For Sarra Tekola, climate change hits close to home. Her father, Fasil, fled his homeland of Ethiopia in the ’70s (as documented in this Grist story last year). Fasil cites a bloody civil war as his reason for leaving. But Sarra sees a deeper connection: Ethiopia was suffering an epic drought at the time, one that crippled the agricultural economy and likely exacerbated the conflict.

The family story is just one of the things that fuels her work at Women of Color Speak Out, a new climate justice coalition based in Seattle. The group’s big quest: narrow the gulf between mainstream environmentalism and the environmental concerns of communities of color and women.

The collective’s five core members — Tekola, Afrin Sopariwala, Yin Yu, Zarna Joshi, and newbie Patricia Allen — give public presentations and organize outreach sessions at local high schools, correctional facilities, and Town Hall events.