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Climate of Hope Forum 2023

ARTivism - Creative Action for Justice

Thursday, February 23rd, 2023, 4-6 pm PST

Major support provided by:

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Join us for our fifth annual Climate of Hope Forum: Artivism - Creative Action for Justice and learn how we are leading the way for just climate solutions.

This year's program will feature Lil Milagro Henriquez, Founder and Executive Director of the Mycelium Network and other artists from a variety of backgrounds who promote healing, environmental justice, and community resilience through poetry, film, music, photography, murals and other art forms.


The audience will interact through polls, chat, resource-sharing, and organized watch parties

We invite you to support open access to this event as you register by making a secure donation.

Please support projects like these with a gift in the suggested range of $15-100.


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Lil Milagro Henriquez, M.A.

Executive Director & Founder, Mycelium Youth Network

Lil Milagro Henriquez, M.A. (detribalized Nahuat Pipil descent), was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and whose family survived Hurricane Katrina—one of the nation’s most infamous climate-change-related disasters. She is 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. She is a mother of two small children who directly inform her work in the world. 

She served as a founding Board of Directors member for Planting Justice and The People’s Conservatory and was the founding Director of Organizing for Roses in Concrete Community School, a social justice based K-8 school in East Oakland. In 2014, she won the Jonathan Daniels Memorial Fellowship for Social Justice award. In 2020, she received the Women’s Earth Alliance fellowship and is 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 and did a TEDx talk with the City of San Francisco illuminating the failures of conventional education to prepare youth for climate change. 

In 2017, she founded Mycelium Youth Network, an organization dedicated to preparing and empowering frontline youth for climate change.  Mycelium has been named as one of the only organizations actively preparing young people for climate change in the United States by the International Transformational Resilience Coalition. 

Bob Gomez

Watsonville's First Poet Laureate, singer/songwriter and teacher

Bob Gómez is a local poet, singer/songwriter and teacher. He has lived in Watsonville since 1984 and has participated in numerous causes in support of immigrant families, foster youth, climate action, international peace, bilingual education and parent empowerment. He is Watsonville’s first Poet Laureate.


Irene Juarez O'Connell

Co-Director, Food What?!

Irene is a Xicana visual artist, muralist, cultural worker, and active organizer committed to uplifting visions of healing, justice, and resilience through the mediums of community-based art and mural-making. Her art centers participatory storytelling, cultural identity, and meaningful place-making. In addition to her art practice, Irene serves as a co-Executive Director at "Food, What?!"-- a program that engages youth across Santa Cruz County in healing relationships with land, food, and each other. Irene received her Bachelors of Arts in both Public Art and Latin American & Latino Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

Stan Rushworth

Author; Faculty Emeritus, Cabrillo College

Stan Rushworth is Faculty Emeritis at Cabrillo College, in Aptos, California, having taught Native American Literature for thirty years, including similar work at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a lecturer. He also worked for eighteen years at Cabrillo’s Watsonville Center teaching basic skills and critical thinking surrounding Indigenous peoples’ issues, including six years as Co-Director/Instructor of the Puente Program, an educational project focused in the Chicano community.


He currently writes and speaks towards issues concerning Indigenous peoples both local to his area and beyond. He authored  Sam Woods: American Healing (Station Hill Press, New York) in 1992; Going to Water: The Journal of Beginning Rain (Talking Leaves Press, Freedom, CA) in 2014, and Diaspora’s Children (Hand to Hand Publishing, Los Angeles) in 2020. His current publication is co-edited with  Dahr Jamail, We Are The Middle of Forever: Indigenous Voices From Turtle Island on the Changing Earth (The New Press, New York) 2022. 


Consuelo Alba

Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Watsonville Film Festival 

Consuelo Alba is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Watsonville Film Festival (WFF). Under her leadership, WFF developed from a grassroots collective into a non-profit arts organization offering year-round programming. The WFF mission is to showcase primarily Latinx stories that illuminate our shared humanity and promote positive change. 


For years, Consuelo has leveraged the power of film to inspire, connect and shift disempowering narratives and harmful stereotypes of the Latinx community. She is an award winning-documentary filmmaker and executive producer of local films. Her short El Andalón / The Healer screened in more than 30 film festivals worldwide, received seven awards and was broadcast on Mexican public television 


In her role as a film festival director, she is a community organizer, multimedia producer and programmer whose work is grounded in equity, creativity and joy. Working with an incredible Board, and a small but mighty staff and volunteers, Consuelo puts together film programs that spark powerful conversations and inspire action. 


Consuelo was born and raised in Mexico City. Her parents instilled in her a deep appreciation for her culture. Since moving to California 25 years ago, she made it her mission to honor her cultural legacy through her work as a translator, reporter, editor, business owner, documentary filmmaker and cultural activist.


Consuelo graduated with honors with a BA in Communication Sciences & Journalism from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She worked as a translator for El Andar, an iconic bilingual magazine in Santa Cruz, and as an editor and reporter with Nuevo Mundo, the Spanish language publication of the San Jose Mercury News.


Currently, Consuelo is the Board Chair of the Arts Council Santa Cruz County and inaugural member of Rise Together. 


Consuelo loves to watch films, dance, commune with nature and travel with her husband John.

Mireya Gomez-Contreras

Co-Director, Esperanza Community Farms

I'm a daughter of farmworkers who came to the US to work in the 70's. My parents taught my sister's and I a deep love for the earth and for learning. I am a graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Sociology, but the most insightful education is the one I've gained as a community organizer. I've established roots in my hometown of Watsonville and it's an honor to work with Esperanza Community Farms as Co-Leader. At Esperanza we practice and are constantly learning about the power of local community-driven processes for social change.  Join us! 


Adriana la artista

Contemporary Xicana Designer

Adriana Arriaga, who goes by the alias adriana la artista, is a Xicana designer that creates bold, provocative, and impactful illustrations. Arriaga’s work reflects her culture, community, and personal experiences. She describes herself as a Contemporary Xicana Designer, where she combines practices from the Chicano Movement of the 60’s with present-day applications to create and share her work. Her work consists of large-scale illustrations made up of copy paper and wheat paste. She received a B.A. in Art/Design Studies and a Minor in Chicano Studies from San Jose State University in 2017. She then received her Master of Fine Arts at the University of California, Davis in Design in 2019 and continues her thesis work in the community.

Sonya Pendrey


A recent graduate from UC Santa Cruz, Sonya loves to hike and write. She hopes to help people and the planet in her lifetime. Her writing is dedicated to fellow strong-minded women and her sweet pup, Lily.

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Taylor Reinhold


Taylor Reinhold has found his calling in painting large-scale murals and designing logos. He has excelled in design, art curation, and large-scale installations for Burning Man, Poly (Plantronics), Comcast, and LinkedIn. His creative murals are found around the world in Brazil, Costa Rica, Tanzania, and Thailand, to name a few.
In 2009, Reinhold founded Made Fresh Crew, a collaboration of Santa Cruz artisans working on art projects locally & internationally. From their 500ft long ocean sustainability Mission Street mural to numerous large-scale community projects, Made Fresh Crew draws inspiration from street art, education, and activism.
In his newest endeavor as Director of Sea Walls Santa Cruz in September 2021, Reinhold brought PangeaSeed Foundation’s global Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans program to Santa Cruz, California to create 19 ocean conservation-themed murals. The Sea Walls project was completed in a week with over twenty-five artists from Santa Cruz and across the country.

Guillermo "Yermo" Aranda

Multi-media Artist

Born and raised in San Diego, California, Guillermo comes from a family of artists, craftsmen, and musicians. He holds multiple degrees including Technical Illustration, Studio Art with a focus on Fine Art Printmaking, and his most recent degree is from California State University at Monterey Bay where he completed his B. A. as an Integrated Special Studies Major with a focus on Fine Art and Communication Design. 


He is a co-founder of “Toltecas en Aztlan”, a union of multi-media artist’s organization who initiated the Chicano Park Murals in San Diego.  The Chicano Park Murals were recognized by the City of San Diego and the State of California as a historical site and approved by President Obama as a National Historical Landmark in 2017. 


Guillermo is the Co-founder and Director of “El Centro Cultural de La Raza” in San Diego, a cultural art’s center focusing on Latino and Indigenous Art forms and the Co-founder and an Artistic Director of the “White Hawk Indian Council,” a cultural arts organization providing Visual and Performing Arts workshops for youth.


Guillermo began mural painting while apprenticing Muralist Gilberto Ramirez from Mexico in 1969. His work is described as contemporary traditional art, reflecting an imagery of indigenous ancestry in the modern world with the timelessness of natural forms, juxtaposed against con­temporary images, bold vibrant and alive. His images reflect old myths and legends, making full circle to the present.


From San Diego to Napa Valley, Guillermo has completed over 80 murals, the majority of which are in the Santa Cruz and Monterey County areas. 


Guillermo has been commissioned and sponsored by a variety of agencies and organiza­tions including the California Arts Council, The Santa Cruz Cultural Council, Santa Cruz County Arts Commission, and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education.


Guillermo is currently an Independent Contractor teaching art and the process of mural painting throughout the State of California.

Watch Climate of Hope 2023 below:

2023 Climate of Hope Sponsors

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Additional Sponsors

Robert & Michelle Kibrick

Alain Desouches

Joann & Marc Godoy

Donna Murphy & Mark Mesiti-Miller

2023 Climate of Hope
Publicity Sponsors

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