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Student starts Eko Social Justice to help El Salvador

HSU senior Klara Hernandez is passionate about the environment and social justice. Before becoming an HSU student in 2019, she founded Eko Social Justice, an organization with a mission to make the world a better place. Her organization started with a focus on the environment but has since shifted to help feed the houseless community in Humboldt, and provide supplies for Salvadorans in El Salvador and Los Angeles.

Hernandez is an environmental studies major and is one of the current co-directors at Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT), a center at HSU practicing and teaching sustainability.

Hernandez uses her education and background in community organizing to help those in need.

“When my family came to America, they started from nothing,” Hernandez said. “With the privilege of being here I have to help my people. I know with the education from Humboldt State that I can do it.”

Hernandez’s parents were born in El Salvador and escaped during the civil war when they were young. Hernandez says helping out her home country and fellow Salvadorans is her biggest goal and motivation.

Her first plan of action after graduating is to move to L.A. and get familiar with the community to see what causes need help. Notably, L.A. has one of the largest Salvadoran communities in the U.S. She plans on hosting events and protests for the Salvadoran-American community.

“It’s my dream to help El Salvador and focus on it, but shoot if I can have an organization that helps other countries, then the more the better. I’m going to see where I go because who knows with this life,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez hopes to help with the environmental and social laws in El Salvador. At the end of December, she will travel there to visit family and give out care packages to those in need.

Hernandez’s first project with Eko Social Justice was in 2018, where she collected bottles and cans from her mother’s church and various households and took them to a recycling center. The money raised was used to create care packages for unhoused individuals.

While she lives in Humboldt, she raises funds for Eko’s projects by selling stickers and repurposing thrifted shirts with her logo at Brainwash Thrift.

“The work she does for Indigenous communities is wonderful,” said Kait Angus, owner of Brainwash Thrift. “She’s a great person and overall a pleasure to work with.”

As part of Eko Social Justice, Hernandez began making vegan burritos for the unhoused community in the L.A. area and continued to do so when she came to Humboldt in 2019. To be as sustainable as possible, she uses 100% recycled aluminum foil to wrap the burritos and buys food in bulk.

Fellow CCAT co-director Abbey Ramirez admires Hernandez’s organization and looks forward to what she will accomplish in the future.

“She is a really good example of what a student is capable of doing on their own to be the change they wish to see in the world,” Ramirez said. “She’s really exemplary for a lot of students
who wish to do the same type of work.”

What keeps Hernandez inspired is her hope for a better world for her nieces and nephews. While she is currently the only member of Eko Social Justice, she hopes to expand in the future and bring on interns and employees.

For questions and a look at upcoming projects, she can be found on Instagram at @ekosocialjustice.

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