it’s women-led/organized!)? The Conservatory of Flowers is putting on Botanicals and Brews in August! It’ll be a great time for the community to come together to experience amazing local music (my fave) and drinks, and the beauty of Golden Gate Park! 

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to? I’m currently watching Big Little Lies, the drama and acting are truly unparalleled! I’m reading Dark Emu, By Bruce Pascoe which takes an in-depth look at Australian Aboriginal contributions to major modern technologies. And I’m currently listening to Goldlink’s new album, Diaspora, soooo good!

Say hello to our summer interns: Hi, Lia!

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One of the things we witness time and time again is that women hold the seeds for transforming the world. We see it in our work with grassroots partners, as well as in the inspiring, dedicated interns who support our work throughout the year. We’re thrilled to introduce you to Lia Knight-Williams — a passionate young leader committed to change and equity, and an invaluable addition to WEA’s internship team this summer!

Lia is a second year student at Stanford University with a deep passion for education, and is excited to dive into work that uplifts both women and the environment. She’ll be bringing her incredible skill set and warm spirit to our team for the rest of summer, and we’re so honored! Help us welcome Lia and read more about her below!

Name: Lia Knight-Williams

Role at WEA: Programs and Director Relations Intern

Hometown: Sacramento

Fun Fact: My favorite genre of music is 30s’ jazz!

Why did you want to intern with WEA? I am passionate about fighting for women’s rights on the national and global scale. When I found out about WEA’s mission, I knew it was a perfect fit to learn more about the intersection and connectedness of women and the environment. I am very excited to grow in an empowering environment of women leaders!

What’s your go-to strategy for lessening your environmental/climate footprint? We live in a day and age of intense materialism, so I strive to stay constantly mindful of my actual needs vs wants, and think of ways I can make environmentally friendly substitutions and changes in my life. I am a big fan of finding creative ways to reuse and repurpose items!

Tell us about a woman who inspires you. Michelle Obama has been an incredible role model for me. Representation is invaluable, and as a young girl I I was greatly inspired by Michell Obama, especially because of her dedication to education. One of my favorite quotes from her is:“Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise.”

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area? I love hiking under the redwoods. Muir Woods is a childhood favorite of mine!

Any community events coming up you’re excited about (bonus points if it’s women-led/organized!)? I’m looking forward to Sacramento’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event put on by WEAVE in August.

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to? One of my favorite books right now is Colormute by Mica Pollock, and I’m always listening to Al Bowlly, Billie Holiday, and now Lizzo!

Say hello to our summer interns: Hey, Amanda!

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Ever wonder who’s helping to keep the drumbeat of our social media going? Who’s the magic behind our SEO? Who’s got her finger on the pulse of our analytics and insights? Please help us welcome Amanda Mier to the team this summer!

Amanda is our social media maven and comms extraordinaire (though her resume will probably say Social Media + Communications Intern). She’s a Junior at UC Berkeley, with a passion for purpose-driven content creation and outreach, and we love working with her. We can’t wait to see all that’s possible through her thoughtful and creative support this summer!

Do us a favor? Head over to one of our social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) and say hey to Amanda!

Name: Amanda Mier
Role at WEA: Social Media + Communications Intern
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Fun Fact: I taught myself Hebrew in six months before my Bat Mitzvah (and immediately forgot it all).

Why did you want to intern with WEA? I love writing and knew I wanted to gain experience with content creation, but I also wanted to be engaged with and passionate about the work I’m doing. WEA presented an intersection of two things I care deeply about, and two of the most pressing issues facing our world right now: climate change and women’s rights. I feel like a lot of people only consider the deteriorating ecological situation as a problem hurting the physical earth, but that can compartmentalize and ignore the communities of already vulnerable women who are negatively impacted by climate change. WEA focuses on this intersection, and that’s what drew me in!

What’s your go-to strategy for lessening your environmental/climate footprint? It’s really small, but I am working on being more cognizant of how many pre-packaged or disposable products I am buying and consuming. When I was younger my grandparents (who lived on a self-sufficient farm) would always talk about the dangers of conspicuous consumption, and now that I’m older I am recognizing the sheer quantity I use and throw away in a week, so I am making an effort to minimize the amount of plastic I buy and reuse whenever possible.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you. Agh. I hate being cliche, but I am really inspired by my mom. She grew up on a farm in the foothills of Northern California without running water or electricity and ended up getting her Master’s in Public Policy from Berkeley (Go Bears!) before having kids. She returned to work for a non-profit to de-stigmatize depression in children and teens, and now she is in law school to become a public defender. I think she emblematizes how you can accomplish anything you work for, and how you can find your passion at any age.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area? I love walking around the neighborhoods in Berkeley and looking through used book stores! Another of my favorite things to do is BART into San Francisco with my friends and spend the day picnicking and window-shopping in the Haight-Ashbury. I do not hike, because I cannot walk upstairs without getting out of breath, but I’ve found that the views are amazing when my friends force me to exercise.

Any community events coming up you’re excited about (bonus points if it’s women-led/organized!) I’m really excited to volunteer for Kamala Harris’ campaign here in the Bay Area!

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to? I just consumed all of Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridges’ masterpiece of a TV show, in one sitting and was left heart-wrenched by the combination of quick humor and one of the most accurate portrayals of grief I’ve ever seen. It’s only two seasons and twelve episodes total, so if anyone has six hours to spare I highly recommend. I also loved the second season of the podcast In the Dark, which focused unflinchingly on the flaws and racial biases in the criminal justice system. It was really eye-opening.

Meet the Interns: Hi, Ashley!

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“Women are the backbones of their communities, and yet they face marginalization on multiple fronts. If we are able to cultivate spaces where women’s rights and needs are prioritized rather than treated as an afterthought, entire communities will benefit.” – Ashley Vu, WEA Intern

To say we are incredibly fortunate and honored to be able to work with young women leaders like Ashley is an understatement. Ashley has been supporting the development of our recently launched grassroots accelerators, our donor stewardship program, and our organizational outreach with such care, dedication and attention to detail. Read on to get to her know more!

Name: Ashley Vu
Hometown: Santa Ana, CA

If you had a superpower, what would it would be (and why):
I would want to be able to teleport. I’ve always wanted to travel the world and being able to teleport would mean that I can do just that without breaking the bank (at least in terms of transportation).

Why did you want to intern with WEA?
I was taking an Environmental Health and Development class this past summer and my professor had mentioned a local non-profit organization called WEA, who was not only helping the environment but also doing so through uplifting and working directly with women leaders in the communities they were hoping to impact. I found WEA’s mission statement incredibly inspiring and began to follow them since.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you.
I would have to say my grandma. She practically raised me and as I’ve gotten older I realize how much she’s done for my family. She emigrated from Viet Nam in hopes of providing a better life for her seven children, raised those seven children as a single mother in a foreign country, and reminds all of her grandchildren to keep in touch with our Vietnamese culture. Even at 79 years old, she holds a light within her that shows no signs of dulling anytime soon. She is truly one of the most resilient and independent women I know and I hope to be at least half of the woman she is.

Why women and why the environment?
Women are the backbones of their communities, and yet they face marginalization on multiple fronts. If we are able to cultivate spaces where women’s rights and needs are prioritized rather than treated as an afterthought, entire communities will benefit.

The environment, as well, has been treated as an afterthought by many people, but the ways that it affects us are plentiful. Specifically, marginalized communities are the most impacted when they are the ones who are often the least responsible for the state of our planet. It’s about time we start treating climate change and environmental issues as urgent problems that need prompt addressing.

What does your life outside WEA look like?
I’m currently a senior at UC Berkeley studying Applied Mathematics, so this past semester (outside of WEA) has consisted of me trying to study my best while also trying to take in as much of Berkeley/the Bay Area as I can. I’m usually either studying, hanging out with friends, going thrift shopping, or trying new food places. My friends and I have a “bucket list” of restaurants and hiking spots we’ve been wanting to visit before we all graduate.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area?
I love the food scene in the Bay Area, specifically Berkeley; there’s so many different cuisines but also small Mom-and-Pop shops, which I love. My hometown is pretty diverse in food options, but oversaturated with a lot of food chain restaurants. Here, I’m able to get small glimpses of other cultures through their food and I’m also able to support small businesses whose establishments hold so much history and sentiment for the communities they reside in.

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to?
I’m currently reading Jung’s Map of the Soul by Murray Stein and Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. As for what I’m listening to, I’m always listening to the K-Pop group BTS (a lot of people don’t realize how thoughtful their lyrics are!) and have also been listening to a lot of H.E.R.

Meet our newest board member, Charity Tooze

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WEA’s newest Leadership Board member, Charity Tooze, is a longtime champion of women’s rights, and currently serves as Director of Gender, Partnerships, and Communications with Equal Access International. She’s a creative social impact leader with a fierce commitment to uplifting girl and women-led organizations, and we are honored to have her experience and voice on our board.