Garrick Monaghan | History
Hometown: from Granite Bay, California, now living in Los Angeles
Pomona Major: History, class of 2014
Current Employment or Education: Campaign Organizer with Impact
Past Employment or Education: Canvass Director with The Fund for the Public Interest
When I was a history student at Pomona researching for my senior essay, I had the opportunity to meet a number of activists and members of the environmental justice movement in southern California. Many of the people I met had not chosen an activist career, but instead had the role thrust upon them when their communities faced a crisis. I spoke with people who lived just a few miles down the road from Pomona, and they told me about how their communities had been contaminated by toxic waste, choked by polluted air, or plagued with illnesses because of nearby industrial sites.
I heard a number of these stories, and it really hit home to me that the environmental movement was more than just something that happened in the United States in the 70s. It was hope for people in real communities right next door, and it was a chance for future generations to grow up healthy and safe in their own neighborhoods.
I knew I wanted to be a part of the solution to problems like these, so I found a job in grassroots politics. I've been working as an organizer on environmental and public health campaigns in California and Los Angeles for almost two years now, and I'm so glad to be doing work that I can feel good about.
I thank my time at Pomona for opening my eyes to the way I could engage with the world, and for giving me skills to be an effective organizer. And I hope I can offer some guidance to current students or alumni who are looking to make their own mark on the world.