Speaker to examine the future of climate justice initiatives

Vien Truong

A climate and racial justice advocate will discuss what the next four years could mean for those issues and how the pandemic and economic uncertainty have affected the fight for climate change in an upcoming virtual talk.

Vien Truong will share insights and offer solutions for a more just and sustainable future in her Oregon Humanities Center lecture, “Building an Inclusive Green Economy for All,” on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 4 p.m. via Zoom. 

Truong’s talk is free and open the public, but registration is required. The lecture will be recorded and available on the humanities center’s YouTube channel.

Truong has worked to bring equity, social justice and climate justice to the front lines of the environmental movement and policy-making.

“Climate justice work is a fight for a new economy, a new democracy, a new relationship to the planet and to each other,” she said. “When we win this fight, we will win the world that we want. The future is worth fighting for.”

Truong’s parents, nine siblings and grandmother fled war-torn Vietnam in a boat, rowed 500 miles toward Macau, were intercepted and were sent to a refugee camp where Truong was born. They came to Oregon and worked as migrant farm workers, following the harvest across the state.

Subsequently they moved to Oakland, California, where her parents worked low-wage jobs in sweatshops while supporting their large family. Truong, who grew up amid the poverty and violence of 1980s Oakland, was the first in her family to attend college.

She earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley and a law degree at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law. Committed to her Oakland community, she works to marshal resources for reducing pollution and creating the infrastructure for sustainable economic revitalization.

Truong serves as the director of climate justice for the political action committee of former presidential candidate Tom Steyer and is the principal of her firm, Truong & Associates, where she advises lawmakers, universities and organizations globally on developing an inclusive workforce and creating sustainable economies and equitable environmental policies.

She formerly served as CEO of the Dream Corps and led Green For All, a national initiative that puts communities of color at the forefront of the climate movement and equality at the center of environmental solutions.

Truong co-led the coalition to pass and implement California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, creating the largest fund in history for the poorest and most polluted communities. It has invested more than $1.5 billion in disadvantaged communities most harmed by fossil fuel pollution and served as a model that has been replicated in other states.

Truong has received numerous congressional, state, regional and local awards for her work advocating on behalf of those most vulnerable to climate change, including a White House Champion of Change award for her work on climate equity.