Carmen is Executive Director of Go Austin / Vamos Austin or GAVA, an organization mobilizing community power for healthy equity, breaking down barriers to healthy living in Austin's Eastern Crescent and organizing for neighborhood stability and climate justice. A native of Austin, TX, Carmen has been organizing and fostering inter-agency collaborations since 2005. After receiving an interdisciplinary B.A. at the University of Chicago in Environmental Studies with a focus on N.A.F.T.A., she returned to Austin as a staff organizer and research analyst for People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources (PODER), where she learned intergenerational, environmental justice organizing principles. She later ran a program at Marathon Kids under the guidance of a former I.A.F. organizer, called the Wellness Team Initiative, organizing parents and teachers in Austin's Eastern Crescent to support better fitness and nutrition at their elementary campuses. Carmen participates in public health, environmental justice, and anti-racist networks in Central Texas and across the country. She currently serves on the City of Austin Planning Commission and formerly chaired the Hispanic/Latino Quality of Life Commission. She is also an inaugural member of Austin’s first Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, and is a 2019-20 Fulcrum Fellow with the Center for Community Investment at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
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