This is the latest in a series of regular profiles introducing the GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles staff. In their own way, each member of our team brings a passion for renewable energy to the day-to-day work of Los Angeles' most socially-minded solar company. Here's how one of them got to that point: Jasmine Roashan, Outreach Coordinator.
Jasmine Roashan starts her work on the GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles team this winter as our newest Outreach Coordinator, meaning that she brings information about our no-cost services to local populations with economic needs to help L.A.'s many neighborhoods on the front lines of climate change! That info includes letting people know about GRID's Energy for All solar program, a state-funded opportunity GRID offers to help families save money on their energy bills. While Jasmine sees community members face-to-face throughout her week, and might include homeownerse, city leaders, and environmental health advocates among them, everyone she meets quickly gets why she's a natural for this work! Namely, Jasmine's got a personality that's perfectly suited to helping people, an accomplished track record helping citizens safeguard their air and water, and a passion for the environment.
Jasmine's "solar story" starts in sunny San Diego, where she spent her early years and attended San Diego State University. As a student, she let her education shape some of her most important perspectives: that humans have complicated relationships with the environment around us, that active stewardship of that relationship is needed, and that how we approach that stewardship determines human health. Graduate school at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health helped her focus her environmental equity work on water in our environment. By the time Jasmine started teaching (she's worked with K-12 groups and taught sustainability for non-majors), her understanding of how far L.A. communities have to come on environmental justice was fully formed.
"You have to be outward-facing" to do impactful EJ work, Jasmine says. An time in her life where she found particular success on that front came when she worked for the City of Long Beach, one of several city employees focused on conservation work for the water department. As a self-described water cop, Jasmine marketed programs to diverse LBC stakeholders. She saw complex problems up close in LBC, too—from mapping where apartments were located in environmentally-disadvantaged areas using to info from Kevin de León's SB-535 to doing water analysis with mapping software. She left systems in place that Long Beach continues to benefit from. "It was great to understand how I could make direct changes for them."
Ever since then, Jasmine's work as an environmental advocate primarily dealing with communities of color has taken her far, from the Waterwise Community Center in Chino to leading her own initiatives as a founder in Los Angeles. She's an active in the Association of Women in Water, Energy & the Environment and has an active interest in how we as citizens can move the ball forward on sustainability in our individual lives. In light of all that, her decisions to come to GLA is a natural part of reaching more individuals and helping them become comfortable as leaders. "A big thing that appeals to me about the position," she reflects, "is helping people with direct change in their life and being able to say to them, 'At the end of this process, your life will be better.' That's meeting people where they're at." As she works in cities where GRID has a local emphasis – places as far-flung as Paramount, Pomona, and Pacoima – Jasmine plans to become breathing proof for the theory that individuals can make small choices that do big things for the planet.