Juan Martinez-Pineda
2021

Juan Martinez-Pineda

Advocate

Fresh tracks

meet juan

Juan D. Martinez-Pineda is a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and a Co-Founder of Fresh Tracks, a youth-led cross-cultural revolution rooted in the healing power of the outdoors. Juan is a proud product of South Central Los Angeles. He serves on the Wilderness Society’s Governing Council, is an author, and a TED speaker. He is dedicated to bringing the power of equity and justice to life through youth and community-driven solutions.

Fresh tracks
Nominated by: Rebecca Martin FN'02
Class of 2021 Location Texas, USA

Youth of color in communities across the country are severely and disproportionately impacted by climate change. They also lack equitable access to public open spaces, foster care, and the justice system. They face serious disparities in school discipline and suffer from extreme rates of violent victimization. Elevating youth narratives, power, and vision is at the core of my work.

I work through Fresh Tracks to develop efforts that grow and strengthen leadership pathways for those who are adversely impacted. My goal is to improve these systems and build community cohesion with leaders who can reach across cultures to draw on the strength of their diversity.Fresh Tracks envisions a world where all people are advancing social and environmental justice and overcome hate and racism. Fresh Tracks provides cross-cultural community building skills, leadership training, civic engagement opportunities, and resources for innovative youth and community-led action. Our movement is grounded in the healing power of nature and culture. It is a lifelong journey.

“This opportunity, growing jalapeños in Mrs. Pepin’s garden, opened books to study photosynthesis, irrigation systems, and the life cycles of peppers around the world. My path was changed.”

- Juan Martinez-Pineda

In 2000, I realized how nature could heal me from trauma. I was given an ultimatum to either stay in detention or join the Eco-Club. This opportunity, growing jalapeños in Mrs. Pepin’s garden, opened books to study photosynthesis, irrigation systems, and the life cycles of peppers around the world. My path was changed.

Exploration is a consistent rhythm of imagination and wonder. It is about lifting the narratives, leaders, communities, and voices that are often left in the margins. It is not about discovery of the new but about finding ways to value each other and the natural world, by honoring what was always there.

never stop exploring

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