Workshop Participants

WORKSHOP 1: ECOLOGY

Bonny Bentzin is the Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer of UCLA. Bonny is a key member of the leadership team for sustainability at UCLA, helping manage sustainability across the university. Prior to joining UCLA, Bonny was the Head of Sustainability and Project Integration for the Trust for Sustainable Development, working on Spirit Bay Developments, coordinating all sustainability aspects and planning key projects for a new town concept being developed in partnership with the Sc’ianew First Nation (Beecher Bay Band) near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. This work included successfully securing $540,000 in grant monies for an Ocean Thermal Heating and Cooling system and district, and to plan the town centre. An experienced sustainability expert with a focus on developing and executing sustainability programs in the field of higher education and complex organizations, she has over 12 years of leadership, management and consulting experience, both within large‐scale organizations and as an outside consultant.

Darnell Hunt is Professor in the Department of African American Studies and Department of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles where he serves as the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. He is formerly the Dean of Social Sciences at UCLA. He is the lead author of the Hollywood Diversity Report, an annual series that examines the relationship between diversity and profit in the entertainment industry. Professor Hunt’s academic publications include the single-authored books, Screening the Los Angeles “Riots:” Race, Seeing and Resistance (Cambridge University Press, 1996); O.J. Simpson Facts and Fictions: News Rituals in the Construction of Reality (Cambridge University Press, 1999); and Channeling Blackness: Studies on Television and Race in America (Oxford University Press, 2004). He is co-editor with Ana-Christina Ramón of Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities (New York University Press, 2010).

William Madrigal and the Traditional Cahuilla (kaweeyah) Bird singers are a group that is part of a long, inter-generational tradition of culture bearers within the local California Indian community. Will and his family are members of the Cahuilla Nation of Southern California, a federally recognized Indian nation. Through life-long commitment, they have been given the gift of bird singing through oral teaching from the elders of the reservation community. They adhere to the strict protocol of the Cahuilla culture in regards to public expression and presentations. The bird songs and dances are a celebration of life for all peoples and are sung throughout southern California today.

Rudy Ortega Jr. is a former Chairman of the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission and has served on the Commission since 2004. He is the Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, a native sovereign nation of northern Los Angeles County. As the current elected Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians Ortega Jr. oversees his Tribe’s governmental body and manages affairs pertaining to the rights of all Fernandeño Tataviam people.

Bob Ramirez is a Native Californian and is Architectural Designer and Construction Director of Ramirez Design Studio. His passion for the art of building and a love of adventure inspired him to explore the world in search of cultural enrichment. What began as a short trip grew into a multi-year exploration of Indigenous cultures that were adapting to the modern world. His drafting skills and craftsmanship enabled him to work along the way and learn as an insider.

Mona Morales Recalde is an enrolled member of the Gabrieleno/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians. She currently serves as the tribal Community Outreach Director.  Her family maintains tradition and continuity to their tribe by living on the tribal traditional land and knowing its precious history. Mona maintains connection in community through volunteering at Kuruvungna, participating in Native Beading Circles and singing traditional songs at events such as Indigenous People’s Day hosted by the City and County of Los Angeles.  Mona has been active in Native American culture, maintaining her family traditions all of her life. Her father served as tribal chairman for the Gabrieleno/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, and was one of the first to serve as a Native American Monitor for the State of California. Mona has given various presentations to education institutions and various organizations about the Gabrieleno/Tongva and maintaining cultural traditions.  Her focus is ensuring the Gabrieleno/Tongva culture and education are shared and made visible to all people of Los Angeles, Orange County and the Channel Islands.

Victoria Sork is Distinguished Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Director of the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, UCLA. From 2009-2020, she was Dean of Life Sciences in the College of Letters and Sciences. She is interested in the ecology and evolutionary biology of temperate and tropical tree populations, particularly with respect to contemporary gene movement through pollen and seed dispersal and to historical gene movement. She applies information on ecological and evolutionary processes to environmental questions, such as the design of reserve networks and the conservation of tree species, in light of climate change and landscape alteration. Currently, she is focusing on California oaks, and she has worked on temperate and tropical forest tree species in the United States, Central and South America, and Africa. Professor Sork’s research integrates traditional evolutionary biology with environmental questions into an emerging field of evolutionary conservation science with the ultimate goal of translating science into policy.

Abel Valenzuela, Jr. is professor of Chicana/o studies and urban planning and director of UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. He has authored numerous research articles, books, and reports on immigrant settlement, work, and urban poverty. His research on day labor and immigrant labor markets have helped frame national public and policy narratives on immigrant and low-wage workers. Los Angeles occupies a central focus of his research and teaching, and the city guides the Institute’s research directions. He has published numerous articles and technical reports on low-wage workers, including co-editing (with Lawrence Bobo, Melvin Oliver, and Jim Johnson) “Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles” published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 2000, “Immigration and Crime: Race, Ethnicity, and Violence” (with Ramiro Martinez Jr.). He has also published in American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Annual Review of Sociology, New England Journal of Public Policy, Working USA: A Journal of Labor and Society, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, and Regional Studies.

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