About us

Azul is an organization working with Latinxs to conserve coasts and oceans. We call foggy San Francisco home, but we work throughout the Golden State.

Working to conserve marine resources

History & Victories

Azul was founded in 2011 to bring Latinxs perspectives and participation to ocean conservation, and are legally organized under the Trust for Conservation Innovation. After experiencing how mainstream ocean conservation efforts and campaigns were leaving Latinxs out, Marce decided to start Azul to engage her community in protecting coastal resources and marine life.

Azul has been instrumental in the following policy victories:

    AB 376, Shark Fin Ban

    This bill, signed into law in 2011 by Governor Jerry Brown, banned the sale and possession of shark fins. This cut the demand for sharks in California. Sharks are an important part of a healthy ocean ecosystem.

    Deja el plástico campaign

    Azul has been instrumental in the banning of single use plastic bags in California. Plastic bags are an ecological nuisance that pollute the oceans and other waterways. In November 2016, voters in California approved a statewide ban on plastic bags.

    Law granting Coastal Commission power to impose fines

    This bill, signed into law in 2014 by Governor Jerry Brown, enabled the California Coastal Commission to fine private property owners who illegally block access to beaches.

Who are we?

Mission

Azul is a grassroots organization working to conserve marine resources.

We treasure the life-sustaining force of the ocean, as well as the physical and spiritual nourishment it provides us. We are a Gente powered and led effort, focused first on celebrating our rich Latino conservation traditions and connecting them to current solutions. Our work is based in authentic engagement, community building, and collaboration.

Vision

Latinxs are long term conservationists with a pragmatic and common sense approach to resource use and protection.

Long before things like canvas bags were in vogue at organic markets, our abuelitas used their reusable bags to shop en el mercado. We believe our culture can lead the way and inspire our conservation efforts. We strive to highlight and amplify this while connecting to other Latinxs to further our collective impact in caring for the environment.

Team

Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš

Founder and Director

David Ferreira

Board President

Ayana Johnson, Ph.D.

Advisory Board

Laura Gómez

Advisory Board

Tony De Falco

Advisory Board

Adrianna Quintero

Advisory Board

Azucena Lucatero

Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Adriana Maestas

Communications Manager

    Marce used to sell fish, now she saves them. An environmental justice advocate who began her career in the commercial fishing and aquaculture fields, Marce is the Founder and Director of Azul, which works with Latinxs to protect coasts and oceans. Through her work, she has helped design and implement a statewide network of marine protected areas as well as a sustainability and marketing program for local California fisheries. As a leader in the campaign to ban single-use plastic bags in California, she has worked to reduce marine pollution and protect ocean wildlife. Recently, she participated in the first Congressional roundtable on Environmental Justice on Capitol Hill, and was the principal author of a white paper on Latino Environmental Leadership lauded as “a blueprint for diversity in the Environmental Movement” by Representative Raul Grijalva, the ranking member of the House Committee of the Natural Resources.

    Marce has been recognized as an “Inspiring Latina working for a cause” by Latina magazine (2014) and as a Aspen Environment Forum Scholar by the Aspen Institute (2012). She’s a founding member of the Latino Conservation Alliance, a proud graduate of the HOPE’s (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality) Leadership Institute 2013 class, and currently serves as a mentor for the RAY Marine Conservation Diversity Fellowship as well as the advisory board for the Ocean Foundation. A native of Tijuana, Mexico; Marce now makes San Francisco home.

    David D. Ferreira is the founder and principal of Ferreira Strategies LLC, a full service government relations firm based in Washington, DC. Mr. Ferreira is an accomplished government affairs and legislative policy specialist with over 15 years of expertise in public policy advocacy as well as federal appropriations, infrastructure authorizations, and legislative and political process/strategy. A native of Puerto Rico, Mr. Ferreira received his bachelor’s degree in international affairs from the George Washington University. He was a founding board member of the Hispanic Lobbyists Association and is a member of various civic groups.

    Marine Biologist, Conservation Advocate.

    Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, conservation strategist, and Brooklyn native. She is founder of Ocean Collectiv, a strategy consulting firm for conservation solutions grounded in social justice. She teaches at New York University as an adjunct professor, and volunteered as co-director of partnerships for the March for Science. As executive director of the Waitt Institute, Ayana co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative and led the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort. Previously, she worked on ocean policy at the EPA and NOAA, and was recently a TED resident and Aspen Institute fellow. She blogs and tweets about how we can use the ocean without using it up on the National Geographic blog and @ayanaeliza.

    Founder and CEO, Atipica.

    Laura I. Gómez has worked in Silicon Valley in companies like Google (YouTube), SearchRev (acquired by AKQA) and most recently, Twitter.

    Gómez joined Twitter in 2009, where she was the only Latina among the founding members of the international team member. She started solely responsible for the expansion of Twitter en español then moved on to lead international product and localization of Twitter into nearly 50 languages.

    Prior to leaving Twitter, Gómez reported directly to the VP of International and Growth Product and managed a diverse team of product managers, project managers, language specialists, and support agents responsible for the majority of international initiatives such support, content, communications, market development and marketing.

    Gómez was key in the implementation of unique community localization agile management of Twitter products: web, monetization, marketing microsites, product marketing materials, native clients, mobile web and SMS

    Gómez has appeared in dozens of publications as Harper’s Bazaar Spain, GQ México, Gente México, La Nación, El Mercurio, Chile, El Universal México, El País in Spain and the book “Lost in Translation.”

    Gómez was recognized by the Department of State and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her involvement in the TechWomen Program.

    She is on the advisor board of Interesante, an interest-based network for U.S. Hispanic and Latin Americans.

    Living Cully Coordinator, Verde.

    Tony DeFalco is the Living Cully Ecodistrict Coordinator for Verde, coordinating the nation’s first equity driven ecodistrict designed to re-interpret sustainability as an anti-poverty strategy. His expertise in community economic development, environmental protection and sustainability spans 15 years of working locally and nationally in environmental advocacy, coalition building and policy advocacy. DeFalco’s current focus includes redevelopment of a landfill into a park in a low-income neighborhood in Portland and strengthening communities of color and low income communities in deriving economic benefit from environmental investments.

    Director of Partner Engagement, NRDC – San Francisco.

    Quintero started as an attorney in NRDC’s Environment and Health program litigating working on pesticides, toxic chemicals and safe drinking water, clean air, environmental justice, and US-Mexico border issues. Currently, she runs NRDC’s partner outreach and engagement efforts.

    Quintero launched NRDC’s Latino outreach efforts in 2004 with the report, “Hidden Danger, Environmental Health Threats in the Latino Community,” which highlighted how environmental pollution impacts U.S. Latinxs. In 2011, she updated her research with an emphasis on air pollution in “U.S. Latinxs and Air Pollution: A Call to Action.”

    Quintero founded and leads Voces, a national coalition of Latino business, health, community leaders and organizations representing millions of Latinxs, joined together to advocate for action on climate change and the development of our country’s renewable, clean energy sources. Voces engages key Latino stakeholders to create a national echo-chamber of political, policy and cultural influentials to weigh in alongside decision-makers in support of climate action.

    Directora de Voces Verdes y Directora de Asociaciones, NRDC (Consejo para la Defensa de Recursos Naturales)

    Adrianna Quintero fundo y dirige Voces Verdes y el equipo de asociaciones para el Natural Resources Defense Council (Consejo para la Defensa de Recursos Naturales) el cual trabaja para incluir una gama diversa de personas y comunidades sobre temas ambientales. Adrianna comenzó como abogada con NRDC trabajando en cuestiones relativas al agua potable, pesticidas y sustancias tóxicas en el aire.

    Azucena Lucatero grew up in Ontario, California among many cats and a younger brother. She switched coasts for college and recently graduated from Swarthmore College with majors in biology and Asian studies. From a young age, Azucena really cared for animals and felt responsible for their protection as well as the conservation of their environment. As an undergrad, she discovered her academic interest in ecology through her coursework and summer research experiences at the University of Michigan and Yosemite National Park. She has conducted projects in urban agroecology and small-mammal diversity, and is starting a Ph.D. program in Environmental Studies in the fall of 2017.

    A proud Chicana, feminist, and vegan, Azucena often uses her free time to lurk around tumblr and YouTube, exploring those facets of her identify and learning as much as she can about the intersections of the social struggles she and others face. Azucena is kept motivated by a strong desire to give back and empower her communities. She also enjoys reading good novels, laughing at her own jokes, cooking, and eating very spicy food.

    Adriana Maestas is a Southern California based writer and consultant. Her professional background has spanned media and higher education. Her written work has appeared in various print and digital publications, including teleSUR English, Truthout.org, and the Huffington Post. Adriana has been involved in a variety of progressive causes through the years. She grew up enjoying the waves at Corona del Mar and Newport Beach. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Irvine and a master’s in public policy from Claremont Graduate University.

Friends & Supporters

Through the years, Azul has partnered and worked with some key organizations and advocates.