Stephanie Manieri

Born and raised in Southwest Santa Rosa, Stephanie Manieri studied Public Health at Dominican University and earned her Master’s Degree in Health Policy and Law from the University of California, San Francisco.

As a first generation daughter of immigrants (Stephanie’s mother immigrated from Mexico at age 15; her father immigrated at age 17 from Venezuela), Stephanie’s upbringing is rooted in Sonoma County’s unique culture and challenges.

“We have seen so many different climate events affect our community. And when I say ‘our’ I mean the Latino community, the farmworking community, the communities that have historically been underserved,” she says.

Climate change exacerbates these underlying inequalities. Stephanie says that cultural, linguistic, and economic barriers prevent recognition and resourcing of the traditional practices that address issues around climate change. 

“There is this misconception that Latinos need to be educated about environmental issues. We don’t need to educate Latinos, Spanish speaking communities, or Indigenous language speaking communities about how to take care of our land, and of our water, and of our natural resources. They know how to do this, because they’re the original caretakers of this land.”

Stephanie is the Executive Director of Latino Service Provider (LSP), a community action and direct services organization that serves Latinos in Sonoma County in four focus areas: mental health, emergency preparedness, environmental education and justice, and civic engagement. 

The people who LSP works with are directly and disproportionately affected by climate crises. After the wildfires of 2017, the American Red Cross approached LSP to integrate emergency preparedness into mental health advocacy. That was when LSP decided to expand from a being predominately mental health organization to providing additional direct services and a locus for community action. 

“We emphasize working with our community because we know that there aren’t necessarily systems in place to provide the kind of support and aid that these families and individuals need during a time of crisis,” says Stephanie. 

LSP builds bridges across generations in the North Bay. They envision a “Latinx community in Sonoma County that has equitable access to lead healthy, just, and resilient lives.” Founded in 1989, LSP empowers the Latinx community through advocacy, resource sharing, and youth community development. The largest program, the youth promotor program, serves over 60 youth each year.

“I have the honor of working with some pretty amazing young people,” Stephanie says of her work. “They are what keeps me motivated. When we start talking about all of the different issues that our communities and our world are facing, it can get really exhausting. But they give me hope.”

According to Stephanie, Southwest Santa Rosa and Sonoma County’s youth are anxious about the future of their environment. “They don’t know what the future is going to look like. They don’t know if we’re past the point of no return.” These uncertainties spur the region’s youth to take action in their communities. “Just seeing young people rise up and say, ‘we’re not going to tolerate this anymore.’ The future looks like whatever they want it to look like.”

Scroll to Top