Abby Reyes

Abigail Reyes

Director, UCI Community Resilience Projects

Abby Reyes directs Community Resilience Projects in the Office of Sustainability at the University of California, Irvine. The projects foster community-driven academic partnerships that honor and build community and climate resilience. At UC Irvine School of Law, Reyes also teaches a seminar on Law and Social Movements: Race, Place, and Climate Change. Current and recent projects include directing CAPECA, a 15-month participatory action research training for 11 community-academic partnerships in California to advance equity-focused climate solutions; co-convening the Just Transition Lawyering Institute, a 14-week training for practicing attorneys who support Black and Indigenous communities and low-income communities of color in advancing just transition solutions; and walking alongside Cooperación Santa Ana together with a wider collaborative of community-based organizations that are building local solidarity economy infrastructure in southern California. Reyes also participates in Colombia’s post-civil war Truth and Recognition processes stemming from her ongoing accompaniment of the U’wa indigenous peoples in their decades’ long assertion of dignity against big oil.

From 2013-2016, Abby directed the UCI Sustainability Initiative and was a co-Principal Investigator of the FloodRISE project, leading the Research Integration and Impact Team. She co-chaired the Faculty Engagement and Education Working Group of the UC Global Climate Leadership Council and co-founded UCI’s Sustainability Resource Center. She has provided facilitation and design services for the UC-CSU Knowledge Action Network on Transformative Climate and Sustainability Education; UCI Salton Sea Initiative; UCI OCEANS; UCI Research Justice Learning Community; Nexus 2014: Environmental Health and Justice; the Borrego Stewardship Council; and trains UC faculty, staff, community collaborators, and student activists in community leadership for climate resilience statewide. In response to the pandemic, Reyes co-convened the Orange County Health Equity COVID-19 Community Academic Partnership, co-producing the first health equity-focused contact tracing workshop series to build community-driven COVID-19 response within the region’s hardest hit communities.

Earlier in her career, the Scholar and the Feminist Conference of Barnard College named Reyes a “Model of Resistance” for her work directing the U’wa Defense Project, a legal and community organizing effort, and her work with rural fishing and farming communities through the Environmental Legal Assistance Center in the southern Philippines as a Henry Luce Scholar.

Reyes completed her undergraduate degree at Stanford University and JD at UC Berkeley Law. She clerked for the Honorable Richard A. Paez on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and recently finished her term co-chairing the board of directors of EarthRights International. She is a partner in the National Association of Climate Resilience Planners and a participant in Movement Strategy Center’s transitions labs (2016-20) and collective acceleration learning communities. Reyes received UC Irvine’s 2015 Excellence in Leadership Award and a 2016 California Higher Education Sustainability Best Practices Award. She has a TEDx talk on How to Come Home.

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