Becky Gillespie is a mom, Girl Scout troop leader, and small-business owner with 21 years’ experience in the travel industry. As a lifelong Christian, she was moved to join Earth Justice Ministries after seeing a lack of Christian leadership and involvement in issues of racial justice locally following the death of George Floyd. Becky believes that the church is not the building where you meet but is the body of believers doing God’s work in the community. She seeks to bring together faith leaders and congregations to love our neighbors by addressing racial injustices and being the light in the world.
Avila Lowrance began working with very young children with special needs in Nevada County’s immigrant community in 2002, and had the privilege of visiting them in their homes. Many trusted friendships grew out of these visits and continued to widen as more and more immigrants arrived in our county. In 2008 Avila had great fun collecting and testing favorite family recipes from these friends and publishing them in a bilingual cookbook, Chile Peppers, Spicing it Up!/Chiles ¡para darle sazón! Since 2017 she has been a member of Immigration Action Alliance, which advocates strongly for immigrant justice.
Dianna Suarez, a spokesperson and the Facebook Administrator for Friends of Bear River (FROBERI), went to work for the US Forest Service while a student at UC Santa Cruz. Over a period of 36 years, she grew to love and appreciate the forest and all the beings that make up the living world. After retiring in 2011, she got involved with the Buffalo Field campaign based in West Yellowstone Montana. She volunteers for this organization which protects the last wild buffalo. Dianna was drawn into the campaign for Our Bear River when Nevada Irrigation District proposed a fifth Dam on the already industrialized watershed. Having visited the river almost daily for many years, the living biosphere and especially the ancient trees spoke to her heart. She has been deeply involved in attending meetings, writing letters to the editor, making speeches, and standing up for this last Public Access to Bear River for the Nisenan people and everyone else.
Rebecca Amaro Vandegrift
Rebecca Vandegrift is a founding member of Immigration Action Aliliance in Nevada County: We are a small group of highly dedicated women activists who’s main focus is helping our local immigrant community and fighting anti-racist policies that make for an unsafe community. I am also a member of Abuelas Responden Sacramento. Before COVID-we would meet and assist incoming and passing migrants with basic necessities and information. Now we assist those that are living in Sacramento.