What is at stake for environmental justice? Janani’s EJ platform.

For Janani Ramachandran, putting more electric cars on the road is not enough, unless we also boost environmentally sound options for people who use public transportation. With a deep commitment to environmental justice, for Janani, the Green New Deal must take into consideration the needs of low-income communities in Oakland and across the state. 

In our interview, Janani shared, “I’ve had a lot of conversations with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, which cares very deeply about air quality issues. West Oakland has the worst air quality in the district,” adding, “the same is true for parts of East Oakland.” Janani believes the legislature needs to enact a state moratorium on permits for corporate polluters who aren’t complying with legal requirements, therefore adding to pollution. 

“I was a big supporter of SB280. It seemed like a fairly innocuous bill,” [simply saying,] “Hey, you’ve got to report what you’re polluting and publish it to make it public. But the fact that it still didn’t pass this time around was shocking. This highlighted how big of an issue transparency is and how reluctant polluters are to showcase the damage that they’re actually causing already.”


Janani has plans to work with the West Oakland Environmental Indicator Project, No Coal in Oakland, 350 Bay Area Action and the California Green New Deal Coalition to make sure that corporations are held accountable and that new permits cannot be issued without any accountability.” She also believes that we need to diversify the local Air Quality Board to achieve this.

Janani is also quite concerned about pollution at the Port of Oakland and would like to move towards a completely green port. While some steps have been taken toward the electrification of ships and some cranes, the steel factory, located at the port, and diesel trucks continue to be a major source of pollution. 

She is aware that a green port will be a long process, requiring more than one piece of legislation, she is ready to collaborate with different stakeholders—unions, building, and construction, etc. It is highly important to her because, in addition to addressing climate change, it will be crucially important to health outcomes for people in West Oakland.

Janani believes in unifying the many individuals and groups representing environmental justice, housing, healthcare, and social justice. In addition to 350BAA, her impressive list of endorsements includes Indivisible East Bay, the California LGBTQ Legislative Caucus, the Oakland East Bay Democratic Club, The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Sunrise Bay Area; and the East Bay Times


With 700 small donors and counting, and more than 500 volunteers, Janani is continuing to build momentum through her run-off election on August 31. She says, “Absolutely no political expert thought that I would make it this far. We really proved the status quo politics wrong!”

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