Five questions with our new team member, Zoe Luiz

We’re happy to share that Zoe Luiz has joined the organization as manager of communications and marketing, where she will design and implement Catalyst’s cross-platform strategies to engage and connect with Catalyst members and partners across San Diego and Imperial Counties. With an academic background in social innovation and professional experience in brand marketing, Zoe brings to her role a varied skillset as well as a deep commitment to social change. Get to know Zoe through her answers to five questions below:

What is the issue area that you are most passionate about? Why?

While it is hard to pinpoint one issue that I am most passionate about, something that I have recently become more committed to is environmental justice. Before learning more about environmental peace and justice, I thought that I wanted to focus on a “human-centered” area, and I would leave saving the planet to the outdoorsy folks. However, the more I learn about climate and environmental justice, the more I have realized that climate change is one of the few areas that impacts every single human, albeit disproportionately. We only have this one planet to live on, and despite the very disproportionate effects of climate change on different areas of the world, we all need to work together to save it.

Favorite accounts to follow on social media?

I know infographics sometimes get a bad rep for oversimplifying complex problems, but I really love any account that creates content in a way that is easy for large audiences to digest. Some of my favorite news/infographics accounts include Anti-Racism Daily (@ardtakeaction); @intersectionalenvironmentalist, which is focused on climate justice; and @impact, which has a broad focus on anything related to social justice. Also, accounts that blend self-help, social justice, art, and memes in an interesting way. I love @swedishsummers, @gendersauce, and @cruellesummer.

What is the last book you read?

Some of my recent favorites include The God of Small Things, an incredible novel by Arundhati Roy; Ministry for the Future, a climate fiction novel by Kim Stanley Robinson that tells a scary tale of the state of the world in 20 years if we do not make significant advances to protect the planet; and the amazing zine Anarchy & Alcohol.

What is one surprising thing to know about you?

In college I majored in fashion merchandising, and prior to moving to San Diego I worked at Chanel for a few years. While I was always an activist and organizer at heart, it wasn’t until the murder of George Floyd and the racial reckoning that followed that I realized I could no longer work in fashion full time, and that wanted to dedicate my professional life to social justice. That led me to move across the country to San Diego, get my master’s degree in social innovation from the University of San Diego’s Kroc School of Peace Studies, and, ultimately, join the team at Catalyst!

Where is your favorite place to go in San Diego or Imperial County and why?

On most Wednesday evenings, you can find me at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market. And since moving from New York City, I take every opportunity I can to be near the beach. Watching the sun set over the Pacific with a container of incredible East African food (shoutout to Flavors of East Africa), is my idea of a perfect evening.