Meet the Interns: Hi, Oriana!

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Summer is almost here, which means we’re welcoming a new cohort of bright and passionate interns to our team! To kick things off, we are so happy to introduce you to Oriana — a talented, dedicated force, and a committed advocate of climate resilience, particularly for displaced communities. She’ll be bringing all of her skills and care to our Programs + Operations team this summer.

Please help us in giving Oriana a very warm welcome!

Name: Oriana Cabrera Piemonte
Hometown: San Jose, CA

If you had a superpower, what would it be (and why)? I wish I knew how to speak every language because being able to communicate with anyone anywhere would give you the ability to connect with so many people and learn so much!

Why did you want to intern with WEA? I feel passionate about working in a field that challenges traditional development methods by learning alternative ways to combat food insecurity, poverty, and environmental destruction through grassroots organizing. This is exactly what WEA is doing by empowering rural communities and women to remain at the center of governance and management of their local resources. This is incredibly important as we face increasing climate change related natural disasters that have the ability to displace mass populations and can be a fueling force in local and international conflict. Coming from an immigrant family, I’ve always felt passionate about immigrant and refugee rights especially as I’ve learned more about the connections between climate change, human migration, and the risks that many immigrants might face when crossing borders. Through WEA’s projects, women, children, and communities as a whole have transitioned to be safer spaces that ensure climate resilience and economic opportunity, and potentially limits the number of people forced to move in search of education, employment, or safety.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you. Princess Nokia is an artist who has been a huge inspiration to me because she radically challenges societal norms surrounding gender and sexuality through her music. She talks a lot about embracing both masculinity and femininity as well as addressing intersectional issues surrounding race, women, the earth. One of the reasons I really appreciate her as a musician is because she aims at making her concerts safe spaces that prioritize women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community.

Why women and why the environment? As I became more involved studying the many intersections between environmental and social justice, I consistently found my studies leading me back to how women were most affected. I became most passionate about this when learning about illegal mining in South America and studying the impacts this had on indigenous women ranging from health impacts to increasing vulnerabilities to human trafficking and sexual violence; and in learning about the many injustices experienced by refugee women and children. Through my studies in international development I felt passionate about the lack of representation and inclusion of women in decision making for projects involving sustainability, employment, and education. Around the world knowledge has been gathered and passed down for generations by women through experiencing environmental changes and living directly in connection to their environment. This knowledge is incredibly valuable, and it must be heard and included when developing viable solutions to social and environmental issues, especially as women face increasing risks from the impacts of climate change.

What does your life outside WEA look like? I try to spend as much of my time as I can in a day outside. I love to be in the sun, whether I am just sitting outside reading or painting, out on a hike, or just walking around the city with friends. I also spend a lot of time with my family who are very involved with the Venezuelan community in the Bay Area so we spend a lot of time dancing and  cooking.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bay Area? I absolutely love going to the botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park. I love sitting out in the sun for the whole day or walking around and seeing all the beautiful trees, flowers, and the little birds and animals they attract.

What are you currently reading / watching / listening to? I am currently reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and have been watching the shows Atlanta and The Handmaid’s Tale! Some artists I’ve been listening to lately and absolutely love are Kali Uchis, Kaytranada, The Internet, and Anderson Paak.