Amy Valenzuela-Mier is descended from the Tongva, Yaqui, Mexican and Irish people. She grew up with a strong connection to the land, hearing stories of her family’s deep Californio roots, and farming with her maternal grandfather. She attended LBCC and earned a full scholarship to Reed College, later also earning a Master’s degree in Public Health from UCLA. Early experiences stoked a strong social and environmental justice impulse, fed at each school she attended. Amy dedicated her professional career ensuring access to life-saving HIV therapy among disaffected communities throughout the United States. She always kept one foot in the local community. She served on the AIDS Walk Long Beach board of directors, twice as Chair of the Board, and created health education programs at The Gay and Lesbian Center and St. Mary Medical Center. She also co-founded the LGBT Refugee Project through St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Long Beach, assisting over fifty individuals fleeing persecution and death to find safe refuge in welcoming countries. This included the establishment of a small, tight-knit Ugandan community right here in Long Beach. Amy and her wife Lorri have raised three children in Long Beach. As a family they fight for racial and environmental justice in our neighborhoods, with regard to local policing, and clean air and water for Westside residents along the Los Angeles River. Currently Amy is re-learning the Tongva language in preparation for a poetry series dedicated to the Tongva people and the land we have cared for-now called the Los Angeles basin—since time immemorial.