Erika Thi Patterson was the JMA Senior Policy Coordinator before becoming National Policy Director. Before joining JMA, Erika Thi Patterson interned at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy on the Don’t Waste LA project, where she researched the dangerous conditions waste and recycling workers endure. On this project, Erika developed a strong understanding of how critical workers’ voices on the job are to ensuring safe working conditions, respect, and equality. Erika also interned with the Food Chain Workers Alliance doing research to support the beginnings of a campaign to end discrimination and wage theft at Darden-owned restaurants. Growing up in a multicultural family and learning about her family’s challenging experiences emigrating to the U.S. from Vietnam in the 1970s influenced Erika’s interest in pursuing a critical race studies education as well as a career that contributes to racial justice. She is grateful to have worked and volunteered with organizations promoting food justice, multi ethnic-centered children’s literacy, and children’s arts.
Erika holds a master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in urban and regional planning and a bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University.