Join us in welcoming our new staff member, Yudith Nieto, BCWK’s Organizing and Cultural Strategies Manager.
What is the last waterbody that you visited?
The pond we developed on our family property. It also serves as a swimming hole for my dogs to cool off in this heat and thousands of tadpoles.
Tell us about your background.
Let’s see… I come from an immigrant family who immigrated to Houston, Texas in the late 70s. I was born in Reynosa, Tamaulipas but my family comes all the way from the arid desert mountains of San Luis Potosí. I started school here in Houston, and attended the Art Institute of Houston but then was pulled into the environmental justice (EJ) movement here in Houston in 2012 which catapulted me into building relationships and connections with other EJ communities around the globe.
Those experiences shifted my artistic practice to be in deep learning of strategies for a Just Transition and community self-determination principles, as I see organizing as a form of my creative practice.
I have been mentored by EJ elders and leaders who entrusted in me the legacies of movement-building histories which informed the way I contributed to intersectional strategies throughout my work around the Gulf and Global South. I have also connected language justice into my EJ organizing work to intentionally bridge the linguistic gap between the most vulnerable.
I have worn many hats and played different roles in the service of fenceline and frontline communities.
What part of your job do you think you will nerd out about?
Definitely art, music, culture, and how strategy is informed by all these vital pieces of our collective work and how we can best inform impacted communities around policy. I love to learn new ways to approach advocacy and organizing.
How do you think your work as the Organizing and Cultural Strategies Manager will impact our community?
I believe that culture and organizing are at the heart of Bayou City Waterkeeper’s work in building advocacy for water justice. How we connect to, see, and talk about our communities is foundational to building trust across sectors and advancing just water policy for our region. I intend to take community leadership as a guide to driving my work at BCWK.
Why is Houston special?
Have you seen the food trucks? 🙂
But seriously, Houston is rich in diversity and cultural capital that it makes us so unique in the ways we build thriving communities. You can travel the world here without ever getting on a plane. I love the food, the people, and even the complexities we grapple with every day here. It sets us up to dive into our creative imaginations of equity and climate resiliency to integrate them into smart and just planning.
I’m excited to be working with such a dynamic crew of deeply caring people.