Federal Climate Organizer, David Farias Portugal Jr, aka D.J. was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles where he witnessed a cross section of the injustices our communities experience.
Photo by Perla Farias Portugal
Since his youth he has always sought to gain the experiences and education he would need to be part of the solutions we deserve. In high school he created and circulated subversive political cartoons challenging the School Boards funding decisions and advocated for worker rights while working at Jack in the Box. He graduated with a Bachelors of Social Work from Arizona State University where he was also introduced to the power of community organizing and lobbying by the MEChA Student organization and as an intern with the Arizona Students’ Association.
He has volunteered and worked in a variety of capacities, with the intent of identifying how he could individually have the most efficient impact in healing our communities while also advocating and demanding justice from systems and institutions. DJ volunteered with Puente Human Rights Movement’s various campaigns, supporting by stenciling t-shirts for marches, developed flyers for events, cop-watch, canvassing, voter registration efforts, know your rights workshops, as well as other art projects, including designing the “Undocubuses” and large puppets for marches. He brings to the team his years of experience developing youth programs, and training teams to provide trauma-informed mental health services, while advocating for youth to remain in their communities rather than be funneled through the criminal justice system or placed in facilities. He spent the bulk of his career learning to build relationships with, and support families and their youth in capacity-building; as he believes strong communities start with strong families. He has always sought to elevate the political influence and voice of his community. As a teaching-artist with Phonetic Spit as well as a camp co-director and facilitator with Social Centric Institute working with middle school and high school students to develop healers of historical trauma around racial intersections, class, religion, gender, and environmental disruption to help all peoples live better together.
He has always been passionate about strengthening his relationship with Tonāntzin, Mother Earth, and working towards environmental justice. DJ is inspired by activist/author Vadana Shiva, and her ability to promote the narrative and understanding that indigenous peoples’ rights, migrants rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights, and countless other human rights and issues, all intersect in the world of environmental justice. DJ has seen the healing and empowerment that comes from families taking time to reclaim and spend time in public lands. Having been able to push back and advocate for time in nature as a form of therapy within the behavioral health system, successfully organizing multiple hikes, fishing and camping trips with young people and families as a form of therapy with several non-profit, state agencies and organizations.