For Immediate Release
January 22, 2021
Contact: Cristina Valdivia Aguilar, cristina.valdivia@cv.ca.gov, (916) 508-9018

As President Biden Calls on Americans to Step Up, Governor Newsom Welcomes First-in-the-Nation Climate Action Fellows

Fellows Deployed as Part of California Volunteers-Led California Climate Action Corps

SACRAMENTO – Over the last two weeks California Volunteers, Office of the Governor hosted a series of virtual events to welcome the Fellows of the first-ever statewide climate corps in the nation, California Climate Action Corps. Sixty-three Fellows across California will spend nearly eight months advancing climate action projects such as urban tree planting, food sustainability, and wildfire resilience in some of the state’s most vulnerable communities.

During the two-week orientation, Fellows participated in virtual sessions presented by climate experts, community leaders and elected officials. In a recording, Governor Gavin Newsom welcomed the Fellows and thanked them for their commitment to fight climate change.

“I am thankful to the Californians who have recognized the urgency of this moment and joined our inaugural climate corps,” said Governor Newsom. “This group will galvanize others in this collective cause that should unite each and every one of us, not only across the state, but around the globe.”

On the same day President Joe Biden was inaugurated, Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday administered the AmeriCorps pledge to the inaugural cohort of Climate Action Corps Fellows. During President Biden’s inaugural speech, he promised to address some of the world’s most pressing issues such as climate change and called on Americans to step up during this time of crisis. With this renewed commitment to global climate concerns, Fellows will start their term of service having the support of our new administration as they spearhead climate action in California.

“Today is a historic day as we welcome the fellows to be a part of the country’s first statewide corps dedicated to fighting climate change,” said California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday. “These fellows will be integral to engaging members of their communities at all levels to take climate action.”

Fellows engaged in a series of virtual discussions focused on climate action and environmental justice among other topics. California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Jared Blumenfeld and California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot discussed California’s climate landscape and how the state is stepping up and providing a model of leadership across the country and globe. Community leaders such as Sacramento City Councilmember and Former Policy and Political Director at California Environmental Justice Alliance Katie Valenzuela and LA Conservation Corps Senior Program Manager Jonathan Mason presented in a panel discussion centered on the intersection of equity, climate change, and systemic racism. Fellows also received a message from former Mayor of Stockton Michael Tubbs as he welcomed the first cohort of members.

To wrap up the two-week-long orientation, Chief Service Officer Fryday joined Sean Penn for a fireside chat to discuss the importance of service and citizen action around climate change. Penn is the co-founder of Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), a nonprofit organization, that is dedicated to strengthening communities who have been affected by or vulnerable to crisis. CORE has partnered with the city of Los Angeles and various healthcare providers across California and the United States to provide an integrated approach for the COVID-19 relief effort, which is inclusive of distributing vaccines, streamlining testing with results returned within 48 hours, comprehensive and timely contact tracing programs, and supported quarantine and isolation services that provide shelter, food, and wage replacement. The organization has been operating free COVID-19 testing sites across the United States since March, with a focus on serving vulnerable and underserved communities, targeting low-income groups, communities of color, first responders, and essential workers, and is currently expanding access to vaccines across the country to ensure safe and equitable distribution of the vaccine.

Several mayors including Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose, Mayor Jerry Dyer of Fresno, and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles joined together virtually for an official Fellows send-off as they begin their service for change in their own communities throughout the state.

Californians interested in California Climate Action Corps can visit ClimateActionCorps.ca.gov for more information.

Videos from the virtual orientation can be accessed here.

###

Led by California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday, California Volunteers, Office of the Governor empowers Californians to take action to improve their communities. #CaliforniansForAll is a California Volunteers service initiative launched in response to COVID-19 to establish a volunteer corps to support the state’s response to emergencies and disasters.