Analisa Freitas '10

Washington, DC, Green Leader

Annalisa FreitasWhen Analisa Freitas '10 returned to campus after studying for a year in Peru, a classmate urged her 
to volunteer with Groundwork Hudson Valley, a local group that believes addressing the needs of neighborhoods is an essential element of environmentalism.

She soon found herself painting the houses, tidying the yards, and listening to the stories of elderly residents of a Yonkers neighborhood that needed a dose of attention.

“I wondered, This is environmentalism!?” Freitas recalls. “It was everything I’d been looking for in my studies in anthropology and sociology.”

After graduating from Sarah Lawrence, Freitas returned to her home in California’s Central Valley, where she was raised after being adopted from Peru as an infant. In California, she worked as a community organizer for Tuolumne River Trust—“engaging the Latino community,” she says, “to preserve and protect the river.” Today she works in Washington, DC, as a project coordinator for Voces Verdes, a national Latino environmental group.

“We want to be a part of the clean energy economy.”

“Latinos are very disproportionately affected by pollution that comes from power plants and by dirty air,” Freitas says. “So we absolutely want to be a part of saying no to the big polluter agenda, and we want to be a part of the clean energy economy.”

But often Latino voices are not heard when it comes to environmental issues, and Freitas hopes to change that by recruiting leaders to speak up. To do this, she’s enlisted priests, ministers, doctors, health care advocates, and community and business leaders, such as the owner of a solar system installation company for whom she recently arranged a public speech.

“A lot of the time Latinos are asked about immigration or education reform or health care reform,” Freitas says. “We want to broaden those voices and say, let’s ask the people who aren’t typically asked to think about the environment and talk about the environment.”