Volunteer Spotlight: Gabriel Medina
By Philip Finkelstein
Meet 25-year-old Gabriel Medina, a CCL volunteer from the Sacramento, Calif. chapter. After graduating from San Jose State University with a degree in Communication Studies, he found himself immersed in the business world, trying his luck as a nonprofit worker and solar panel salesman. He’s now self-employed and raising a family, and he still finds time for his true passion: climate justice. He got to put that passion into action in Washington, D.C. at the 8th annual Citizens’ Climate International Conference in June.
In his own words, here’s a glimpse of Gabriel’s experience with CCL thus far:
What brought you to CCL?
I first got connected with CCL earlier in 2017 after learning about the organization online. I liked how CCL had a diverse political representation; there were Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in one room all trying to fix our environment. Furthermore, I appreciated the fact that CCL was already connected with our politicians who are responsible for legislation that greatly impacts society. It’s a democratic process for sure, and I was just thrilled to have a real opportunity to voice my opinion.
Tell us about your main efforts or projects within CCL.
My main focus is social media. It’s an important thing that our chapter needs to refresh so we can reconnect with our fellow people in Sacramento. Through social media enhancement, we can also get younger volunteers in our chapter to better attend events and eventually lobby in Washington, D.C.
Finally, a huge project that I will be involved with is translating CCL web pages and general communication into Spanish so we can effectively reach out to Spanish speakers who want to join CCL, but don’t have the current support they need.
What keeps you motivated to do this work?
After attending one meeting, I knew that CCL would be something I wanted to participate in. All of the volunteers cared deeply for our environment, their families’ futures, and doing the right thing. Also, I was fortunate enough to attend the conference in Washington, D.C. in June, which changed my mindset on how to work with our elected officials in regard to climate change.
Tell us about your experience at the conference.
I was proud to be one of the few Hispanic attendees at the conference, and I was also a first-time attendee. With help from my chapter leader Jennifer Wood, I applied for a travel scholarship that was offered to CCL volunteers, which helped with my traveling and conference expenses. Thanks again to the CCL donors for making that possible.
Moving from session to session, I learned strategies on how we could team up and impact our elected officials to make better environmental decisions. We discussed current climate change events, trained for lobby meetings with our elected officials, learned new networking techniques, and much more. I met hundreds of like-minded, concerned individuals from cities all across the country and parts of the world, all of whom want to make our planet cool again, which provided me with much-needed reassurance.
Any final thoughts?
The only way we can fix our planet is by working from the grassroots up. Therefore, I want to say thank you to all the volunteers and people who stand up for what they believe is right. We will win the good fight. Like Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Cheers to a healthier planet.
Got a suggestion for our Volunteer Spotlight series? Send the name, chapter and some brief info about the volunteer to Flannery Winchester at flannery @ citizensclimatelobby.org.