LEAP is an equity, advocacy and policy not for profit 501(c)3 organization that works with communities to achieve economic, environmental and climate justice through leadership development, coalition building, community organizing, participatory action research and advocacy for racial justice.
We want to create a civil society infrastructure for a sustainable participatory democracy. Together, we can develop a culture of active civic participation, community accountability and social justice for a healthy, strong and vibrant California.
We engage communities to increase social justice awareness, strengthen grassroots leadership for the empowerment of Latinos, immigrants, farmworkers and youth to achieve environmentally sustainable justice while improving the economy and community health.
Goals “How we get there!”
COMMUNITY — Create locally focused community partnerships between workforce, social, mental health providing organizations, community residents, environmental justice leaders and other entities, including governmental agencies to mitigate or eliminate local pollution and the impacts thereof.
HEALTH — Collaborate with agencies, organizations, other grassroots groups, policy makers and industry to advance the environmental health of all through the adoption of enforceable measures, alternative technologies, renewable energy, and innovative approaches.
ADVOCACY — Prevent accumulation of pollution sources in and around Latino communities through community-based campaigns to avoid the perpetuation of disproportionate impacts on the most vulnerable in society, the politically disenfranchised, the low-income and people of color.
LEADERSHIP — Develop leadership for a healthy popular participatory democracy in Latino communities. Build capacity from the individual to the regional via community action committees, networks and coalitions to effectively engage in land use, air quality & transportation planning and regional policy processes.
EMPOWERMENT — Build new leaders to become public representatives for their families, neighborhoods and communities at a local, regional and statewide level for economic, environmental and climate justice.
FOUNDER / EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
REY LEÓN Born in Fresno and raised in the Huron area. Mr. León is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he obtained a BA in Chicano Studies with an emphasis in public health. He is the founder and Executive Director of The LEAP Institute (Latino Equity Advocacy & Policy, a Latino Valley based non-profit organization. Mr. León is based in Fresno County for the Valley and focuses on economic, environmental, transportation and climate justice, clean energy, green jobs and community development. Mr. León has been working to ensure that environmental justice principles are advanced in the region’s institutions and culture.
Rey is founder of the San Joaquin Valley Regional Green Jobs Coalition which counts on 300+ members and co-founder of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition. As Co-chair of CVAQ, Leon helped advance some of the greatest victories for air quality in the Valley including the ending of agriculture industry’s exemption from the clean air act and the placement of two public members, a doctor and a scientist, onto the region’s air pollution control district. Mr. León sits on various boards and committees including the Center on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT), Fresno County’s Economic Opportunities Commission and past member of the California Air Resources Board Environmental Justice AB 32 Advisory Committee.
Mr. León has been organizing in the Valley for the past twenty-six years and for the past seventeen years has been advocating and successfully building coalitions, community capacity, advancing public policy; placement of the first PM 2.5 air quality monitor on the West Side of the Valley, systems change; developing the first ever environmental justice strategy and committees for both the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the Fresno County Council of Governments. In 2014, LEAP completed an Environmental Justice Planning Project and Report for the farmworker community of Huron where over 30 projects to improve mobility, access and safety were identified. Through LEAP, Rey continues to organize with the grassroots, grasstops, agencies and other partners to promote sustainable development, clean energy alternatives, electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, EV ridesharing, green jobs, reduction of pollution & GHGs in concentrated clusters of poverty in the central San Joaquin Valley. Mr. Leon successfully works with Valley communities to achieve environmental and climate justice. León is also the mayor of his hometown where he will be serving his third term in 2021.
As Mayor, Mr. León sits on the Fresno County Council of Governments, San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority and other bodies to advance the quality of life for the region’s hard-working families. Mayor León has also accomplished the building of the much needed $31 million bridge for the community’s economic advancement sorely needed for the past 100 years. As well as changed out street lighting to LED saving the city thousands of dollars, initiated the communities first ever youth soccer league engaging over 100 families, institutionalized grey-water systems for new single-family and multi-family developments, policy to ensure hire-local-first and has been diligent in providing thousands of farmworkers in Huron and the surrounding communities with disposable and cotton masks and sanitizer. Under the mayor’s leadership, Huron mandated masks in March, before California and was the first city in the county to place mobile hand washing stations throughout the city.